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Friday, November 22, 2013

Mrs. Lo's Annual Gratitude Blog

“Thanksgiving is an American holiday.  We celebrate it to give thanks to the Lord.  And also to remember how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims survive in America.  Also, we give thanks for all the good gifts that God gives us.”  This is a quote from my 9 year old’s essay, which he handed into class this week.  As Thanksgiving approaches, we all turn our attention to the concept of Gratitude.  I get a lot of emails and messages from people who read this page and my Blog, asking if my references to Gratitude are from "The Secret" or various other books or gurus.  The truth is, the phrase I always use,  “Count Your Blessings,” comes from my grandmother.  I can still hear her saying it, as if it were yesterday. Come to think of it, my grandmother could easily have been a guru if she had lived in this era.  Everything she said, from “Always walk on the sunny side of the street,” to “Eat your Greens” and “Take your fish oil” turns out to be the subject of a book or Master Class.
            Some modern day authors will tell you that by being in a constant state of Gratitude, you can attract wealth, health, and other wonderful things to you.  I do not believe that to be true.  Because I do not believe that people living in poverty or suffering from Disease got that way from lack of gratitude.  However, I do believe that Happiness is something that is learned, it is not a state you are born in.  I am a genuinely happy person, although I wasn’t always.  And I try to make sure my husband and children have a genuinely happy home.  And I try to do what I can to make my community a better place.
            I have so very much to be grateful for, and if you read my Blog regularly, you know that I send God regular thanks for my great blessings: a loving husband, who has been the love of my life for 18 years; two wonderful, generous, caring sons, and a large, tight knit loving family;  a beautiful home that I love very much and that I use to welcome family, friends, and teammates on a regular basis; a successful law firm that my husband and I own together; a wonderful community in the Newburgh Rowing Club and the city and town of Newburgh; my own health and the health of those around me; and this wonderful community of friends and readers, most of whom I have never met, on Facebook and through the Mrs. Lo Blog; among so many other Blessings that it really takes me all day, every day, to count. 
            And now I would like to give something back to one of my many loyal readers.  If you have read this far, and if you are an existing “fan” of the LoBiondo Page, and if you live in Orange, Ulster or Dutchess County, then write a comment on this Blog, as to what you are grateful for.  We will choose one random winner, who will receive a $100 Gift Card to the River Grill, courtesy of LoBiondo Law Offices, to be announced on Wednesday, November 27th.  Facebook rules do not allow contests to occur on facebook.  I realize people and businesses break this rule all the time, but as lawyers we are not going to do that.  No fanfare on this one, because I want this to go to someone who reads the page and the Blog regularly.  Post your Comment to the Blog between now and midnight on Monday, November 25th.   This really will be random, I am going to print the comments, put them in a hat, and let Michael pick one out.  I am supposed to say that Facebook does not endorse or in any way benefit from or maintain this “contest.”  Thank you for reading, good luck, and have fun.  Wishing a very happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, family, and friends; and, as always, remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo 

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Last Goldback: Football Season Finale

THE LAST GOLDBACK - Later today, Christian will play for the last time in the Goldbacks Youth Football League (“YFL”) uniform. So it’s my last time out as a Goldback YFL Mom. As I reflect back on the season, which started with training camp back in July, I can honestly say, it has been the absolute best experience we could ever have hoped for.

I think back to right before football, early Spring 2013, when Christian started rowing with the BDMS boys in their 4+. It was a beautiful, cold spring day, about 5:30 am, and the water was like glass. Those 5 skinny 12 yo boys were trying to carry their boat, which weighs about 180 - 200 pounds, down to the docks. Usually, Kyle Britton or someone else was around to help, but that particular morning, it was just two boats that were practicing and no one else was around. I could see Christian and another boy on his end struggling to carry it. I watched the bow go lower and lower. Holy Crud, they’re going to drop the boat! I had no choice but to throw my expensive camera in the dirt, sprint over, get in and pop the boat overhead. Probably the ultimate embarrassment, having your Mom have to help carry your boat. (Actually, blogging about it might be worse). Now, when Christian goes back for Spring Crew, you better believe my kid will be able to carry his end of the boat, and then some. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure he and the other DE could get that boat by themselves. For that, I have to thank the Goldbacks YFL program, and the sport of Football.

