Teach your kids to do the “right thing”.

A Subway Photo

The following is a lesson worth sharing with your child at any age.  I have witnessed the picture in this post countless times before: woman close to the end of her pregnancy standing in the NYC subway and no one offering to stand up to give her a seat.

The woman standing next to me commented on the lack of common courtesy and as I looked over I saw the “sitting” people sleeping or looking through the pregnant woman as if she was invisible. When I got off the subway and many people got off, I saw the pregnant woman move over to a seat and shake her head in disappointment that no one offered her a seat.

Since my kids were not with me that day, I decided to try to take a picture of the situation. I wanted to take the opportunity to teach my kids to do the “right thing”. When I got home that evening, I explained to them what I had observed that day. I told them ” When someone is “older” (looks like a grandpa/grandma), pregnant (having a baby), disabled (i.e. – walking with a cane) and you are sitting on a bus or train, please get up to offer the person your seat.” They looked at me with a certain level of understanding, but asked me, “But what if I am tired?” It’s a valid question. When I was growing up, I was taught “young” people have strong and healthy legs/feet and you should always offer to get up for someone who is elderly or looks like they need to sit down. They may tell you it is ok and that they can stand and don’t need to sit down, but you should ask them anyway. I told them I know you might be tired, but it is the “right thing” to do. The other person will surely appreciate your kindness and thank you with a smile.

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YOLO Book Club: Read books which focus on positivity and self-improvement.

A YOLO Book Club

I always wanted to be part of a book club and decided to start my own. I call it the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Book Club. We read “YOLO-type” books which focus on positivity and are a group of moms with younger kids that meet every other month (gives us more time to read the book).

When we meet to discuss, everyone shares 5 things they learned from the book. The first book we read was Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. Happiness means different things for everyone, but we all picked up “positive” things from this book we could incorporate in our lives.

One of my favorite tips was around creating a “shrine to my family” and how “happy families tend to display large numbers of photographs in their homes.” This has always been an aspiration of mine, but I can’t seem to make happen. A ” holiday photo gallery” is a much more attainable goal for me. I agree with Gretchen Rubin that when we see family pictures in our home every day, we don’t seem to engage in them because they are a “permanent part” of our home decor. She suggests a “holiday photo gallery” which is something I can definitely do. I plan on taking all of my daughters’ Halloween photos over the years and putting them in frames. I will bring these pictures out only at Halloween so we notice and pay attention to them. It’s similar to the concept of Easter and Christmas decor. How excited do you and your family get when you bring out the decorations for that season? You don’t see that decor all the time so it is special.

We are always looking for new book ideas to add to our current YOLO Book Club list. This is what we have so far (in no particular order):

1) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

2) Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

3) The Art of Happiness by Howard Cutler and Dalai Lama

4) Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

6) How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

7) Joel Osteen books; Every Day a Friday by Joel Osteen

8) The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

9) The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

10) Words that Matter: A Little Book Of Life Lessons – Oprah Magazine Editors of O

11) A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose or The Power of Now: Guide to Spirtual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

12) The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

13) Life is a Verb: 37 Days To Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh

14) What’s Holding You Back? 30 Days to Having The Courage and Confidence to Do What You Want, Meet Whom You Want and Go Where You Want by Sam Horn

15) The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Set Backs and Imperfections by Norman Rosenthal

16) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

17) The Gift of the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh

18) Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrew

19) Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

20) Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

21) Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

22) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

So you get the idea…Read books which bring positive things into your life which make you happy. When the parents are happy, it’s easier for the kids to be happy too.

YOLO Bear – Celebrate your accomplishments!

Fall 2014 026

A little over a year ago, I set a personal goal for myself to launch a parenting blog and post at least 52 times over the next year. Today is my blog’s one year anniversary and with 70+ posts, I accomplished my goal and want to celebrate, but how? I would love to travel around the world for a year, but that is not realistic. But perhaps someone can go in my place – YOLO Bear! I can have friends and family take YOLO (You Only Live Once) bear to fabulous local and far away destinations, take a picture with the bear and keep celebrating the one year anniversary of my blog for another year. For my second blog year anniversary, I will make a photo book of YOLO bear’s travels.

What is the parenting life lesson? Work with your children to set goals and celebrate their accomplishments. Work hard, play hard! My daughters’ goal will be to read for 20 minutes for 20 days next month and we can celebrate this accomplishment with an overnight hotel stay locally with an indoor pool. Sounds like a nice way to celebrate, doesn’t it?

Fall Bucket List – 25 Fun Things To Do

A Leaf

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to create your “Fall Bucket List.” If you live in the NY area, fall is in the air. Cooler weather, leaves turning vibrant colors as well as leaves starting to fall off the trees. My daughter actually took the picture of the leaf in this post at her school bus stop last year. Take the time to enjoy the beauty of nature all around you.

Here is my “Fall Bucket List” so far:

  1. Adventureland
  2. Attend a local Oktoberfest festival
  3. Bake a pie
  4. Bowling
  5. Breathe in the fresh crisp fall air
  6. Buy fall scented candles and soaps at Bath and Body Works (Weekend Apple Picking, Crisp Morning Air and Vampire Blood for Halloween are some of our favorites!)
  7. Buy some fall flowers – Mums anyone?
  8. Carve a pumpkin
  9. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Friends – visit a real life Central Perk coffee shop which is open at 199 Lafayette St. in NYC from Sept. 17-Oct. 18
  10. Create Acorn Cap Jewels (Gather acorn caps, color the inside of the acorn cap with markers and then fill the inside of the acorn cap with white glue. After the glue dries, the acorn caps will glisten like jewels.)
  11. Eat something with pumpkin in it (Cheesecake, Latte, Munchkins, Soup, etc.)
  12. Go apple picking
  13. Go to the movies and see a grown-up film without kids
  14. Have a picnic (weather permitting)
  15. Hiking and/or walk around the lake at Bear Mountain State Park
  16. Jump in a pile of leaves (parental supervision)
  17. Plan a fall getaway – Iloveny.com/fall
  18. Stay at a hotel with an indoor pool
  19. Take a walk on the Hi-Line in NYC which is now extended to 34th Street
  20. Take pictures of the pretty fall leaves
  21. Travel out east to the Hamptons and the North Fork in the off-season
  22. Treat yourself to a massage
  23. Walk in your neighborhood and have a fall photo shoot
  24. Watch a scary or spooky movie with the kids
  25. Watch episodes from an “old school” TV series with your kids – Addams Family, The Brady Bunch, Get Smart, I Love Lucy, Lost in Space, Munsters, Welcome Back Kotter

Mommy Poppins® also has Top 100 Things to Do with your Kids Before They Grow Up in NYC and Long Island . Good stuff…

What is on your Fall Bucket List?