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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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 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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day 30 of 30 days of thanks!!

Wow! November flew by! I can’t believe that tomorrow is December. Eek! So without further ado…

(drumroll please)

I am SO thankful that November only has 30 days! Seriously. Although the month flew by, it feels like I have been thankful foreeeeeeeeever. Kudos to everyone who stuck with their 30 days of thanks because believe it or not, it is challenging!

After having this month to really reflect on what I am truly thankful for, I realize how fortunate I am. It has opened my eyes to do my best not to take things for granted. I know that sometimes I am guilty of just counting on people or things being there without much consideration. My new goal is to be more thankful for them every day of the year.

In conclusion, I am thankful for you, November, for giving me 30 days (and only 30 days!) to focus on the many things that I have to be so thankful for. Until next year…

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day 29: 30 days of thanks

Today I am thankful for being able to cook. I love cooking and I really wish I could do it more often. Schy is starting to take interest in what’s going on in the kitchen these days. I get so excited when I think of her helping me prepare dinner or bake cookies. I can’t wait to teach her what I have learned over the years.
I have to admit that all of those years in the restaurant business really helped. I owe most of my knowledge and confidence to experiment to some of the great chefs that I have worked with over the years. On the other hand, I also learned a lot of ‘what not to do’!
I’m thankful that I have always (for the most part) been pretty successful at concocting healthy and delicious food. It is so fascinating and fun to learn as I go and I hope my mind will always be open to learning new and interesting things in the kitchen.
Oh yeah, and this…

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day 28: 30 days of thanks

I am so thankful that my family and I have always had access to health care when we’ve needed it. I know that there are plenty of people in the world who have not been so lucky. Tomorrow is Schy’s 15 month appointment and I am thankful that she is able to see her pediatrician regularly. It gives me comfort as an overly paranoid first time mom that her doctor is just a phone call away, no matter the time of day or night. I’m thankful that this is something that my parents were always able to provide for me and that we can now provide for our little one. Here’s hoping we’ll only ever need routine visits.

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day 27: 30 days of thanks

Trees!

That’s right. Today I am thankful for trees. Trees are just amazing. They are fun to climb, they bear delicious fruits and they make the earth beautiful and interesting. And, hello, photosynthesis?! I mean, come on!

We are so lucky to have so many grand trees on our property. They really make it feel like home.

I have also been thinking a lot about Christmas and how much Schy is really going to enjoy the tree this year. We always have a real tree since they are renewable and all. We have a little family ritual of thanking our Christmas tree each year. We give it thanks to welcome it into the house. We also give thanks when we remove it. Sounds corny, I know, but it’s just something we do and something I plan to teach Schy. Trees are such an essential part of life in so many ways and it is important to teach love and respect for them.

There are just so many reasons to be thankful for trees! Now go hug one!

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Today’s thankfulness for trees was inspired by the ‘tree’ prompt for #fmsphotoaday. I got up close and personal with one of our stunning trees, seen in photo. I mean, look at that thing! Isn’t it just amazing?!

(If you are into photo-a-day or would like to try one out, I’d love to invite you to participate in the big green 365 challenge, starting January 2013! Feel free to contact me for more details.)

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day 26: 30 days of thanks

Today I am expressing my gratitude for music. It’s such a beautiful thing. Music has a way of reaching right into your soul. It has the power to change the way you feel. Or to embrace the way you feel. It is just such an amazing powerful thing. I love to watch my 15 month old dance and really feel the music that she hears. She has impeccable taste, by the way!
I’m thankful for the variety of music and talent in the world. It makes life more colorful and enjoyable. Just imagine how depressing the world would be without music. That’s exactly why I am thankful for music, today and every day.

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day 25: 30 days of thanks

I know that this may seem repetitive since I have already expressed my gratitude for my husband, but today I am thankful for my marriage. Having a strong, happy, loving marriage almost seems a rarity these days. I’m thankful to be married to my best friend and to know that no matter what obstacles we may encounter, we will conquer them together. I am thankful to have a marriage that is built on love, trust and friendship. I know that the bond we share is one thing that I can count on and always do my best to not take that for granted. I’m thankful that I can envision growing old with my love, always honoring the promises that we made on our wedding day.
I am so thankful to be happily married to my soul mate. It is truly one of the best feelings in the world!

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