On the other hand, when Christian showed up for football training camp, and the kids had to do wind sprints up and down “The Hill,” Christian was the first one up and the first one down. For 2-plus years of rowing conditioning and wind sprints, I must say thank you, Coach Cunningham and the sport of Rowing.
Christian isn’t the only one to have made a Journey this season. To give you an idea of just how protective Mrs. Lo was, and concerned about her babies getting injured, we have to flashback to 2004. That is when I first took Christian to Bishop Dunn, at age 4, for his initial interview. I thought he was just perfect in every way. As you may have guessed, Mrs. Lo was a total “Baby Mozart Mom” back then, reading to my kids constantly, doing puzzles, drawing, painting, listening to classical music, teaching them foreign languages. I waited in the hallway for the teachers to come out and rave about my child. Imagine my surprise when they asked me how long Christian had been having trouble with his motor skills. What on earth do you mean, I asked?

“Well,” the interviewers said, “he uses scissors like they’re hedge clippers, he should have the fine motor skills to cut by now.” Scissors, I gasped! You gave my child scissors! Scissors, are dangerous, I said, he could HURT HIMSELF. I was appalled. So were the interviewers. However, they explained patiently, “actually, Mrs. LoBiondo, by age 4, kids can be trusted with Fiskar scissors to cut paper. You let him use a fork don’t you?” You could say I was protective. OK, go ahead, I’ll say it, I was overprotective. I never imagined football to be on his radar.
What can I say about injuries? Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. It started with the broken finger. We’ve been taping it every day since July. The bruised ribs. The trips to the ER and the pediatrician, daily ice, Epsom salts baths, playing with special Under Armour with rib protectors and special attachments to his pads with rib protection. The sprained hamstring, the taping, the limping. Nothing “major.” Although if you had told me all this was going to happen 9 years ago, I probably would have to be medicated for the last decade.
Then there is That Moment, for which nothing can prepare you. The only questions is: how are you going to handle it? The football parents know what I’m talking about. Every time the players all take a knee on the field, you can almost see hundreds of silent prayers going up from the Stands: “Oh please, Lord, not my baby, not my grandbaby, and prayers for whoever’s baby that is.” Then you look in your binoculars or, in my case, my 300x Zoom camera lens. That Moment when I looked through the Zoom and saw my son lying on the field, not getting up right away: the blood just seemed to drain out of my body. I felt faint. I felt white knuckled fear. Then came the shot of adrenaline. You bet your bonnet Mrs. Lo ran down, hopped that fence (it’s amazing what Mother’s Adrenaline can do), and was standing there when they helped Christian over to the players’ bench. I really startled the coaches, they weren’t expecting turn to around and see me there. “Mrs. Lo, he was just taking a rest,” said the Head Coach. He put a gentle hand on my shoulder, as he had probably done hundreds of times before and said kindly, “You go on back to the stands now, and enjoy the rest of the game. We’ve got this.”

I feel great about this game, this sport, this program. Christian has had a great season, and so have all his teammates. But it didn’t start out this way. Before the first Scrimmage, in late August, I felt like an outsider. I was so used to being an integral part of the Newburgh Rowing Club and the NFA Crew Team. Then I heard the coaches yelling at Christian in a way that made me burst into tears. No one had ever yelled at him like that before. On his very ornery-est day, Coach Kennedy sounds like the Flying Nun compared to the way Christian was getting yelled at. “You’re not doing your job, Junior!” “That one was one you and you missed it!” “Do you want to play football or not?” I ran to the parking lot to cry so I wouldn’t embarrass Christian. “What’s the matter, Miss?” said one of the coaches? You guys are so hard on Christian, I can’t take it, I bawled. The coach chortled. “Miss, we coaches love Christian, he’s doing a great job, that’s why he’s getting yelled at.” Huh? Am I in some parallel universe? “No, just remember,” said the kindly coach, “the day they stop yelling at your son is the day you need to worry.” Ohhhh.

So today at 4 pm is the Orange County Youth Football League D3 Superbowl game at Warwick High School. Newburgh is undefeated, and we are playing Marlboro, also undefeated. I would love to see Newburgh win it, so they can have an Undefeated season. It’s something to remember the rest of your life. Especially since, for my son, it’s the end of the road for the YFL program. Am I excited? Let me put it this way, the day Christian learned to use scissors, I started cheering like he had just won the Superbowl. Now he is in his program’s County Championship football game. No matter what happens, these boys are already champions, as far as I’m concerned. And while it’s the last Goldback YFL moment for us, it’s just the beginning of his Football Journey. Whether it’s high school football, flag football or just touch football in the park with friends, he will play again and thanks to this program, he will play well. And today, I am prouder than anything to say: my son plays football, my son plays for the Goldbacks YFL program, and I am a Goldback Mom. With tears of joy and gratitude, I say, loud and proud, GO GOLDBACKS!!! Have a great day, everyone  Mrs. Lo (One of my favorite pics of Christian, taken by Mrs. Thompson, edited by Mrs. Lo, a very happy moment at time, at the Subway’s dinner)

