The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

26 acts of kindness: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

I know, I know… It is taking me forever to post these! I haven’t forgotten. I would love to blame the holidays but they’ve been over for some time now. I know I’m not the only who needs time to restore normalcy after the holiday madness, right?!

Lets continue with our kindness, shall we?

kindness: act 8

This was an awesome day! It was awesome because we had an act of kindness come back to us, as well as performing one! I had an important event to attend, so Schy & I went out to Boscov’s to get some of my favorite mascara that I was out of. It was a cold, icy day here, so in honor of Dawn Hochsprung (06/28/65), we stood by the door after we entered and held the door open for multiple people who were also coming in from the cold. Schy thought that all of this door holding was hilarious and her laughter brought a smile to almost all of their faces! It was sweet to see her brighten the day of others.

While at the Estée Lauder counter, the woman searched and searched for the mascara to no avail. (Apparently this is their best seller. Who knew?) She looked in different locations, high and low, determined to find what I had asked for. She asked if we had a moment, which we did, and she scurried off. She returned with a promotional sized mascara and lash primer and said “you can have these!” I was so delighted. I thanked her so much and let her know how appreciative I was for her taking the time to find that for me. I think someone as giving and selfless as Dawn would approve!

kindness: act 9

That same day, I spread kindness for Madeleine F. Hsu (07/10/06) by offering a ride to someone who was attending the same event that I was. I was hesitant at first, but there was no reason not to, especially since we live so close to each other and were going to the same place. I thought of little Madeleine, extended the invitation and it was graciously received.

kindness: act 10

Today we hit the kindness jackpot at our local supermarket. I honor of Catherine V. Hubbard (06/08/06) we spared some change for the customer in front of us. His order came to $5.26 and he was frantically searching for 26 cents. I could sense his embarrassment as I reached into my coat pocket and felt a bunch of change. I handed the 26 cents to the cashier and she smiled. He must’ve said thank you 4 or 5 times before leaving. Thanks for the inspiration, Catherine!

kindness: act 11

Same supermarket, same line… we were just picking up some almond milk and a couple vegetables. Next up, Chase Kowalski (10/31/05). An elderly man joined the line behind us with just one item, a small container of milk. I asked the cashier if I could pay for that, too. She looked at us kind of blankly and said “really? Ooook”. I said “yes, we are paying the kindness forward.” She scanned his item while he was opening up his wallet, not realizing what was going on. We grabbed our bag and left without looking back. I hope that even this small gesture made him smile, as well as the cashier when she told him that his order was paid for! This small gesture, made for Chase.

kindness: act 12

One more for today, in honor of Jesse Lewis (06/30/06). While I was strapping Schy into her carseat, a small elderly woman rolled her shopping cart up to the car next to us. By the time I was finished buckling, she was closing her car door after loading up her groceries. I reached out and asked if I could return the cart for her. It wasn’t far, but it was cold (14 degrees here today!). She simply said “thank you, dear” and climbed into her car. I returned the cart, thanks to Jesse, and returned to my car as she was driving off, giving me a wave. It is so rewarding to help someone in a small way. I drove home from the store feeling so happy today, and with the Sandy Hook victims in my heart.

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bring it on 2013! my resolutions

Unbelievable. Here I am, on New Year’s Eve, wondering where 2012 went. This has been a remarkable year for my family and I and I am confident that 2013 will be even better. I am totally one of those people who is looking back, reflecting on the year and thinking of the changes that I want to make for 2013.

Yes, I make resolutions. I do believe that a new year is great motivation to make fresh starts and set goals. Some succeed, some fail. For 2013 I’m going all out and focusing on something that I have been neglecting: ME. These resolutions are important goals that I have set to help me feel like me again, more like a human. As a first time mom, I’ve been completely focused on the happiness and well being of my baby. And while I understand that this is completely normal, I also understand that my mood and energy affects hers also. By focusing a bit more on myself, I can be better for her and for my husband.

