Tuesday, July 22, 2014

There was enough toilet paper. . .but someone broke an arm.

I left the home and the state of New Jersey for approximately 6 hours and someone broke an arm.


The arm is actually in a cast; a cute, royal purple cast.

A cast. 6 hours. Broken arm.

The broken arm occurred in a strange, yet, totally predictable couch jumping incident. Apparently, all the cushions were removed from the couch to create a safe landing pad. During Chloe's last and fateful jump, a cushion shifted leaving a small space between the cushions, jeopardizing the stability and safety of the landing pad.

The result: the poor kid landed on her hand/wrist directly on the floor after an epic corkscrew, triple combo living room couch jump that made her a contender in the great-mommy-is-in-another-state-olympics.

So there you have it: the lesson is that I clearly need to source a couch with cushions that are not removable,  figure out how to pad the walls and the floors,  and consider NEVER LEAVING THE HOME AGAIN.

I also need to update my pre-escape questions with the following:

1. You do realize that your bones can break, right?
2. You are aware that jumping in any fashion whether with a rope or a trampoline or a makeshift couch cushion landing pad is strictly prohibited, right?
3. You will not break your bones while riding on the dog because you are bored with walking, correct?
4. You are aware that my physical absence does not mean I am not watching and their may or may not be cameras hidden places, okay?
5. And when you ignore all rules and regulations completely, resulting in broken bones, bloodied knees, holes in wall and fires in the hole, please know you are shaving years off my independent living and you must agree to apply mascara to my lashes daily while I am living at the "rest home," agreed?

On the bright side: at least nothing caught on fire and we still have a full can of glitter hairspray. For now.

Did you miss the prequel to this post? Never fear, here it is:

Is there enough toilet paper?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is there enough toilet paper? Heading out to Blogger Bash #BBNYC

Blogger Bash
My husband is a frequent business traveler and being the sweet, loving man that he is, he always asks before he goes:

"Will you be okay?"

It is the sweetest thing. I always say, "Yes," because really, I am quite capable of keeping myself and three children out of jail and avoiding such situations as burning the house down, getting lost in the woods and starving.

He never asks:

"Is there enough toilet paper?"
"What will you eat?"
"Do the children have underwear?"
"Who will watch the children?"
"Is there enough wine?"
"Are there any diapers?"
"Does everyone have rides home from school?"
"Did you cancel all activities?"
"Is there heating oil?"
"Is the cable bill paid?"
"Did you hide the matches?"
"Is homework completed?"
"Is there dog food?"
"Do you have milk?"
"Do you have car keys?"

I suppose his simple question reflects a high level of trust in my ability to maintain minimal order and safety.

And while I trust my husband completely, I don't really trust my children or the universe to keep spinning in my absence. There is just so much to worry about.

Like the babysitter lighting a candle and the baby putting a magazine in the candle, catching it on fire and the girls attempting to put the fire out with glitter hairspray.

It could happen.

On the rare occasions I escape--whether for ten minutes or ten hours--I never ask "will you be okay?"--because really, I am certain no one will be okay and everyone will run around without underwear eating leftover Easter candy while drinking water and using baby wipes as toilet paper resulting in a major plumbing emergency that no one will be able to handle because the home phone is missing and we forgot to pay Comcast, so they can't even call a plumber anyway, let alone send me a text message because all cell phone chargers are missing and in the end the children will be taken away, require major dental work, grow up believing that underwear is optional, be adults who chronically misplace their car keys and later be in therapy discussing the one time their mother left them and they WERE ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY.

This afternoon I am heading out to Blogger Bash 2014 (WHOOP!!) and hanging out with some of my favorite bloggers and rubbing elbows with amazing brands all the while chronically worrying if my children are doing the shimmy shake or using socks to wipe after they pee. However, I can't wait to escape and really, they will be okay, right?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chemo4Cam: Help Save a Little Girl's Life

Campbell is eight. There is so much about Campbell that reminds me of my own 8 year old. She loves American Girl, dancing and horses.