ADDENDUM:  The Goldbacks put up a mighty game, despite being outnumbered 2-1 on the Field.  They lost to the Iron Dukes 35-12.  The oldest kids and families all packed in to Mrs. Lo's house for  Homemade meatballs and camraderie afterwards.  A few days later, a followup Doctor visit and X-ray revealed Christian had been playing for the last several weeks with Fractured Ribs.  Asked if he wished he could have sat it out and not gotten fractured ribs, my son said:  "Sat it out?  No, if I could wish for one thing it would be a re-match."  #HeartofaChampion 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

For Veteran's Day: the Legend at 7-Seat, and WWII Veteran who is Still Rowing

This is a reprint of an article I did which was published in the Sentinel and the Hudson Valley Insider last year.  In the photo, Mr. McCormick is at 7-seat.  For non-rowers, that means is is second in from the right.  All the way to the right at stroke is Kingston's Head Coach, Scott Johnson.  One of my favorite pieces:

"Newburgh, NY - When NRC Programs Director Coach Ed Kennedy decided to name the Newburgh Rowing Club’s last crew shell meet of the year for one of his rowers who was killed in Iraq, he had no idea he would bring one of the adult rowers, a WWII Command Gunner on a B-29, back in time to the Battle of Iwo Jima, once again thanking the 6,981 U.S. Marines who gave their lives to clear the tiny island for the Air Force to create a U.S. stronghold.

Immediately prior to the NRC’s Legend of the 48 Regatta on October 21, Coach Kennedy had Luke Sendelbach, a rower for NRC, Boy Scout and Eagle Scout candidate, raise the U.S. Flag on the Cpl. Joseph Tremblay Memorial Flagpole, and Coach Kennedy called for a Moment of Silence for the 48 Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, who gave their lives during the Surge in Iraq in 2005, among them Cpl. Joseph Tremblay.  “Joey rowed for me at NFA and also the Rowing club from 7th to 12th grades,” said Coach Kennedy, “Mr. Scholl built this flagpole  for him and has a brass plaque dedicated to his memory.  But after his dad, Larry Tremblay, told me about the 48 Marines, I wanted to do something where they could all be remembered together, which is when we founded the Legend of the 48 Regatta.”

One of the adult rowers, who medaled in two races, was 87-year-old Richard McCormick, of Kingston, NY, who had been a rower for Syracuse University, attending on the GI Bill, and who had been an Air Force gunner commander during World War II.  “That flag raising ceremony and remembrance of the 48 Marines really meant a lot to me, because I am personally very grateful to the U.S. Marines who went into Iwo Jima and sacrificed themselves so that the U.S. Air Force could establish an Emergency Landing Field for B-29 Fighters and B-51 fighter escorts.”

“We (the U.S. Air Force) had tried to clear the tiny island of Iwo Jima but hadn’t been all that successful, so the U.S. Marines had to go in there on foot and clear it for us.  When I landed, there was still fighting going on, and  I saw the conditions that they had been through, it was nightmarish, how they had fought and died to preserve it for us.  You see, if we had lost Iwo Jima, that could have been very bad for the U.S.  The surf on the island was like roller bearings, you couldn’t stand, and the Marines had 65-lb. packs on their backs and were being shot at from enemies who were hidden well.  If the Marines fell, they would drown before they could be shot.  We, in the Air Force, always appreciated that the Marines gave their lives to clear Iwo Jima for us.  And to come down here and hear the Coach thank the 48 Marines of the same Battalion that was at Iwo Jima, was really moving.  Those boys, the Marines, really are the first in battle.”

McCormick flew 25 missions during World War II, including the very last air mission of World War II, from August 14 overnight to August 15, 1945.  “The target was just north of Tokyo,” said McCormick.  Over 500 B-29’s were in the air.  That night, when we landed, we were told the war was over.”  Asked how he felt, McCormick said, “Tired.  It was a 15-hour mission.  Then happy.”

