Posts Tagged ‘Parenting support’
Fall Fun & First Friends
Even in light drizzle and amongst more than a couple mud puddles, the annual Parent Connection Fall Harvest Festival is one of our favorite family traditions. But this post isn’t about all of the fun you might have missed today. It’s about the organization that hosts the festival and gives its members so much including a day of music, crafts, games, face painting, jumping and treats for only $5 per child.
When I was pregnant with Mallory, a friend handed me a Parent Connection membership registration form and encouraged me to sign up so that I could find a playgroup to join. Mind you, this was before Facebook and Meetup.com when it was a little harder to find moms with similar-aged children. For more than 30 years, the Parent Connection has been connecting families across San Diego.
In my case, the East County Moms playgroup was born just a few short months after my daughter, and within six months we had more than 10 members who gathered once a week at library story times, for picnics in the park, at Java Mama (when it was in La Mesa) and in each other’s homes. Seven years later, we’re still friends who see each other regularly and are grateful for the support our playgroup provided during those stressful early years.
Don’t need a playgroup? The Parent Connection also supports new moms with a number of complimentary classes and workshops. I’ve taken classes on improving infant sleep, toilet training, turing the terrible two’s into the “terrific two’s,” positive parenting and, more recently, when and how to introduce allowance. Because the Parent Connection is a program of Scripps Memorial Hospital, it has access to fantastic medical experts and professionals who know how to help you achieve your parenting goals.
And then there are the annual special events like today’s Fall Harvest Festival which featured a concert by Hullabaloo Band, face painting, cupcake decorating, craft making (thanks Art Soup!), jumpies, slides and games.
Although my kids are 7 and 5, I still enjoy my Parent Connection membership immensely. On a daily basis I access the group’s Yahoo! message boards, which is a terrific forum for anyone with kids. Need a new plumber? Want to know how to get poop stains out of clothes? Looking for a preschool? Pose your question to the more than 1,000 San Diego moms in the group, and you’re certain to get a few helpful answers.
We also take advantage of the discounts offered to members on special events and attractions like Seaworld, Legoland, the zoo and more.
Being at the Fall Harvest Festival today brought back many warm memories of my early years as a member. With so many new moms following this blog and The Mom’s Guide to San Diego on Facebook, I just wanted to share what this organization has meant to me.
Membership dues are a meager $20 per year. Can you believe it’s that cheap to get all of the fun, friendship and support that the Parent Connection offers? It still amazes me that every mom doesn’t sign up. Check them out at www.sandiegoparent.com for more information.
Playgroup Buddies are the Best!
If one of the things you felt thankful for this past week is the love, support and friendship that your playgroup buddies give you, then this blog is for you.
Eight years later, I still treasure the meaningful friendships that grew from my original Parent Connection playgroup.
We’ve decided that, in 2014, the mom’s guide is going to be all about honoring, rewarding and supporting San Diego playgroups. If you, the moms and kids you hang with on a regular basis would be interested in winning a playgroup party, listen up!
During the next twelve months, every registered San Diego playgroup will have the chance to win incredible in-home parties, fabulous field trips and memorable moments courtesy of San Diego’s best local businesses (and mom’s guide sponsors!).
Our 2014 prize list includes:
And that’s just what we have planned for the kids. For moms, we’re giving away…
If any of this sounds like the type of fun your group would like to have, then register your playgroup anytime for your chance to win. Here’s how:
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org your:
1. Playgroup name
2. Playgroup organizer’s name
3. Organizer’s phone number and email address
4. Approximate number of members
5. Age-range of children in the group
Each time a playgroup giveaway becomes available, captains will be notified and given the chance to enter to win. Each playgroup member can enter for one chance to win! Enter as many or as few giveaways as you’d like.
Here’s some fine print:
No purchase necessary. Unsubscribe from the group email at any time. Winners will be randomly selected. Prize packages are limited in quantity. Large playgroups may need to raffle tickets to certain attractions and opportunities. More details to follow each giveaway. Good luck!
