Just Do Your Best

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We’ve always told out boys that they don’t have to be perfect but they should always do their best. They don’t have to bring home straight A’s as long as they are trying and putting in the effort. The same goes for sports.

The high school in our town does not have a hockey team. A group of parents have been working hard to start a team. This of course has thrilled Drew. For now, they have created a club team that combines three towns. The students are in grades 8-11 – which leads to quite a size range! Drew, although a 9th grader, is one of the smaller players. This doesn’t stop him though. He is not as skilled or as fast as some of the boys who have been playing for years, but he still gets out there and puts everything he has into it. They had their first game tonight and although he didn’t score, he got a few assists and at the end of the game, he was just…happy.

It is just like football. I don’t think I wrote about it on my blog, but last summer, he came to Dave and me and told us he wanted to play football. Of course, we said, no, reminding him of his two concussions. He also never played real football before. He persisted and pestered and finally, we decided to let him try out for the kicker. We never thought he’d make it, but we also knew it was one of the safer positions if he did. Drew, all 90 pounds of him, put every bit of effort into those summer practices. He went everyday, went over and beyond and when it came time to announce the team, he not only made the freshmen team, he made varsity! The coach made a point of telling him and his teammates that he earned it due to the effort he showed each day on the field.

Drew knew he was not the best on the team. He was by far the smallest – the program listed him as 5’3″ and 95 pounds – and that was being generous! He doesn’t care. He put so much heart into those games. He didn’t get into every game, the team had a pretty bad year and so there weren’t a lot of opportunities, but he was still there at every practice and on the sidelines, cheering on the rest of the team whether or not he got in or not.

He has never been a strong student academically, and having sports to keep him motivated has been huge for him. He’s not going to college on an athletic scholarship – we all know that – but he’s having fun and when Drew is happy, everyone is happy.

 

April

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In Kindergarten we count down the days to “something special.” This month we counted down the days until St. Patrick’s Day, our field trip and until the first day of April. It has finally arrived. April, May and June are my favorite months of the year. Spring.

Budding flowers, longer days, warmer weather…it just lifts my spirits. Now we will count down the days for one week. That’s all the days we have  left until Spring Break.

Then, the count down begins for summer!

Lucky Kid

IMG_3273e.jpgTonight we took Drew and his friend Jason to a charity hockey game in Newark. Rutgers Medical School “Medwings  vs Bitewings” – (Doctors vs Dentists.) This year’s game supported Smiles Across Bangladesh, a fund that provides aid to children and adults afflicted with oral and maxillofacial disorders in Bangladesh. Friends of ours have a son who we have known since he was a little kid. That little kid, is now a doctor and plays for the Medwings so we go to support him and the charity.

Drew looks forward to this game every year, partly because it is fun but mostly because of “Chuck a Puck.” This year, he was a winner again and so was his friend!

For those of you who don’t follow Drew’s lucky sport streak, it is a bit uncanny. He has caught or won so many things I have lost track! He has a World Series ball, 1995 team signed NJ Devils stick, game worn Devils jerseys, baseball cards, broken baseball bats from when he was a BatBoy with the Newark Bears, too many baseballs to count, and so many game used hockey sticks, we could build a small shed in the yard with them. At least three New York Giants have given him their gloves after games ….and after tonight, he has a team signed NY Islanders cap to add to his collection.

Somehow tonight some of that luck rubbed off on his buddy who won an autographed hockey puck but as for my puck, which I had him toss for me, that of course was not a winner.We have tried giving him money to buy us lottery tickets, but unfortunately the luck doesn’t transfer to us. Maybe when he’s old enough to buy lottery tickets of his own someday, he will remember us when he is a big winner!!

Cousins and Friends

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I am lucky to have been blessed with lots of cousins. With ten of us just on my dad’s side, most of us married with our own kids, we have created us a pretty big crowd! They don’t all live nearby but we are still close with them and with the internet and texting, we have been able to stay in touch with them much more than ever.

Lisa is the cousin I am the closest with. She lives only a few minutes away and is one of my favorite people in the world. Since we grew up living so close to each other, we got to spend lots of time together growing up. Family dinners, holidays, playdates…we saw each other all of the time. She is seven years younger than me but since the six New Jersey cousins were spread out over a ten year span, we were always able to find things to do together and spent most of our time laughing!

When I got married, she was 16. She was the youngest bridesmaid in my wedding. When I had my first son, she was just 20 years old and still in college. I always though of her as my little cousin but now, as adults we have become closer than ever. We don’t notice the age difference anymore….well maybe through my wrinkles but that’s all….

Today is her birthday! She is 40~

Now, as I sit here, I am trying to figure out how in the world she could be FORTY,  because, if she is forty that could only mean one thing – since I am still seven years older, I am that much closer to…..FIFTY! (Yikes even that number was tough to write!)

Now, Lisa is a wife – I was her OLDEST bridesmaid.  She is an amazing mom. She is smart and successful, working in New York City and is still one of the sweetest people I know. We have so many things in common and every time we are together is guaranteed to be a good time. There is a special bond cousins have – no friendship can match it because there is no one that understands the craziness of your family like a cousin! Cousins know us better than anyone else and help us keep a little bit of childhood forever in our hearts!

Happy Birthday Lisa! I love you!

Bridging the Generations

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This school year, I wrote and received a grant to “Bridge Generations.” The idea was to bring my kindergarten class to a nearby senior citizen center a few times during the school year to “bridge the generational gap.” I have often read about the benefits of mingling the young and old and decided to see for myself.

Today was our second visit. In December, we went with our music teacher and sang with them and shared a snack. Today, our art teacher joined us and we created mini-masterpieces with them.

Most of my students have been looking forward to this for weeks. We counted down the days  until today arrived! A few of the kids were nervous but their fears were diminished as soon as we got there and they saw that the seniors were just as excited to see us as we were to see them!

My favorite part about the experience was listening to them chat with one another as they colored and shared snickerdoodles. The innocence of these children as they conversed with these these wise souls brought out such sweet conversation. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the kids help the seniors open their Capri Sun juice pouches. Some of them had never seen one before! We will try to visit one more time before the end of the school year but if we can keep this program going, I hope to make it something we can do every year.

Dreary

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Rain, rain go away….

It feels as if it has been raining for days. It is so dreary and unpleasant outside. The kind of raw dampness that chills you all the way to your bones! Spring is here but it surely doesn’t feel like it. I guess we are making up for all of those sixty degree February days we were blessed with earlier this year.

This is Hunger

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This evening I had the opportunity to see, “This is Hunger” an interactive experience on wheels that sheds light on the profound prevalence of hunger in America. Over 42 million Americans struggle with hunger everyday. This is 1 in every 8 people. 13 million of them are children.

Mazon, is a national non-profit working to end hunger. They are traveling across America in an 18 wheeler to spread the word and engage communities in conversation. One of their goals is to protect SNAP, (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)

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“President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress have already indicated they plan to make drastic changes that will gut long-standing and vital programs for the most vulnerable Americans, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has previously introduced dangerous proposals to change the structure of SNAP that will eviscerate the program and its funding. Now there is a real threat that his plan could advance, causing millions to suffer.”

Join me in signing the petition, urging Speaker Ryan to not impose structural changes to SNAP.

Here is one of the activities I tried tonight. Using this placemat, try to create a meal for Julie and her family. Choose one item from each category. Add it up and multiply it by 4.IMG_3187Do it….before reading any further

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Did your total for the family meal exceed more than $5.60? If so, try again and make a meal that will fit that budget. It is not easy.

Visit their website. Find them in your area and try to go and see this powerful presentation. Get involved, sign the petition and do what you can to help.

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