Campbell, like my daughter Lily, is also a cancer fighter. Campbell has been fighting recurrent ependymoma for most of her life. She has endured nine major brain surgeries, endless clinical trials and is now slated to begin one last chance chemotherapy treatment.

There is no known cure for recurrent ependymoma; but the doctors are trying and they are fighting with Campbell to save her life.

Campbell's insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, has denied coverage of one chemotherapy medication that has shown success in killing ependymoma drugs. Campbell is declining. She was set to begin treatment tomorrow, July 16. Right now, everything is on hold and Campbell's life is in the balance.

Campbell deserves this chance to live. Her mother Robin deserves this chance to keep fighting for her daughter's life. These are people whom I love, adore and pray for everyday. Please sign the petition, share, tweet and scream from the rooftops. Anthem Blue Cross NEEDS to approve this treatment.

Campbell deserves it.

In the event Anthem Blue Cross does not approve the treatment, Campbell's family will need to pay out of pocket. Please consider supporting their GoFundMe campaign and helping Campbell get the treatment she needs NOW: http://www.gofundme.com/ble5ns

Here are sample tweest:

Please sign & RT: Help 8 year old Campbell get the chemo she needs NOW. Sign this petition;

Please help Campbell get the chemo she needs NOW! Donate: http://www.gofundme.com/ble5ns #Chemo4Cam

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Reasons to Sip Into Summer at the Washington Lake Park Wine Festival 2014

I like wine. I like the instant warmth that spreads through my entire being when I take my first sip. I love the flavor, the smell and the slow ritual of sipping a beautifully created glass of wine. Plus, it's fun to sample new wines and pairings and act all classy while sipping a pinot.

I am so excited to check out the 2nd Annual Washington Lake Park Wine Festival next weekend! The festival is taking place Saturday and Sunday June 21-22 from Noon- 5 p.m. each day at Washington Lake Park in Sewell, NJ. Produced by GPS, Inc, the weekend event features wines from 18 Jersey wineries, live music, artisan crafters and great local eateries. There are also great kids activities. (A bonus if you are without a sitter for the day! Although, I plan to ditch the littles and spend the day with my husband!)

The Washington Lake Park Wine Festival will feature some of New Jersey’s finest wineries: Amalthea Cellars, Auburn Road Vineyards, Bellview Winery, Cava Winery, Cedarvale Vineyards, Chestnut Run Farms, Coda Rossa Winery, DiBella Winery, DiMatteo Vineyard, Heritage Vineyards, Monroeville Vineyard, Plagido’s Winery, Renault Winery, Sharrott Winery, Tomasello Winery, Valenzano Winery, and Wagonhouse Winery.

(Note: because I have three children, I've sampled wine from almost every winery listed. And it is good stuff.) 

Without further adieu, here are my Top Five Reasons why you must Sip into Summer next weekend:

1. Wine makes the heart light. 
(This is even in the Bible. Which pretty much means God is telling you to go.)

2. Jersey wine is good. 
(There is a reason why this is called the Garden State and a reason why everyone's Italian Grandpop made wine in their garage--the soil, the sun and the South Jersey air is just right for grapes.)

3. Snow day decompression.
(Those snow days were months ago, but my kids have been in school forever. I need a little wine to get through the last days of homework/folders/dress down days and the school parking lot.)

4. You get a cute souvenir wine glass. 
(Which you will fill with wine. Then you will drink. Then repeat. Fill. Drink. Repeat. Easy.)

5. The price rocks. 
(Tickets can be purchased in advance at the discount rate of $15 and at the gate for $20. Spectators and those under 21 are free.   Paid admission to the Washington Lake Park Wine Festival includes wine tasting of more than 300 New Jersey wines and a souvenir wine glass.)

And a bonus reason to go: there are some cool sponsors including Giggles, Gobbles & Gulps; NJ.com; The South Jersey Times & The Washington Twp Times.

Excited to get your wine on? Get all the details and purchase your advance tickets here. You can also get the scoop on last year's Festival here. 

