Monday, April 20, 2009

The Friendly Town Program

A couple years ago, we invited a sweet 10 year old boy, Shamare, from New York City into our home for two weeks. When I told people our plans to do this, their reaction was, "Are you nuts?!" and they would follow with, "You don't know WHO they will give you!"

I may have had the same protective reaction had I not experienced this program throughout my childhood. Our family invited Shanna Rioja Sheherazad (sp?) into our home summer after summer starting when I was 5.

The children in this program are pre-approved through NYC's Head Start program and other reputable programs throughout the city. They are kids who are personable and repsonsible. They are kids who have not been out of the city perimeter. They are kids who long to have a vacation but whose families may not be able to afford the well-deserved escape.

When we picked up Shamare at a nearby Friendly Town drop-off point, he was quiet and obviously nervous. He got off the bus looking like he would like to get back on. He didn't talk at all on the way home. But our kids were so excited to have him, they talked his ear off the WHOLE way!

Within a couple hours he was goofing around with them and offering to help with dinner...he ended up setting the table everynight. Shamare was a wonderful young boy who put his bare feet in our grass...something he had NEVER done in his life. Something I can't imagine going toes in the grass...that means SUMMER has arrived!

We visited local landmarks and took him to some summer festivals but what he liked the most was stopping along the road so he could get out of the car and stand at the fence of a cow pasture. I have grown up seeing cows and horses at every turn; Shamare had only seen farm animals in books - NEVER IN PERSON. Our town was like a living MUSEUM of wonders we take for granted but he had never experienced.

He smelled his first turkey farm: "Nasty!"

He ate his first fresh PEACH pie: "Mmmmm!"

He felt SAFE. He saw the stars (the city is too bright to see stars @ night). He was active. He breathed the FRESH AIR. He marveled at butterflies. He went swimming in a CLEAN pool. He SMILED the entire time!

I have to say that we were blessed having Shamare (we even had a portrait done with him and our kids while he was here) and we welcomed him back the next year. We exchange phone calls and send Christmas cards, he is and always will be part of our extended family!

If you would like more information on this program, head over to The FRESH AIR Fund and check it out. It costs you nothing. It is designed to be convenient. All you need is a big heart and a family who is open to sharing the blessings they overlook daily with someone who is curious what those blessings would feel like

They are precious children. Won't you plan to have one this summer?

May you be as blessed as we were!


Well, we are back...MoBlogMo took a small break while I was on vacation. But I am happy to be back and thrilled to introduce you to Suzana!

Suzana is the mother of one from Chicago and owner of - Everything handmade for you, your family and home! FUN! Suzana has been blogging since September 2008!

So, without further adieu...please help me to welcome Suzana to Mommy Blogger Monday!

So, Suzana, why did you start blogging? I love to write and having a blog seemed really fun, and it really turned out to be even better than I imagined. It is fun! I am fully addicted! Now, tell us a little about you! I’m 27 (still, but not for long) I’ve been with Hubby for 6 years, and we’re married for 4, happily. We have one child, our beautiful Princess who will be 4 this year. I love every moment of being a Mommy. I’ve always wanted to be one and I’m so happy that I can be a SAHM. I also enjoy making things myself. That’s why I am so happy to have my Etsy shop I love to cook. It makes me happy to see people love and enjoy anything I make. Give me a short product review of something you can’t live without. Hmm…I can’t live without my laptop, but the new obsession is a Google cell phone. G1 is the best thing ever. The internet on that thing and it is so fast which is awesome for blogging if I’m out without my laptop.

Your biggest life lesson. Don’t try to be someone you’re not!

Tell us a secret. I have a journal that I occasionally write in…well actually only when I’m mad at Hubby I write in it.

LOL! Your husband doesn't read Mommy Blogs does he? Let's change the subject before we get you in trouble! What’s your biggest passion? Creating things.

What do you wish for? To have a good life, for my little girl to be healthy and happy all her life.

What do you hate? Unfairness in the world.

Oh, Suzana...YOU AND ME BOTH! I would like to change the world! So, speaking of CHANGE...If your spouse would agree to let you go on a date with ONE celeb…list your top 3 picks. The first and only pick would be Christian Biel (the new batman) in case you didn’t know.

Do you have any phobias? No other than just worries what if?

