Rustic Marlin founders Melanie and Brian O'Neil started their business in their garage in 2012 and now employ a talented team of over 30 designers, artists, and craftsmen. Their business, like most small businesses, has seen the immediate effects of the economic downturn associated with COVID-19. However, instead of hanging their heads in defeat, Melanie and Brian got creative.
I have been Zooming all week. Staff meetings, department meetings, morning meetings, read alouds for my kids, a special 'happy birthday' for my son, and my favorite — happy hour. Zoom happy hour has become a regular part of my day, when I carve out time to enjoy a drink (or more) and chat with friends. These calls have been vital to my week and help keep me sane and grounded each night.
In the midst of everything, I'm secretly a little happy about having a few weeks with my kiddo unexpectedly. I'm excited for board games, movie nights, endless games of hopscotch, and bubbles in the backyard. However, I'm also going to need to keep my kiddo's mind occupied at least long enough for me to shower and maintain some of my sanity. The reality is that I'm an introvert and she's an extrovert, and when she's uttered 300,000 words before lunch my brain feels a little fried.
A full night's sleep offered some needed perspective the next day: My family was safely home together. We had plenty of food. We were all healthy. As the media highlighted those who were not as fortunate, I knew I did not want to take our situation for granted.
My husband and I carefully pulled open the box, put the braces on the baby, and then wrapped her up. The braces looked just like my daughter’s, right down to the pink velcro.
See, things have changed a lot. Parents of young kids these days can be distracted — myself included. We have a lot going on, and technology and social media have created an additional burden on us despite all the ways they have made life easier. In part because of all the information we have available, we are constantly judging ourselves. Moms in particular struggle with comparing themselves and their parenting abilities to those of everyone they follow on Instagram or are friends with on Facebook.
Being grateful is a simple attitude with a profound effect. It reminds me of the good in my life when days are full of chaos and tantrums. Being grateful begins with me, ends with me, and allows others to get the best version of me — the thankful one.
My hope is that my children see me model this and it becomes something they copy and do themselves. My kids are 8, 5, and 2, so too young to really understand what it means that their "Pop" served in Vietnam. However, I do expect them to thank my father-in-law. Someday they will know and understand the sacrifices he made. And they can be just as proud of him as I am, and just as proud of him as I was of my grandfathers.
My daughter learned how to stretch her body and wait patiently for her turn. Her teachers encouraged her to look in the mirror and be proud of who she saw looking back at her. She sang songs while she danced, practiced walking on her tiptoes like a princess, was encouraged to use good manners, and, above all, learned to be kind to her classmates.
From learning and practicing jiu-jitsu, a child becomes stronger, faster, and smarter. When faced with a bully, a child with a jiu-jitsu background is not likely to back down. When bullies sense this unyielding confidence, it is more likely they will back down before engaging. A child who has self-confidence in his ability to defend himself will exude that. This can prevent many bullying encounters. At the same time, jiu-jitsu instills humility.
Before we moved to East Boston, it felt like a distant land, far across the water from the rest of Boston. Now, after having lived here for almost a decade, I cannot imagine a better place to live — or raise kids. One stop away from downtown Boston on the MBTA Blue Line or a short water-taxi ride away, it's an easy location for an adventure and offers a myriad of options to parents of young children!
Taking a kid, no matter how football obsessed, to an NFL game, is an investment. Given the cost of tickets, the distance to most stadiums, and the sheer size of the event, you can’t wing it. I didn’t attend my first NFL game until my 17th birthday. Good news: Your children don’t have to wait as long as I did. Here are some tips for anyone hoping to bring their kids to a New England Patriots or any other NFL game.
My children are pros at wasting things. One of their favorite nap-time activities is to take sheets of printer paper and cut them into minuscule pieces that I find for days. They don't color on them — they just cut them up, and then throw them away. When school starts, they bring home reams of paper, covered in "art" that will be treasured for approximately five seconds and then cut into tiny pieces. The same is true for toys. They are joyously acquired, and then quickly forgotten about. Water is left running, lights are left on. Don't even get me started on the food I throw out every evening. You get the picture.
All of a sudden, the school year has begun, the leaves are starting to change, and I'm putting on a sweater. This is the time for apple picking, for yard clean up, and for fall soups. Yes, soup! As the days start getting shorter and the temperatures start dipping, I find nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup. And as a mom of two trying to get dinner on the table after a day at the office, there is nothing more comforting than my Instant Pot — my amazing set-and-forget, one-appliance wonder.
Two years ago, when a persistent cough and mild chest pressure turned out to be a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma tumor the size of a dollar bill compressing my husband’s airway, we joined that club. My husband was 31 and I was 32. Our children were 4, 3, and less than 1. Welcome to the cancer club.