Disclosure: Yoke was given free tickets to the Washington Lake Park Wine Festival. But, my love of wine and New Jersey is deep and genuine. Cheers to you! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Reasons Why We Should Never Ever Make Up Snow Days or Why the School Year Must End. NOW.

The school year needs to end.


I know, know, know it snowed. It snowed and we have to have 180 days of schools, blah, blah, blah, but really, YOU CANNOT GET TIME BACK.

What has passed, has passed and this adding on and extending the life of the school year is inhumane.

I am DONE. The kids are done. The minivan express to School 5 is DONE.  Do you know I don't even really look in my 2nd grader's folder anymore? She could be suspended, failing something or need to wear a special pirate-themed outfit every Tuesday until July for "Pirate Spirit Day." I have no idea. And I frankly, don't care.

1. Today, I woke up to a skunk near the driveway. I cannot leave the home, clearly, yet the 2nd grader is FREAKING OUT she will be late and need a late pass and get in trouble. When I calmly explained that maybe Animal Control can write her a note, she continued to freak out.

So, I guess the smell of skunk will be her late pass.

2.  I am sick of packing school lunches and my daughter has gone on a school lunch hunger strike. (A month ago, I would have sent in a giant bag of gummy bears instead of allowing her to buy "Mega Nachos with a Side of Steamed Green Vegetables and a nice Dose of Saturated Fat."  Now, despite my best PR efforts, she refuses to indulge in cheeseburger whole wheat spaghetti nachos topped with low sugar Cheez Whiz served by the school cafeteria.  I can't handle making one more soy-nut-butter and honey sandwich. The knife is simply too heavy and the honey bear squeeze bottle is clogged.

Today, I let her back her own lunch. Which consisted of:

  • Smarties (left over from the Preeclampsia Walk)
  • Pirate Booty (Apparently there is something pirate-themed happening at school)
  • An apple (keeps the doctor away)
  • A piece of bread (very Orange is the New Black)

3. School pick up is dangerous. Going to the school everyday and being nearly knocked over by 500 excited, insane and caged up children as I attempt to steer two of my three towards the dismissal door for the third is exhausting, dangerous and nearly impossible to navigate in my flip flops. And then there was the death threat (long story) and the general misbehavior of everyone. SCHOOL NEEDS TO END, so the children can get on with playing in the streets, vandalizing things and whining about being bored. It is only natural.

4.   The only thing uniform about the school uniforms are the stains and the rips and the sweaters that expose belly buttons and elbows.  The school uniforms no longer fit, have holes, require ironing and are dotted with mystery stains. My children appear as if they have actually been at school for 180 days-straight, without changing their clothes. It is after Memorial Day and I refuse to iron or spot treat the stains. I need our wardrobes to be the kind you exclusively wash in the pool. It is bathing suit season; not polo-shirt-knee-length-skirt-season ( those skirts have not been knee length since March).

5.  The end of year hoopla is exhausting. One day, we will wear red to declare we have a heart; another day, we will dress as pirates; then we will need to find a vintage outfit from 1974 and learn a dance routine from Stayin' Alive. Look, I love a good costume. BUT I CAN'T FUNCTION ANYMORE. Can't everyday's theme be: "As long as your booty is covered you are winning!" OR perhaps we can just wear bathing suits. Or wear yellow, for Alex's Lemonade Stand (of course!)

#EndIt #Now #NoMoreSchool

I had a similar break down last year. Perhaps you, remember? Almost Forever: http://www.triciaadkins.com/2013/06/almost-forever.html

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We are raising the boys and the girls. #YesAllWomen

I've always had mega long legs. When I was 11 years old, my legs were as long as they are now. It seems the rest of my torso just grew to catch up to my legs.

You know what men like? Leggy girls. By my 11th birthday, I had been whistled at more times than I could count. And, before you ask yourself: What was she wearing? Where did she live? What was she doing?;  realize that the answers to those questions do not matter. 

