Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You've Got 109 Days To Collect On The Greatest Gift I Can Give You

Sometimes the most rewarding journeys are those that have no clear destination.

I set out on such an adventure last September when I asked each of you to help me make a difference in the world by donating a small holiday gift to a child who would receive nothing else on Christmas morning.

I had no idea where the journey would lead, but the outcome was extraordinary.  I received packages of crayons, coloring books, puzzles, stickers, toothbrushes, washcloths and even wild flower seeds.  As the collection deadline drew near, last minute monetary donations came in via PayPal, which I used to purchase socks, underwear and clothing.  Together we donated nearly 200 pounds of gifts to Operation Christmas Child via Samaritan’s Purse.

But for me, the greatest gift was having my own daughters, nearly 3 and 5 at the time, assist in the packing, wrapping and delivering of boxes.  A close second was receiving notification from the charity just before the holiday that our gifts were en route to children in both Panama & Mongolia.  I couldn't wait to share the news with each of you...

Here's a glimpse at what Christmas morning looks like in my house.

If you could do something so simple to create a smile so grand, wouldn't you?

Well, I can help.  The idea behind Operation Christmas Child is simple.  Pack a shoebox (or plastic tub of the same size) with items for a child in need.  You choose the sex, age range and what to give.  Then drop it off at one of numerous locations nationwide.  You can choose where you’d like it to be delivered, domestically or overseas, and track it’s arrival.

I am asking for the same deal as last year… I’ll buy the plastic (reusable) tubs, divide the gifts by age and sex, pack them, wrap them and deliver them.  There is a $7 shipping donation suggested per box, which I will cover, but I’d love for you to help me collect the items to fill 'em up.  No donation is too small or large, as long as each individual item fits into a standard size shoebox.  (I’ve listed some suggestions below.)

Every box we fill is one more smile created.  And while the holidays may seem far away, I urge you to get into the spirit a bit early.  

This year, instead of just celebrating the season of giving, celebrate being able to give…

Now, some housekeeping.

* Click here to check out Operation Christmas Child.

* There’s a list of suggested items on their site.  I have included personal items like soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, combs, band aids, socks, underwear, flip flops, sunglasses and sun hats.  Or something a little more fun like flashcards, toy cars, crayons, stickers, a yo-yo, a jump rope, puzzles, coloring books, sidewalk chalk or a personal holiday card.  The possibilities are endless, and stores like Big Lots are a great resource.

* If you’d like to donate, please email me directly at KLPM16@gmail.com for address information.  (I am also happy to provide proof of last year’s donation.)

* Collection Week begins November 18th, so please don’t delay!  Thank you (109 days) in advance... and Happy Holidays!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Do You Have Self(ie) Respect?

I saw a sign posted all over a large television studio set advertising a $5,000 reward for the return of a lost cell phone.  Why so much coin?  It wasn’t because of the celeb riddled phone book, but the media card filled with uber personal photos.  My heart went right out to the owner, as she was doing all she could to protect her privacy. Unfortunately, not everyone does.

Credit: Twitter, @GeraldoRivera
There’s a reason things haven't gone well lately for Geraldo Rivera, Anthony Weiner and Amanda Bynes.  They all broke a sacred selfie rule.

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with taking a selfie.  In fact, there are many instances in which I fully encourage it.  But there are guidelines that must be followed, and a certain respect to be paid… Yes, selfie respect.

Here are the no-nos:

Never, ever use the bathroom mirror.  In other words, if I can enlarge the photo to see if your TP flap goes under or over, don't do it.

No duckface or pushing your boobs up.

No flexing, eating, showering, driving, jerking or twerking.

No headless photos of you laying out in a bathing suit.

Don't overdo it.  If you've practiced safe selfie within the last month, there is likely little reason for you to do so again.

And for the love of God, no work out photos.  Are you exercising for your own health or for mine?  Because seeing you sweat profusely is making me wanna vomit.

A few green lights:

Fully clothed children should always be permitted to take (non-bathroom) selfies. (However tweens, even if covered up like Nanook of the North, should not.  It just looks creepy.)

Thankfully, selfies with a celeb are always allowed.

So are selfies where you intentionally look as ugly as humanly possible in the hope that you can occupy your children for just a few moments while they play "count mommy's chins".

I also appreciate announcements of a new look, like this cutie with the caption "am I pulling off fedorable?" from @carinnjade at Welcome to the Motherhood.

New hair, new specks or a new 'stache (on a dude) all warrant a selfie blast.  New boobs, on the other hand, do not.

Those are a few of my priorities, but I was curious to kick the question out on Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone else had to say.  Here are a few of my faves:

"Crop out your extended arm while taking the picture so you can perpetuate the illusion that possibly someone else took it" (from fellow producer extraordinaire Peter Higgins)

"When doing so in a bathroom, try to avoid the person sitting on the toilet behind you." (from documentarian @trevorbaierl)

"What about the ugly girls that find "The Angle" that's makes them look pretty but in reality they look like Shrek?" (from @Dylan_Jaramillo)

Hopefully you guys know by now that I am all for positive body image and self-empowerment.  I get that there are plenty of selfies that are cool to take, just not to share. Included in that list is anything you wouldn't late night text to your Grandmother.

Bottom line, use your head.  Literally.  Model Lynsee Gonzales says "always take it from above... stick your chin out and down".

With that... have a wonderful, "selfie respectful" weekend.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Made A Life-Changing Decision Today (And Want You To Make It With Me)

To say I think almost daily about how unable I would be to handle the loss of a child would be an understatement.  Social media is riddled with tear-jerking stories of parents who have lost their children to cancer, suicide, drug addiction and traffic accidents.  Each time I read one, before rushing off to my next business meeting with mascara streaming down my cheek, I promise that click will be my last.  But it never is.

Unfortunately what I don’t think about nearly enough is how my children would handle the loss of a parent, which is ironic because I lost one as a teenager.  I am a (relatively) safe person.  I don’t smoke (anymore), binge drink (anymore) or do lots of drugs (you get the point).  I have health insurance, car insurance, life insurance and home insurance.  I (try to) drink bottled water, go to the dentist regularly, and recycle.  I do all that I can to safeguard our future, except the one thing that would stop putting it at risk 365 days a year.

I text and drive.  I don’t do it when my children are in the car, because I would never put their lives in danger.  So why do I put my own?  I won’t back out of a parking spot without wearing a seat belt, but once I am snapped in, I turn into parenting’s most dangerous hypocrite.

I remember when my toddler starting asking me over and over again, “can I tell you something?”  and I mentioned it to my best friend, in a tone that implied ‘where the hell do they come up with these things’.  “Are you kidding me?” she gasped, “You say that all the time!”

I need to remind myself that although my kids look like this:

I should think of them like this:

I certainly don’t want them texting and driving when I let them behind the wheel at the tender age of 27, so I shouldn’t do it myself.

I want them to lead long, happy, healthy lives, and encourage those around them to do the same.  Just as important, I want to watch them do so.  I want to watch them fall in love, walk down the aisle and hold their babies for the first time.

Though for reasons completely out of his control, my father wasn’t able to see those moments (from the ground).  And his absence left a whole in my heart, one that I refuse to knowingly risk carving out for my own children.

So today- July 19, 2013 - I am taking a vow, whether rolling solo or in a packed SUV (I don't do minivans), not to text and drive.

Will you take it with me?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Here Are The Greatest ABC's You'll Ever Learn

Sometimes it's hard to describe what this blog is all about...  For me, it is so many things. For you, whether through joy or tears, I just hope it brings light.

There's no long story with comedic twists and emotional turns that wind up in an anecdotal #Sharknado to share today, but a ray of sunshine I found days ago that has shone down ever since.

Enjoy your weekend...

@1992 Amazing Alphabet

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why "Please Stow All Electronic Devices, Phones & Penises" May Be A More Appropriate Announcement

As a white, Catholic, middle-class, moderately weighted, heterosexual woman, I can’t say that I have experienced much discrimination in my lifetime.  That is, until walking through an airport with young children.

You all know the stare… that “ohmygod, I hope they aren’t on my flight” stare.  I likely gave it before having children, but now having received it myself, I have vowed never to give it again.  I do, unfortunately, have another stare cued up.

I recently boarded a nighttime flight from Miami to Los Angeles.  After boarding, I cozied into my window seat as much as possible, read a few pages of my book and passed out.  Not twenty minutes later, I was awoken by a foul smell entering my dreamland.  A neighbor noticed my confusion and pointed to the other side of the aisle, just 3 seats away.

There sat a man in nothing but moist boxers (yes, moist boxers, the evil sibling of the moist panty).  And I had missed all the action.

Not long into the flight, said nudie started vomiting, out both ends.  He then stood up and undressed himself down to his underwear, for obvious reasons, and returned to his seat. (The fasten seatbelt sign was illuminated, after all.)

Flight attendants soon entered the scene and excused the 30-something man to the lavatory, where he stayed for at least an hour before exiting only to sprawl out on the floor in the rear of the plane.  Keep in mind, despite my overwhelming desire to be a compassionate person, poor in-flight ventilation meant that I was basically sitting in a cloud of bodily function.  As the flight crew paged for any medical professional on-board, I was praying for three things*…

  •     That he lived
  •     That we avoided an emergency landing anywhere other than LA
  •       That someone packed a can of Febreze 

(* not necessarily in that order) 

Luckily there was a doctor suffering from the toxins enough to volunteer his services, who ultimately determined that the man was suffering from alcohol poisoning.  Once asked what he had to drink before take-off, the dude admitted to fifteen shots of tequila.  Needless to say, whatever shred of sympathy I had left in my body disappeared faster than the salt on his glass.

Admittedly, I have been in his shoes, and likely put my college roommate in the same smelly spot where I sat for hours.  For that, I am very sorry.  But come on.  15 shots in an airport bar?

Mothers of young children are always brainstorming ways to keep their children occupied during a flight, or be prepared to handle the consequences.  I’ve seen a new trend in leaving a small goodie bag (candy, a Starbucks gift card, or even cash) with a note on the seats of surrounding passengers asking for their patience.  Is that necessary?  Absolutely not (in fact, I think it is propelling the stereotype), but it is a cute bandaid.  Still, little precaution is taken for the less-suspecting traveler.

Clearly here is an enormous difference between the miracle of life (and whatever innocent inconveniences it brings) and the conscious choice to obliterate yourself before a flight to the point that you are shitting on everyone around you.  Literally.

So, dude in the airport bar... I’ve got my eye on you.