McCormick was discharged in 1946, and went on to Syracuse University where he attended under the GI Bill.  He joined the Crew Team, and was at the very last Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship (the equivalent of Football’s BCS in the rowing world) to be held in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1949.  “I was on the J.V. Team at the time but we were the ‘Hope of the East.’  While we were all young as far as college rowers go, we were also all WWII combat veterans, so I guess you could say we were pretty tough.”

McCormick went on to coach varsity golf (1968 – 1988), swimming (1978-1988), football, and JV soccer for Kingston High School, retiring in 1988.  He has an extensive family and lives in Kingston, NY, where he is a member of the Roundout (Kingston) Rowing Club.  Rich McCormack rowed in two races during the Legend of the 48, the Men’s 8+ and the Men’s 4+, taking second place in both and, in the local rowing world, creating his own legend.

For more information on the Newburgh Rowing Club, contact Coach Ed Kennedy at (845) 541-2313 or Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo and'

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Restorative Powers of Hibernation

One of the most common questions I get is, “where do you get the energy?” and “where do you find the time?” For those new to Mrs. Lo’s Blog, my time commitments include being a wife, mother, lawyer, running a small business, being a Crew Mom and a Football Mom, and being the Team Mom for the Newburgh Rowing Club, which in and of itself is almost a full time job. The answer is quite simple: I rest. Every day. And then, come winter, I take my Big Rest: I hibernate. Yes, during the months of January and February, I pretty much am the equivalent of a bear in a cave, moving as little as possible.

According to Prevention Magazine, “Rest is a basic human need, like food and sleep and touch. And if we don't give it to ourselves willingly, our bodies find a way to get it anyway--like bingeing or collapsing. Rest is different from sleep. Rest is different from collapsing. Rest is taking a time-out before you collapse.” Rest will restore your energy, repair your body, calm your mind, and help with your concentration. And the cost to you: nothing monetary, you just have to allow yourself this "luxury."

I fully embrace the concept that Rest is a basic human need. Yet how many of us view Rest to be as important as say, food and hydration? We tend to push ourselves harder and further every day, to get in one more chore, one more errand, one more activity for our kids. In an era where it has become a race to see who can do more stuff in one day, I always remember my grandmother’s advice: “a girl needs her nightly beauty sleep, and also her daily beauty rest.”

In a perfect world, there would be someone telling you to Rest. Imagine if you walked through life with a Referee at your side. Your day might go something like this: (Cue that loud Referee's Whistle). What is it Ref, did I foul out? "Jane, you're out of here," the Ref would say. "You've been going all day and you need to rest. Look at you! Up at 5:45 am, doing laundry, making the lunches, taking the kids to school. Then off to the gym for your Boot Camp Workout, then a full day of work. You still have to get dinner on the table and take your kids to soccer, dance, and Basket Weaving Class too!" But Ref, Jane would protest, this is my life. "Too bad, they can eat frozen dinners tonight or you can cash in a car pool chip. Jane, you are out of here, go lie down on the couch for at least 30 minutes!" But alas, there is no built in Referee in our lives, we have to make the call and forces ourselves to Rest.

If you look at Rest as a necessity, and build it into your routine, I promise, you will find you have twice the energy. My favorite rest time is spent in Michael’s “Nest” (he basically covers our living room couch with his clothes, books, pajamas and toys so he never has to leave the couch. We don’t even call it a couch anymore. E.g.: “You lost your keys? Did you try looking in Michael’s Nest?”). He reads his Percy Jackson or other books, and I read a book or my decorating magazines. The “Big Boys” (Anthony and Christian) may or may not be watching sports but Michael and I tune it out and just Rest, snuggled under our Disney blanket. Sometimes we read the same book (he has good taste) together. Sometimes we take a nap. Sometimes we really get Jiggy with it and throw in some Lemonade or hot cocoa. It’s just as important as anything else I do all day.
You have to “allow” yourself to rest daily. Rest does not involve any type of electronics, computer, TV, or phone. That’s not restful. Resting could involve reading a book, writing in your journal, or just praying or meditating.

Then, there is my absolute favorite type of Rest: Hibernation. I used to loathe the changing of the seasons. I missed the sunshine so much and detested being plunged into Darkness. Now, I am delighted with the time change because it brings my favorite times: the Holidays, followed by The Hibernation. Throughout January and February, I do nothing other than the bare minimum required of me. For 10 months of the year, I run around with the kids’ sports, my job, and my community activities, like a chicken with my head cut off. But come January, I chill. I work and take care of my family, but I don’t do any fundraising and I generally get into my pajamas as soon as I get home. I do still row indoors and go to the gym. But my real focus is cooking and baking. Like a Pioneer Woman, I set food aside that will be needed in the Spring.