I was 11. A kid. And now I am 36, a woman. Men still whistle at me and it is not flattering.

In fact, their cat calls fill me with shame. It makes me cross to the other side of the street. It makes me blush.  It makes me embarrassed in front of my children. And sometimes, if I am alone, it scares me. 

This week, I started following along with the #YesAllWomen feed. 

The #YesAllWomen has tag serves as a response to the postings made by Elliot Rodger, who went on a shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California, killing six people and himself. On YouTube, as well as other social media channels Rodger raged toward women. He wrote a 141-page hate filled manifesto that laid out his plan for the killings. 

Reading women's stories--ranging from cat-calls to rape to intimidation to abuse to disrespect--reminded me of how important my job is as a mother to son.   

I am raising a boy who will be a man. Since becoming a boy mom, I've heard so many tell me how different boys are and how boys will be boys and "that's just boys for you." That thinking is dangerous.  It is that thinking that leads to little excuses and little excuses lead to big excuses. 

Can you imagine if it was your son who whistled at an 11 year old little girl walking around her suburban town on a Tuesday afternoon with an ice cream cone?

Whistling on a street corner is the gateway drug to bigger, bolder disrespectful behavior. 

What if your son is whistling at a girl on the street corner. (or worse, right? intimidating a girl at a bar? threatening a woman in her home?)

Obviously boys are different. Heck, my two girls are different from each other. And I love my son's masculinity. I adore every piece of adorable, chaotic little boy-ness. I love how he is drawn to construction sites and does not even flinch when he is covered in dirt. I love how he is a little bulldozer, climbing machine with a non-stop appetite for everything.  

I most adore the way he looks at me with love, awe and respect. 

I want my son to grow up to look at all women with the same love, awe and respect he has for me. 

That is my job. It is my job to never say, "boys will be boys" or "that's just boys for you" to excuse misbehavior of any kind. It is my job to never allow him to think that because of his gender he is held to different standards.  It is my job to not allow him to hang up posters objectifying women in bathing suits on his bedroom wall.  It is my job to teach him that no matter how much the world portrays women as sex objects--the world is wrong.

But, it does not stop with our sons. It goes to our daughters too. My girls need to realize that the other girls and women around them deserve to be respected and honored and cherished. There is no woman who is deserving of anything less. My son and my daughters will grow up to honor the women in their lives. They will grow up to give respect away to every single person they meet. 

It is my job to raise my boy and my girls to remember how much they are loved. 

Because #YesAllWomen deserve love and respect, I will raise my son and my daughters to remember the love and respect they have been given. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Farewell to preschool.

First day.
It is silly, isn't it? Something as normal as the end of preschool has me completely utterly flapping.

It seems like just yesterday that Chloe was skipping into the her Mother's Morning Out Class at preschool--and now she is 5, wrapping up her entire preschool days and in a few months, leaving us for kindergarten.

I want to curl up in a ball and sob. (after I lock her in her room and keep her at home forever.)

My little Coco is growing up. More accurately, I am noticing how much she has grown up. Milestones give you that perspective.

Last day.
Chloe was just 3 lbs when she was born. I forget how sick I was and how sick she was, because after those 4 weeks in the NICU, life flew by. Chloe grew. She became Lily's little sister and Nick's big sister. She became a friend and a kind-hearted, fun loving friend. She became a little ballerina. She became a singer and an artist. She became my best friend.

I know she is not leaving yet. However, September will be here so quickly. And then June and September again and on and on and on. I will mark the days as the school years begin and end. I know each end and beginning will be bittersweet. Parenthood is a process of letting going.

After all my little Chloe never belonged to me anyway.

For now, I will savor those hugs that melt right into me. I will delight in her sweet raspy little voices that proclaims big dreams of being a mom and playing with all her children and writing poems and dancing and delighting and loving God and living a beautiful, beautiful life.

This is my Chloe. She is quite simply, the bee knees, the apple of my eye and the girl on the cusp of everything.

We recorded this video earlier this week. I don't want to ever forget a thing.