Kids, Music, Puppies and Watches

Two weeks from tomorrow, I am volunteering in the call center during the Atlanta radio station WSB’s Care-A-Thon. The Care-A-Thon benefits the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I have made monetary donations to the Aflac Cancer Center during the Care-A-Thon for the past 8yrs. This year, which is the 10th year of the Care-A-Thon I am thrilled to donate my time alongside the other volunteers.

Though neither one of our boys has experienced a life threatening illness, Rob and I have used other resources provided by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), including their outpatient centers, nurse advise line and CHOA’s emergency room at Egleston. We believe donating to CHOA is investing in an insurance plan, should our boys ever be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The more money this not-for-profit organization has to spend, the greater the research, the more likely the breakthroughs, and the increased success in finding cures.

I hope you’ll consider donating to CHOA. If you don’t want to donate today, mark your calendar, and be sure to have your radio set to WSB AM 750 on Thursday morning August 26th starting at 5:00 AM. The Care-A-Thon lasts until Friday August 27th at 5:00 PM. Oh, and I’ll be helping with the phones from 5:00 AM – 9:00 AM on Thursday and 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM on Friday. Call me!!

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If you are local to Atlanta, you’ve probably heard about Eddie’s Attic, a music venue in Decatur, GA. In fact, if you are a music fan, you’ve probably heard of Eddie’s Attic. The music venue has had many famous acts perform on its stage, including The Indigo Girls, Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush, The Verve Pipe, Lowen & Navarro, Shawn Mullins, Kristen Hall, John Mayer, etc. You get my drift, I hope.

Recently, Five Star Iris performed on stage at Eddie’s Attic. And, as is common with Eddie’s performers, Alan Schaefer and Five Star Iris have shown their kind and giving heart. These guys are donating their live performance at Eddie’s Attic to Pick of the Litter, an animal rescue group. Make a donation to Pick of the Litter (any dollar amount) by clicking the ‘buy now’ button, and you will be given a link to download Five Star Iris ‘Live at Eddie’s Attic’ on the donation confirmation page.

Check out the second track on Five Star Iris’ live performance, “02 World Needs Now“.

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And now that you’ve helped to put a smile on a child’s face, as well as ensure some animals have a safe place to call home, buy a little something for yourself. Sporty watches are available through HopeWatch.org.

Oh, did I mention HopeWatch contributes a percentage of the purchase to various organizations? They do. When you select a watch, there is a drop down list of charitable organizations you may chose to receive a percentage of your purchase. Some of the charities included are CURE Childhood Cancer, United Way, and Golsen/Susan G. Komen for the cure 3-day.

So, while you listen to your music and keep track of the time of day, you’ll be reminded of how you helped the lives of others. And, I thank you for your support.

Five for Friday

I don’t remember where I was when I first heard “Your Ghost”, by Kristin Hersh (with background vocals by Michael Stipe); but, to this day, that song generates some serious memories and warm fuzzy feelings. *blushes*

I’ve already talked about the power of a song, so I won’t repeat myself  . . . entirely. I continue to be amazed at the power of music and the power of a song. All week, our boys have been singing the songs on The Verve Pipe’s A Family Album. I sent off a Tweet to Kristin Hersh, wondering if she would do a kids’ album.

I was excited when I received a message back from Kristin, letting me know she recorded an album with her kids in the late 90s. The album, “Murder, Misery and then Goodnight” was not in my collection, but it is now. (Thank you iTunes!) And, don’t let the title of the album deter you from sharing it with the kids, after all the lyrics to the popular lullaby ‘Rock-a-bye baby’ aren’t exactly happy.

Psst… here’s her ‘Your Ghost’ song from ‘Hips and Makers’:

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While busy doing everything and anything, with the exception of what needed to get done, I stumbled upon a website that sells watches for charity. Have I mentioned I love watches? Have I mentioned orange is my favorite color? Well, let me tell you now, I love watches, and orange is my favorite color.