So, here they are:

1. Eat clean. (again). I feel so incredible when I am eating a totally clean diet. My biggest challenge is going to be conquering my sugar addiction. My plan is to go cold turkey and try to replace refined sugar with more fruits and clean substitutes. I plan to log what I’m eating and drinking, focusing on fresh, whole foods and plenty of water. I used to do this and I know I can. Also, contuining our crusade to rid our house of GMOs.

2. Scheduled exercise. I used to be fit. I so want to get back there. I used to weight train 4-5 times a week, run 9-10 miles 3 times a week and do yoga every day possible. My goal is to schedule 20-30 minutes of “me time” a day to do an intense workout. My body is really craving it and I know it’ll be the boost I need to gain my self confidence and energy back. I can’t wait to have that “hurts in a good way” feeling again. I am also running the Saratoga half marathon this year so I WILL be ready!

3. Work on time management. Routines work. It can be tough with a teething toddler who may or may not resist a nap and require my undivided attention. But much like she thrives on a routine, I think I will too. Allot time for housework, exercise, meditation, play, husband, blogging (of course) and rest. I would love to try and devote time to all of these things that are so important to me. All of the things that make me ME.

These are some pretty tall orders, I know. But I’ve done them all before and I CAN do them again. The better I am, the better I will be for my family and that is my motivation.

Better me = better us.

Let’s get this New Year started!

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acts of kindness: 4, 5, 6 & 7

The past week has been super hectic with Christmas and toddler. Now that the holiday is over we’re ready to get back on track sharing our acts of kindness.

kindness: act 4

On Sunday, in memory of Olivia Engel (7/18/06), we went to deliver Christmas gifts that we had collected for families in need. Unfortunately, the first family that we were scheduled to meet with never showed. I never heard from them again. From what I understand, this was a domestic violence situation and I am really, really hoping that those children had a good holiday. I’ve been wondering for days what the heck happened.

We were, however, able to meet with the second family. I was particularly excited about this one since the family lives in my [small] hometown! When we arrived I discovered that it was actually someone that I had graduated with. Clearly it has been a much different road for them than I have traveled since I graduated high school. It saddened me a bit at first, but then made me realize how fortunate I really am. And the important thing is that their daughter had a great Christmas! I received an email and a thank you on Christmas saying how much she enjoyed everything. Thanks to Olivia for making Christmas bright for another child!

kindness: act 5

Since our first family didn’t show up, I now had a pile of gifts and donations for children that weren’t going to be given. I was determined to find a home for these wonderful gifts, in honor of Josephine Gay (12/11/05). I hit the Internet with just hours before Christmas Eve. I decided to check the community board on Craigslist as one of my last efforts. I discovered a plea for help, not for herself, but for a neighbor that has had a streak of horrible luck and was unable to provide Christmas gifts for his 3 young children. I sent an email with fingers crossed and within an hour had heard back! I explained to her what we had and she was ecstatic! She was able to drive an hour on the morning of Christmas Eve to pick everything up. We were all so happy! We gave her a big warm hug and thanked her, explaining our 26 acts and that this one was for Josephine. I’ve never seen a more sincere smile. That was a truly great moment. A bunch of people pulling together for the good of others. Thank you for inspiring us to give it one last effort, Josephine!

kindness: act 6

In honor of Ana M. Marquez-Greene (04/04/06), we decided to leave Christmas cookies for our neighbors. We live pretty close together and have very different lifestyles (us: toddler that needs sleep, them: couple of rowdy teenagers with loud friends). We get along alright, but have had our disagreements. Since we made more cookies than we can should eat, we decided to surprise them with some, with a note about little Ana. Hope they enjoy them as much as I am!

kindness: act 7

This was our original act of kindness idea and we were super excited to carry it out, in memory of Dylan Hockley (03/08/06). We baked dozens and dozens of cookies on Christmas Eve and couldn’t wait to share. We made a nice big plate and brought them to our local volunteer fire department with a card expressing our gratitude. The fire fighters happened to be out on a call when we stopped so we left them by the door for them to find when they returned. Thank you, Dylan, for the inspiration to commit a generous act for such generous, selfless people.