The Invisible Mom, Building Cathedrals
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her
inscription: ‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make everyday, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my child to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
I love this story by Nicole Johnson, a bestselling author and speaker who has served as the Women of Faith dramatist for over 10 years. She is also the founder of Seasons Weekend, a retreat for thirsty souls everywhere. For more information about Nicole, visit www.FreshBrewedLife.com.
Vons.com to the Rescue!
Allow me to set the scene.
We returned from vacation last week. The next day, my husband left for work. He is still there six days later. In the meantime, between unpacking bags, wrangling two babies and getting our kitchen torn apart unexpectedly, I was sort of overwhelmed.
Yesterday, while secretly praying for bedtime to come sooner, my daughter asked for “booberry gogurt” for the 516th time. We had little food in the house, I couldn’t leave with drywall guys working in the kitchen and I had absolutely no energy to even THINK about going to the store once they left (1/2 hour before bedtime).
Then, the magic words from my friend, Lindsay: “Buy some groceries online. They’ll bring it to you!”
Now, my first thoughts were:
- It’s probably too expensive
- They won’t have the brands I like
- It will take too long to get it delivered
- I don’t want someone else choosing my produce
- Some things I will farm out, but grocery shopping should not be one of them
Well, let me tell you. I was absolutely wrong on all counts. It has been such a wonderful experience I decided to write a blog article about it!
Busy, overwhelmed, overextended parents, take note!
I signed up at Vons.com yesterday afternoon. Upon registration, they offered free delivery (usually $10-$13), a free case of water and a free 8-pack of paper towels if I placed my first order within 24 hours.
Last night at 8:30pm, I went through the short list I’d already made, then went through some recipes and just found (shopping by aisle) and clicked what I needed on the website. No list making! They had every single brand I wanted, and I was also given an option to give my “personal shopper” a note for each individual item (i.e. ripe bananas please). Also, I could let them know if I would accept a substitution if my item wasn’t available. I finished my order, chose my delivery time (today at 2pm-3pm) and paid with a credit card. Done.
Of course, I forgot the dishwashing tablets but I had until 3am to make changes. So I went back in, found my order, added what I needed and done. DONE!
So, this morning at 4am, my personal shopper gathered all my groceries, put them in plastic bags and loaded them on a refrigerated Vons delivery truck.
At 2:04pm, my new Vons BFF, Michael, arrived and delivered all of my groceries TO MY KITCHEN. He had me check the list (there were two items unavailable) and had me sign it. It included my full receipt, discounts for my frequent shopper card and even the gas points I earned.
Now, get this. The produce they chose was better than I would have found myself. And all of my bags were packed perfectly so that unloading took half the time. All the dairy in one bag, all the baby food in another, all the veggies in another. I know this seems basic, but my bags are always a mish mash of everything and it takes forever to unpack once I get home. This was like a magical elf knew exactly what I needed and did it! A personal shopper elf!
Let me make this perfectly clear. This service spared me list making, grocery shopping with two babies (who always lose their minds with 3 aisles to go), gas, hauling groceries to/from the car AND I have free water and paper towels.
ALL FOR FREE.
How on earth I have never thought of doing this before is beyond me. I immediately thought of those initial days starving as the mother of two (or even one!). Friends or family who may need support and you don’t want to send another casserole. Getting ready for a party and sparing yourself the grocery visit. My BFF Michael informed me he delivers “a lot of alcohol”. I hope he’s talking about parties and not overworked parents. : )
The best part? My little girl went down for her nap still asking for her favorite yogurt. When she woke up? Booberry gogurt for EVERYONE! She was so excited. She definitely agreed a magical elf had visited.
So, fellow warriors in the fight against time, this service has changed my life in one 24 hour period. And I may or may not still be in my PJs at 6:30pm watching CMT, but my fridge is full of healthy (and not so healthy) treats with no extra effort from me. I feel refreshed and ready for another single-mom duty day tomorrow!
Check out Vons.com for more details.