Find Your Tribe Wordless Wednesday

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This came through my Facebook feed today via the fab Lyss Stern. Seemed to fit perfectly with Monday’s post about friendship.

Bake it Happen for Breast Cancer Research

bananas for boobies logo

I recently had a discussion with my daughters about friendship.  It’s hard to explain to an 11 year-old that friendships ebb and flow, and more importantly, that if you keep your heart open you will continue to make new friends throughout your life.

Some of your friends will stick.  Some won’t.  And that’s okay.  It doesn’t diminish the power of the friendship you had in that time of your life.

If you’re lucky you will have one or two great friends.  If you’re really lucky you will continue to stumble upon those rare people with whom you immediately click – the ones that maybe make you believe in past lives – in all phases of your life.  The ones that feel like family.

I have been that lucky, and I know how special and rare it is.

When my daughters were born I was the only one of my friends to have a baby (babies!).  My cousin, with whom I am extremely close, also had a baby, just a few week before me, but she lived in Michigan.  So aside from talking on the phone all the time, I didn’t have “mom” friends.  And, because I had twins, the thought of schlepping to baby groups between pumping, and feeding, and changing, and wrapping them up to take naps – while also being social in some carpeted basement of the Y, was really more than I could bear.

So, I was nervous when my girls finally started preschool and there were all of these other MOMs.  And, most of the time, it was just me and the nannies.  I seemed to be the only stay at home mom on the Upper West Side – but really it was just the blur of drop off and separation that made it seem so.  Eventually, I met the other moms – at the school auction, at the endless school parties, at playdates.  And I don’t know how it happened, but I met some of the best women I will ever know.  I am still amazed that we were all randomly put into this 2 morning a week class together.

One of these women was Shari Brooks.  And while there are a lot of things I could list about Shari that make her, well, her – there is one that tops the list – Shari is a Do-er, not because she wants recognition, and not because she’s keeping a mental tab in her mind of what someone now owes her, but because she really, really has a heart and mind that just go there.  She is continually thinking about what is the right thing to do, the best way to do it, and then just doing it.  It’s not Type A, it’s Type A to Z.  She’s got it covered.

Knowing Shari like I do, it was not surprising to me that she turned her energy towards creating something positive out of the loss of her mom Judy from metastatic breast cancer five years ago.  I feel incredibly lucky that Shari entered my life at a time when I could get to know her mom, even though her mom was sick from almost the moment I met her.  I have never wondered where Shari gets her energy and love of life from because I saw it firsthand in her mom.  Even at her frailest, after years of ongoing chemo and radiation, Judy would come up on the train from Baltimore – by herself! – to spend time with her grandkids, just be with her family and share more experiences.

A while after Judy passed, Shari started an amazing blog called My Judy the Foodie, where she has kept her mom’s memory alive through her mom’s recipes and special meals.  When I met Shari she literally couldn’t boil water.  I once watched her throw pasta into a pot of cold water and then turn it on.  No joke.  So to watch Shari teach herself to cook through doing, and then through sharing, all the while keeping her mom’s memory alive for her kids, and really everyone, has been a real revelation.

Now Shari has teamed up with her equally awesome sister to create another endeavor that will honor Judy and advance the cause of breast cancer research, Bake it Happen (aka Bananas for Boobies, which if you know Shari makes perfect sense, but Facebook doesn’t know Shari that well so they didn’t like it).

This is no 26 mile marathon where you must exhaust yourself to prove you care.  This is not pinkwashing to make companies look like they care.  This is a very basic way to share purpose and care.

  1. Bake a loaf, or two or three, of Judy’s amazing banana chocolate chip loaf.
  2. Take a pic of your fabulous creation.
  3. Then share it on Facebook or email it to bananasforboobies@gmail.com
  4. Then share a loaf in real life.   Take a pic of that too!
  5. You could win an iPad!

Every time a photo is shared a dollar is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Here’s how we baked it happen last weekend:

See?  Simple, delicious, and meaningful.   Just like good friends.

Head on over now to Bananas For Boobies and Bake it Happen!!!

Moms Gone Wild-ish: Taking Time Out to Celebrate with Friends (with $100 Giveaway)

This post is sponsored by Serve from American Express. Sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use. Comment below within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account!

This past year has been crazy for me.  It’s been full of amazing opportunities like Mom Congress, the launch of KidzVuz, spending the day with Sony and photographer Brian Smith at BlogHer, being on ABC News Now and speaking at the 140 Edu Conference and She Streams.  But none of these events would have been possible – or nearly as fun –  without an amazing support system of family and friends.  As I’ve gotten busier and busier this year I’ve had less time to spend with many of my non-work friends – and I miss them!  So when I got the opportunity to try out a new payment system called Serve from American Express, and take out a bunch of my girlfriends, I jumped at the chance.

We are lucky to live in NYC where there are so many fab restaurants and we headed to Landmarc at the Time Warner Center, which not only does a great lunch but overlooks Columbus Circle and Central Park.

And did you know their bacon is so good even vegetarians are allowed to eat it?  True story.  It was great to pile into a big round booth, be together for a couple of hours swapping stories and catching up, and most of all taking time out during this crazy season to just hang out.

I can look around this table and see women who I have known – some for the last 7 years and others for just the last few – and feel grateful to have a group of women who I know I can rely on to grab my kids at pick-up if I’m late, be on my emergency blue card at school, have my back at contentious Parents Association meetings, and really just have a great time with complete with a lot of laughing and honest talk.  And to me that’s worth celebrating.

At the end of the meal everyone paid their share and then I paid them all back via Serve, right on my Android phone.  (They had all signed up for Serve accounts prior to the meal – see what I mean about being able to rely on them?)  And now they can either use their Serve card to shop and use the balance that way or move the money into their bank account.  Though knowing this group I think the shopping route is the more likely scenario.

And I am so excited that now I can pass on the same opportunity to one of my readers!

First: Remember to sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use.

WIN $100 FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS! Comment below within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account! Official sweepstakes rules and regulations may be found by clicking here. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

How to Enter: Leave a comment below describing your fave girls night or guys night out activity or location – just keep it clean, this is a parenting blog after all!  Contest ends at 11:59pm 12/27/11.

Wordless Wednesday – Truly Golden Girls

My grandma (with my daughter on lap) & Charlotte

This past week my grandmother lost her best friend of almost 75 years, Charlotte.  They met their first week of college and were fast friends ever since.  This is them at my grandmother’s 90th bday party just 3 1/2 years ago.  Charlotte was funny, loyal, an insanely tough and shrewd bridge player and an amazingly steadfast friend.

What’s In Your Friend’s Grocery Cart?

When I head to the grocery store I have a few lists – my mental list, my husband’s written down list of things he’s noticed we need, and lastly my subconscious list that gets triggered as I walk the aisles (or depending on how hungry and/or PMS I am the evil list that somehow throws the Mallomars into my cart).  My cart more or less always looks the same, filled with the basics that make up our family’s diet.  It never occurred to me that these items were unique, interesting or in any way different than anyone else’s.  But, a while back I went to Costco with a friend I don’t usually shop with and she looked in my cart and said, “Wow, we have totally different carts.  I would never buy any of that stuff.”  I looked in her cart and thought pretty much the same thing.

There we were – two very good friends, with fairly identical parenting approaches, the same political views, the same family backgrounds, even similar husbands and kids who adore each other, with two completely different grocery carts.  How different could they be?  Well, I’ve written before about my disdain for prepackaged, portioned snack food.  My friend is the queen of those items – it’s one of those short cuts that make her life easier so it makes sense for her.  She’s a big Vitamin Water drinker.  Me, not so much.  I am a vegetarian (though I eat fish so technically I’m a pescetarian).  So, my cart was full of clams and sardines for various pasta sauces, frozen wild salmon and shrimp and lobster salad.  Hers was full of chicken nuggets, canned pasta and soup.  We joke that my daughter is a fruititarian so I had enough fruit to open a farm stand.  She had applesauce and fruit snacks.  She likes one brand of turkey and yogurt; I like another.  Ditto for toilet paper, paper towels and bread.  I need dark chocolate and good balsamic vinegar in my pantry at all times.  She needs baby carrots and multi-grain chips and salsa.

The funniest thing about looking at our two different carts and cracking up is that the biggest, most obvious difference between us is that I cook almost every night and she doesn’t.  Her priority when shopping is to get the things for in between her children’s meals since a lot of nights they order in or go out and lunch is taken care of at school.  My priority is to fill up on staples and fill in on the fresh stuff so I don’t have to run to the market every day.  I’m looking at three meals a day, she’s usually only looking at one; and that’s breakfast.   But none of this had ever occurred to me until that day.

It’s a strange thing grocery shopping with a friend.  Unlike clothes shopping where you are helping each other out or asking opinions food shopping is very utilitarian and at the same time way more revealing.  So next time a girlfriend is going food shopping make it a date and I bet you’ll learn more about your friend and her family than you ever realized before.  (And if she’s one of those people who can buy bags of potato chips or giant boxes of Oreos and not eat them herself you may want to reconsider your friendship)

This post originally appeared on nycmomsblog

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