To be continued…

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26 acts of kindness: 3

Kindness: act 3

Today we are honoring one of the wonderful teachers lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy, Rachel D’Avino (7/17/83). Schy and I baked some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to share. Today we wrapped some up with ribbons and left them for our mail carrier, in our mailbox with the flag up. We are hoping that she will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy them while she finishes up her route. We also included a Christmas card, thanking her for her hard work and to let her know that the gesture was in honor of Rachel, one of the Sandy Hook victims. Thank you for today’s inspiration, Rachel.

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26 acts of kindness: 1 & 2

The Big Green Parenting Experiment observed a blogging day of silence yesterday, December 18, in honor of the Sandy Hook victims. I did, however, stay true to our 26 acts of kindness and will share those with you today.

Kindness: act 1

Yesterday, in honor of Charlotte Bacon (2/22/06), I did a little research and reached out to two local families in need of assistance with Christmas gifts for their children. There are many families out there that could use a hand in making Christmas special for their little ones, so my family and I are doing what we can to help. A little goes long way this time of year. I am very excited to have received some great donations from friends! I will be sure to let these families know when I deliver the gifts this weekend, that they are in honor of little Charlotte. Thanks to her inspiration, three needy children will have a merry Christmas this year.

Kindness: act 2

Today, in Daniel Barden’s (9/25/05) honor, Schy and I went on a mission to find a Salvation Army volunteer. They selflessly stand outside, ringing their bells in the cold December air for the good of others. We thought it would be nice to bring one a nice hot cup of coffee in honor of Daniel. Because of Daniel, that bell ringer is a little bit warmer and is reminded of the good in humanity. He was speechless, by the way.

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Kindness feels awesome!

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26 acts of kindness for Newtown

I know that many of us, especially parents, have really been struggling with Friday’s tragic event. I myself have been on an emotional roller coaster, just trying to take in and process all of the details of the horrific event. Add to that the ongoing battle over “the solution” to preventing similar occurrences in future. Gun control. Mental health care. Armed teachers. It’s enough to make your head spin.

While I do agree that we should let the tears dry, I also believe that there is no better time to discuss these issues. This can’t happen again. It just can’t. And we owe it to those innocent, beautiful children, brave teachers and their families to see that it doesn’t.

I’ll admit, I lost a bit of faith in humanity on Friday. I cried and asked why and held my baby tight. I questioned whether there was any good left in this world and how I could ever protect my child from the demons that continue to commit these unthinkable acts of hatred. I was nervous going to Target and thought about where I could hide to keep her safe if a crazed gunman were to storm the store. Paranoid? Maybe. Ridiculous? I think not. Not now. These things are real and a part of life now. I know that I’m not the only one thinking about them.

So how do we conquer this way of thinking? How do we begin the healing process? How do we move on and still grieve and honor the lives of those lost? Until today my answer was ‘I just don’t know.’

There is an amazing movement taking place now, inspired by a tweet by Ann Curry. “Imagine if everyone went out and committed 20 acts of kindness for every child lost in Newtown.” 20 quickly became 26 to include the heroic teachers that were lost as well. This is such a fantastic challenge. It is a beautiful way to honor each individual lost on that day and to also restore some faith in humanity.

Are you up for the challenge? Can you wake up each day for the next 26 days, hold one of the Sandy Hook victims in your heart and perform an act of kindness in their honor? What a beautiful thing to share with your friends on facebook, twitter, blogging or even just to keep for yourself. Help spread the kindness for these angels. I will be sharing my acts of kindness with you and I hope you’ll join in the movement. If you choose to share yours, be sure to use the hash tag #26acts.

I am totally up for any challenge that helps to make the world a better place. Let these precious lives inspire you to be better, kinder and more gracious.
What do you say?

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