Crew Season (mid-March to beginning of June) is my crazy time. There is nothing like Spring Crew Season and being a Crew Mom, much less being the Team Mom. It is a physical and spiritual commitment like no other. Being able to go to the deep freezer downstairs and de-frost a tray of Lasagna made during the Hibernation months is a great feeling.

If you think you can’t rest because of your kids, then train your kids to Rest. One of Michael’s favorite activities is Meditation. After meditating one day, Michael said to me, “Mommy, is it possible to have everything you ever wanted?” That, my child, is not really a good thing, I told him, remembering the words of my grandmother: “It’s not good to have all your wishes come true,” she said. “You can’t value health, until you’ve been sick. You can’t value good, until you have experienced evil. And you will never know the value of Rest until you have experienced exhaustion.”

It works for both moms and dads!  So do yourselves a favor, and treat yourself to some daily Rest. And just maybe, you will be so renewed and recharged, you will join me this Winter in the The Hibernation. Have a great day, everyone, and Remember to Count Your Blessings! Mrs. Lo (Photo of Mr. Lo and Michael enjoying some R and R, August 2013)

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Three Amigos -- and the Lessons of Friendship

THE THREE AMIGOS OF NEWBURGH – this time last week, we, which is to say the LoBiondo Family and our rowing family, were on our way to Philadelphia. We were headed to the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (“HOSR”), the largest one day rowing regatta in the world, with over 6,000 competitors from 26 countries. We put in some novice crews and some more experienced crews, with varying results. This course is so long and so technically difficult, that it is frightening every time you see your kids’ boat go out of sight. Every time we go to Philadelphia to row, we may or may not come home with medals but we always come home significantly wiser. This trip was no exception.

Last Sunday was a chilly autumn day on the beautiful Schuylkill River but certainly not the worst weather we’ve seen. At HOSR 2011, we encountered the tail end of the freak Halloween snowstorm. It was so cold, Christian was in both a coxysuit (the equivalent of a thermal ski suit) and had a full ski mask on. He looked like a tiny Alpine bank robber. When we went to Philly in Summer of 2012 for the Independence Day Regatta, it was well over 100 degrees with no shade. By the end of the 10-hour day, I was so hot, I laid down in a pile of dirt, thinking that it might cool me down. It did not, but I was too exhausted and dehydrated to care.

Our Philly weekend started out on Friday night. Soup and Kelvin went to practice at the Newburgh Rowing Club, then slept over at LoBiondoFork, so we could get an early start. We met up with Kayla at the Boathouse, went out to Goshen to be on YNN TV, then came back to get the rest of the gang and make the trek to Philly. Mr. Lo drove, with me in the passenger seat, our two kids, Christian and Michael, and our rowing kids, Soup, Kelvin, and Kayla distributed around the gear in the Crew Mom mobile. The seven were pretty weary by the time we checked into the Team Hotel. But we perked right up when it was time for dinner. We headed out for Philly cheesesteaks (yes, they are as good as they say), some Halloween parade fun, and frozen yogurt. Hashtag Goodtimes.

Then it was time to hit the hay. Soup, Kelvin and Christian (The Three Amigos) had the room next door to us. There were over 20 rowers and their families at the hotel and the kids were mostly hanging out, shooting the breeze, in the Three Amigos’ Room. I kept going next door to shoo everyone out and get everyone to go to sleep. Kelvin had the earliest race, his first dock check in was at 7:20 am. He was in a Rec Single. Soup was racing at 11:30 am. Christian thought he was going to cheer on his friends, but when it turned out one of the rowers in the 8+ was injured, the coaches tapped him to row, but he didn’t know that then. The boys were just in their glory, enjoying each other’s company and the magnificent view. Although it was a very inexpensive room, somehow there were floor to ceiling windows with a killer view of the Philadelphia skyline.

Finally, it was time to get serious. All right, guys, I said, this is the last time Mrs. Lo is coming in here. The next time you get a knock on the door, it’s going to be from Big Coach. Complete Silence. OK then, I’m taking Kelvin over at 6:30 am, you guys don’t have to be there until 7:30 am, so do you want to ride over with someone else?