So, when I stumbled upon HopeWatch, I was so excited. This was a perfect opportunity for  me to rationalize spending money we don’t have to give to the greater good. And yes, I did rationalize the purchase, and I encourage you to check out the HopeWatch website, and ‘watch’ as they give back to the communities in need.

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When the boys started using the potty, I rejoiced in the fact that we no longer had to buy diapers. When the boys moved into real beds, I rejoiced in the fact that we no longer had to deal with cribs. When the boys were able to dress themselves, I cried.

Joe, when he was 2yrs old, holding Giraffey tight. Today, as a 5yr old, he holds Giraffey the exact same way.

When I was done crying, I was on-call and ready to jump into action, if they ever requested my help. (And, I secretly hoped (and still hope) that they would ask for my help.) I was happy this week, when Charlie asked me to help him get ready for bed. As I was putting on his shirt, it dawned on me: we are nearing the end of the ‘T’ stage.

My days of buying clothes based on their age are ending. *sigh* Joe barely fits into 5T, and Charlie is nearly maxed on his 4Ts. This is serious stuff, folks. I’m not ready for big kid clothes. Kindergarten in August – and now big kid clothes? At least Joe still sleeps with his ‘Giraffey’. I don’t even want to think about the first night he goes without it.

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In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones says, “Why’d it have to be snakes.” Indiana Jones was not fond of snakes. Me? I love snakes.

This week, we spent one evening at our neighbor’s house. The kids had a blast having a water gun fight. Truth be told, the Dads had a blast, too. While the kids soaked themselves, my neighbor ordered pizza. When the delivery man drove up with the pizza, Noreen said to the kids, “Guys, don’t squirt the pizza man.” He thanked her.

We all sat on the driveway to eat our pizza dinner, while laughing and enjoying the evening. After dinner, the kids played for a bit longer, but the time came when we had to pack up and head home. I folded the chair I was using, walked into the garage to put the chair away, and noticed a very large – very large – Rat snake. Did I mention it was very large?

The kids gathered around to see the snake, and I was giddy with excitement. Long story short (too late), Rob and I were able to get the snake out of the garage. We watched as it made its way down the front yard and start ‘climbing’ up a tree. Which brings me to another snake story . . .

Two years ago, we were (again) hanging out with our next door neighbors. Jim, Rob and I were sitting on the front lawn, while the boys played. Suddenly, these critters start falling from the sky. Literally. We were started, and we did not know from where the critters were coming. One dropped right in front of me, and it started oddly and quickly crawling towards me. I screamed and stood up, quickly.

We soon realized what was happening. Flying squirrels. Flying squirrels were ‘flying’ and jumping out of a tree. It was the oddest thing. And, when a flying squirrel is on the ground running, it looks like a bat. Again – odd. But really, those critters are cute.

We wondered why the squirrels were jumping and flying from their home, so we walked over to the tree. As we got closer to the tree, we saw the source of the scurry. A long, black Rat snake had made its way up the tree and close to the hole, where the flying squirrels lived.  Who knows, perhaps the snake we saw this week was the same one we saw two years ago. Clearly, based on its size, the snake has done well for itself.

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And finally, today, the boys and I bid adieu to Michelle, their swim teacher. Joe and Charlie had their final swim lesson today. *sigh* Yet another stage in life has come and gone.

Joe, Michelle (the swim teacher) and Charlie

The boys and I have truly enjoyed the past four weeks, going to swim lessons Monday through Friday. From watching the initial fear of swimming change to a confidence and ability to swim to the car-ride conversations and singing of songs, we had a great time.

Both the boys and I had tears in our eyes, as we drove away from Michelle’s house one last time. However, we quickly recovered, listening to “Wake Up!” (Track 1 on The Verve Pipe’s Family Album). See?! Music has power. May your weekend be full of fun and music. Be sure to make time to sing a little song and do a little jig. Why not start your weekend off right by listening to this: