Sunday, November 18, 2012

My New Addiction: Tricky Trays!

I may be behind the times, but I went to my very first tricky tray on Friday and I must say: I can not wait to go again. I had fun, won prizes and helped benefit an awesome non-profit organization.
I originally planned on going to the event with a friend of mine, but it ended up being postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. So my husband, Kevin, and I took the opportunity to have a date night. My mom and dad took our son, Sebastian, for the evening and off my hubby and I went.
Now, my husband didn't want to go to this fundraiser to begin with, which is why I had planned on going with a friend. But because she couldn't make it to the newly chosen date, I dragged (I hate that word) my husband along. It turns out we both had a lot of fun.
We browsed the tables littered with gift baskets and jewelry, toys and appliances, throwing our ticket stubs into cups next to each item we just "had" to have. We discussed which items our son would love as we each tossed ticket after ticket into cups next to Bob the Builder (Sebastian's current favorite) toys, train museum gift certificates and a candy-filled Thanksgiving pinata. We saw gifts that reminded us of What's-Her-Face and So-and-So, giving us ideas about what Christmas gifts to buy for whom.
After we ran out of tickets (of course I sent hubby for more... twice!), Kevin and I were able to sit and enjoy coffee and tea, hot dogs, desserts and other goodies with those in attendance. We met some new people and I even met a couple of people whom I work with for the first time, as we mostly communicate via email and telephone.
My husband and I were able to spend time together doing something that we had never done before. While tricky trays may not be as thrilling as sky diving or bungee jumping, they are exciting, especially if you have never been to one before. It adds some fun to date night, as it's not the same old dinner and a movie or bar scene. And you can win things!
You never know what you're going to find at a tricky tray. On Friday, there were baskets of hair supplies, candles, baking goodies, toys, crafts, greeting cards and more. There were gift certificates to museums, theaters and restaurants. Still other tables were loaded with electronics, collectibles, celebrity-autographed memorabilia. The list goes on.
When the time came for the announcer to call the winners' names, the anticipation and excitement filled the room. Those around us had clappers and light up toys so they could really make it known if they won. And did they ever. While Kevin and I simply raised our hands when we won, others could be heard in the next county. I knew that these women were definitely experienced tricky tray goers.
After all was said and done, Kevin and I walked away with a Swedish Raclette grill (so awesome! I will definitely be doing a review), bubble bath gift basket, "As Seen On Tv" gift basket, and a gift certificate for a men's haircut--not too shabby for first timers who never win anything!
But the best part of all was knowing that all of the prizes had been donated and the hundreds of people in attendance had just helped an amazing cause: Haven of Hope for Kids ( Check back for details about this nonprofit, as I will be writing about it in detail. Anyone with children who have a life threatening illness must know about this organization, so if that's you or someone you know, stay tuned.
Until then, go check out a tricky tray; you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"You Are Important and You Are Needed"

Inspiration for today's post comes from a photo that a Facebook friend of mine posted yesterday. It was a photo of a news article, and unfortunately I do not know it's original source, but this is what it said:
Words for Teenagers
Northland College principal John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth. "Always we hear the cry from teenagers, 'what can we do, where can we go?'
"My answer is this: Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you're finished, read a book. Your town doesn't owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun.
"The world does not owe you a living. You owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It's too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!"
Wow. If this isn't a huge wake up call and one of the most honest things I've ever read, then I'm the creator of the Italian mafia.
When I first started reading this and saw "your town doesn't owe you recreational facilities," I thought, "well what else do we expect teens to do?" When I read on, I felt like an idiot to say the least.
Not only are there so many more things for teenagers--and everyone else for that matter--to do than I had ever thought of doing while I was a teen, but there is something that can be done about the things that we want to see become a reality.
The above article is a call to action and an absolute slap in the face from reality. No one owes us anything. We owe something to ourselves. Rather than sitting at home complaining how bored we are, let's put our voices to good use. Go speak up for abused children who can't do it on their own. Go play bingo with a senior citizen who will live the rest of their days inside the walls of a nursing home. Go find out how to begin the process of receiving grants for a playground that you never had as a child.
The ending of the article really brings it all home: "Someday is now and that somebody is you." You want your town to create a safe place for children to play and teens to gather? You think there should be more family oriented events planned in your community? Well, who is the town if it isn't you and me? "You are important and you are needed."
We are the town, the neighborhood, the country, the world. Let's start putting our talents and our blessings to use by sharing them with others for the good of all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Life Happens!

Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for.  ~Jerry Seinfeld
Once again, it has been quite some time since my last post. But being the mother of a two year old boy, life isn't always predictable. The other night, for example, I planned on going to bed early and starting the work week off well rested. I couldn't have been more off... My son, Sebastian, suddenly started crying around 8:30pm, repeating, "I don't feel good. I sicky." And worst of all, he was holding both ears. Being that my father is deaf, I don't take chances when it comes to Sebastian's ears. So I laid him down, deciding I would call the pediatrician first thing in the morning. But then he started screaming bloody murder, yelling, "It hurts!" as he held his ears. Soon after the screaming began, he threw up. A combination of heartbreak--knowing first hand how painful earaches are--and my mother's famous "Better safe than sorry," made me get up and tell my husband that I wasn't going to wait until morning. So off to the ER we went. Diagnosed with an inner ear infection and prescribed with amoxicillin, Sebastian is already feeling much better than he was on Sunday night, thank God! Although he still wakes up in the middle of the night whimpering a bit and complaining that "it hurts," he's pretty much back to his old self: eating play dough, pretending the dog is a motorcycle, constantly begging for candy, and of course, causing me to believe that a tornado has suddenly struck inside my home. The bottom line is, life isn't always as you plan it to be. Everytime I begin blogging, I fully intend on writing every day. But then something unplanned happens: I have to work on a Sunday because a hurricane is on its way; I have to give my son a second bath because he decided to color himself with markers; I have to make a second trip to the grocery store because friends who are displaced are coming over for dinner; and sometimes I even have to take a trip to the ER in the middle of the night. Life happens and days turn into weeks, months pass, and before you know it, you're another year older and your plans have not worked out as you had once hoped. But that's okay. Sometimes circumstances aren't great, but usually things work out for the best. And sometimes, the results are even better than they may have been. I used to work five, eight hour days, Monday through Friday. However, I soon ran into babysitter issues on Tuesdays, so I changed my schedule to four, 10 hour days. Although my work days are longer, I am able to spend the entire day with Sebastian every Tuesday. I didn't plan on this and I was very hesitant at first. But I couldn't be happier. Now, Sebastian and I are able to spend quality time together, just the two of us, at least once a day every week. We bake yummy desserts, play cars and trains, color pictures for daddy, have play dates with my niece. So here I am, back in action with every intention on writing on a regular basis. But the truth is, I am a human being who also happens to be the mother of a two year old, crazy little boy. So while I ask you to join me as I give you "something to relate to," I also apologize in advance if I am unable to write daily; after all, sometimes life happens!