They looked at me, dumbfounded. “No, no, Miss L, get me up too, I want to put Kelvin’s boat in for him,” said Soup. I looked at Christian: this is your bye week from football, are you sure you don’t want to sleep in? “No way, Mom, I didn’t come here to sleep, I want to check over Kelvin and Soup’s boats for them.” As an experienced coxswain, Christian has the ability to check over all the boats and determine if they’re properly rigged and whether the foot stretchers are ideally positioned, that type of thing. This is something he wanted to do for his friends.

The next morning, Race Day, sure enough, I knocked on the door at 5:45 am, they all got up, and they were all downstairs and ready to go at 6:30 am. So was Kayla. As I drove them over to the Regatta, I looked around at them. I remembered the first time I met Soup and Kelvin, when they became part of the first class of Student Ambassadors in Fall of 2010. Johnny Kennedy was showing them how to use an ergometer. Now look at them, rowing in the same Regatta that Olympians were going to participate in.

The boys got Kelvin’s rec single in the water and I waited nervously in the cold for him to come down the course. What if 5 miles in a single is too much for him? What if he’s too cold to row? What is his hands freeze up? What if, what if? When I saw him coming down the course, I went crazy screaming his name. Rowers will tell you, they can’t hear what their parents are screaming at them from shore, it’s just too far away, they just hear a general din. But Kelvin heard me loud and clear, and looked up at me. Then I sprinted. While you can’t outrun a crew shell, in this case I could cut him off at the pass. I could hear in my head the hundreds of times Kelvin and Tito and Soup and Fiscal and Big L said, “I got you Miss L,” meaning they would carry my boat or my oars or my groceries or even Michael for me. I saw Kelvin’s baby face from when he was in 6th grade with the chubby cheeks. I remembered Big Coach teaching him to swim. I remember the first time he and Soup rowed at Kingston, they kept banging into the docks trying to get out. Now look at him, heading toward the Finish line at Head of the Schuylkill. All the things we had all been through together. All the practices, the meets, the barbecues at my house. All the nay-sayers. And then the tears started streaming down my face.

When they announced that Kelvin had taken the Bronze Medal, I really started bawling. I wanted to get him onto the Winner’s Podium to accept his medal but he wouldn’t budge. “It’s OK, Miss L, I don’t care about the medal, I want to get Dajour’s boat in the water.” And once Soup’s Mixed Double was in, Kelvin still wouldn’t move until Soup’s boat was back in. That’s a very long process. I knew we had a good hour or more, they make them row up to the start and then wait, before they come down. I told Kelvin I would go and get his medal. So I did. He took it and he zipped it into my jacket pocket. “Here, Miss L, this is for you.” I fought back the tears. “Oh no, Kelvin, this is for you,” I said, and I put it around his neck.

Then Christian, who had just rowed 5 miles despite not having been in a boat since July, sauntered by. “Oh hey, I’ll take that,” he said. Christian loves his hardware. Kelvin let Christian wear his Bronze Medal for the rest of the day. Then the three of them were off, to the food tent, the medals podium, the Under Armour tent, to socialize with other rowers. They were like kids in a candy store, all the while good naturedly ribbing each other the way only those 3 can.

I know everybody thinks I’ve done so much for the Student Ambassadors and in a sense, I have. But what they have given back to me and to my family, is immeasurable and intangible. Michael speaks Spanish with a Newburgh accent and his favorite restaurant is Los Portales. Christian has a rangy self confidence amongst other kids from the City of Newburgh, including his fellow football players, that comes from being one of the Three Amigos. He also has the drive of a kid who wakes up on Liberty Street every morning, looks out the window and says to himself, “education is my ticket out of here.” Seriously, my kid is driven the way that other kids of lawyers are not. We do not push him at all. We don’t need to, he pushes himself to the brink with academics and sports all by himself. His role models are kids who got themselves full scholarships to elite private boarding schools and high schools and who excel at rowing, football, and soccer. My kid’s inspiration, his role models, are Student Ambassadors.

I just finished writing the Grant application to the HRIF for this year’s Student Ambassador program. I posted a picture of the box containing it on facebook, it contains 700 pages and weighs 10 lbs. I’m praying we get the Grant so I can keep this program going. I asked the Student Ambassadors to write essays in support. I could sit and read their handwritten essays all day. Every single one of them says the same thing, in one form or another: Crew is my family, and the Boathouse is my second home. And really, I couldn’t have said it any better. You guys are our family too.

Have a great day, everyone, and Remember to Count Your Blessings!  Mrs. Lo
 — with Kelvin Vidals and 3 others atThomas Eakins Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.