OOoooooo that's a BIG one! I could play the "What If..." game until I need to be medicated! But, on a lighter note (and before I need to lie down for psychotherapy), if you could speak one sentence for the rest of your life, what would it be? I love my family, I am happy! What do you always hope people see on YOUR inside? How good person I am!

Well, Suzana, it has been a pleasure having you! I am so glad you sent in your questionnaire! Head over to and see what she creates!!

If you would like to be included in a Mommy Blogger Monday me @


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The bagger at the grocery store unbeknownst to you, puts your chicken breast in the same bag as your baby formula and when you get home, you find your can of Similac covered in E.Coli slime.


You leave the doctor's office with a sick kid in tow and head for the Pharmacy. Your kiddo is whiny, fussy and quite frankly miserable as you wait in a line longer than the Mississippi River. The woman in front of you gets annoyed and offers her parenting advice, "Maybe if you...your child would behave."


No matter what the cause, we would all be lying if we said we lived an annoyance-free life! Whether it's a road-rager, a slow check-out lane or miscounted money at the bank - it's out there and periodically I like to give my readers and my new visitors a place to vent.

So, here you go!


Tell me what annoys you. Be frank. Be honest. Be real.

I will then have follow-up posts with advice and fun anecdotes for your biggest gripes!


(btw Mommy Blogger Monday will return next week!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Outer Banks ... Part 3

*sniffles* It's over. I'm sad. 349 days until we do it again. *sighs*

Friday, April 10, 2009

Outer Banks ... Part 2

My favorite souvenirs! The "I Care About" Bracelet Collection is a special project highlighting 16 global causes.


OUTER BANKS 2009 Part 1

Welcome to our beach house!
This is the view off the top deck - there are 3 levels of decks.
Games every night!
The loves of my life!
Sunrise off the deck!
A little basket ball on the courts in the back of the house.
This is the house from the movie NIGHTS IN RODANTHE with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. It was a 2 hour drive to get there but well worth the trip! We watched the movie that night! SWATCOP was taken aback by its beauty.
Walking to the beach on the bridge over the dunes.
Kite Flying 101

Well, I am off to the beach...


Thursday, April 9, 2009

My favorite place in the world...

Hello faithful readers! My blog has been stagnant since I left and it's not because I haven't been thinking about blogging, it's just because the Outer Banks has once again stolen my heart. Each year that we visit makes me fall deeper and deeper in love with the beach...and I was already REEEAAAALLLYYY in love with the beach! I could spend the next 4 hours telling about all the beauty, but I thought I could SHOW you quicker....and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!!

Grrrrrrrr....I can't get my pictures to load....I will try again later....with my toes in the ocean...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

OBX (Outer Banks) or BUST!

Well, it's that time of year when our closest friends and their families (THIRTEEN OF US)voluntarily drive 6 hours to North Carolina for a week of nothing but relaxing and having more fun than all the days of the previous year put together! And we do it in a GIGANTIC house! Seriously! We start the countdown the day we leave the previous year! And now it is 2 days away!

Friday is our church's monthly FAMILY production called FX. My 3 BFFs are major components to the event and 3 of the 7 kids heading to the OBX will be worshipping on the worship team. And SWATCOP is one of the actors...maybe I will sneak a video in if I can get one without him knowing! How bad do you want it? Then at 2am Saturday morning we will be packing up 7 kids and some tired parents into the car for a middle of the night drive to the Outer Banks!

Remember THIS?

Get the rest of the story HERE!

Yep, that's why we go! I can't tell you how therapeutic it is for all of us to spend time decompressing and letting go...nothing to worry about, no work, no school, no NOTHING! Just 7 days of nothing but FUN!

I am so thankful for our family of friends...we truly are like family. I am truly BLESSED!

AND AND AND....ladies, the MEN COOK the entire week! How many of you can go on vacation and NOT COOK ONCE?!! ME! ME! ME!

Yes, SWATCOP will be there! Tell me how badly you want to see the incriminating photos and maybe you will get a sneak peek! He's a riot!

Sorry for my distance this week...I have missed you all...but I am busy getting ready! I am hoping for good WiFi this year so I can keep you updated on all of our festivities...please say a prayer for our safety! Excited to soon be posting from North Carolina!! :)