Google+ Badge

Saturday, May 24, 2014

THE JOYS OF A LOW MAINTENANCE CHILD

I don’t know when my kids became low-maintenance.  Children start out, by nature, high maintenance.

Parents, can you even remember that first night you took your precious newborn home from the hospital?  Let’s face it, no matter how many times you read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” we did NOT expect what followed.  We had gone through life so well rested, sleeping 6 – 8 hours per night.  And just like that, BAM, you are a deliriously-happy-sleep-deprived-kinda-punchy new parent.  Of course, the joy of that sweet new baby is all worth it.
            Then there was the dilemma of how to take a shower.  Think about it, parents of teenagers, there was a time when we had to put toys in the bathroom with our baby so we could take a shower.
            Let’s not forget how we needed a diaper bag, car seat, 8 changes of clothing, blankets, toys, wipes, individual packs of food (preferably organic so those Cold Spring Moms didn’t roll their eyes at us again), DVD player, and everything but the kitchen sink, just to go to the park for 2 hours.  Because Lord knows, your kid couldn’t just play in the backyard, you had to meet all those moms in the park to socialize your child.
            Then the second child was born, and for some people a third, fourth, or more.  And we learned to tamp that whole scene down a little bit for each new addition.  Until, as the parent of four kids once said to me, of their youngest, “Alex is basically raising himself at this point.”
            That was all so long ago.  Christian, my oldest, is now finishing up 8th grade and Michael, my youngest, is finishing up 4th grade.  They have had two totally different parenting experiences.  For one thing, when Christian was in 3rd,  4th and 5th grade, I was sitting down monitoring and reviewing his homework like white on rice.  I never look at his homework now.  At most, he will ask us to help him study for midterms and finals but he does his homework, studies for tests, and budgets his time between academics and sports.  His current sport is AAU basketball, and as of the time this is published, he will be up in Saratoga with Mr. Lo for a basketball tournament.  And Michael and I will have lots of quality time together:  except that I will be spending all weekend working on the Corsairs Cup,  a huge endeavor that our Committee works on for a full year, yes, a year.  Michael’s quality time will involve tagging auction items, organizing food for 100,  and putting together a glossy Dinner Journal.
            I don’t want to say I never helped Michael with his homework but truth be told, I almost never help him.  If he asks for help, of course, we are there.  Mostly, he needs me to type things for him, or assist with long-term projects.  But, the 3-4 hours per night I used to spend with Christian during this grade (same material, same teacher) are gone.  Common Core?  I have no clue what it is.  My kids manage to do their homework and do it well without me messing it up for them.
            There is no way I could put the time into my charities and not-for-profits, and drive them to their sports activities if I had to babysit my kids as they do their homework.  They needed to learn to budget their time themselves and work independently.  We are all much happier this way.  I can’t really say I miss the hours I used to spend helping Christian with his 4th  grade homework because it was not quality time.  It was a grind.  And I am now freed up to do things like write press releases, manage the Newburgh Rowing Club behind the scenes and plan fundraisers, including my newest endeavor, the “Touchdown Club,” or the Don Bosco Prep Football Booster Club.
            In an ideal rendering of this family yarn, I would have re-invested my time into my children by reading Shakespeare with them, teaching them a foreign language, or taking up Impressionist painting with them.  Alas, that’s not that case, I didn’t use the “extra hours” in my day to enrich my kids.  Nor did I make the house any cleaner, get the laundry done any quicker, or decorate the house or garden.  I am pursuing things I love, and am therefore a Happier Mommy.  I am free now to use my time for recreational rowing, cooking, community service, writing and photography, and fundraising.  And I am indulging in the ultimate luxury:  reading.  Yes, I read books -- not law books or kids’ textbooks -- real books that I actually enjoy.
             So are my kids practically raising themselves?  Well, just the other day, Michael handed me a list he had written in pencil.
            “What’s this?”  I said.
            “That’s your To Do list,” said Michael.  “Tomorrow, you need to hand in my Race For Education money, fill out my Class pictures form and don’t forget tomorrow is Staff payroll.”
            Jiminy Christmas, why don’t I just make my 10-year-old my office manager?  Feeling like I wasn’t spending enough quality time with my youngest, I said, “Michael, is there anything you’d like to do with Mommy, maybe after school tomorrow?”
            “Well,” said Michael, “we have rowing tomorrow,” – side note – Michael and I both go to recreational rowing Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Newburgh Rowing Club – “and if I were you, I would work on squaring up my blade a little better.”
            Yup, he’s practically raising himself.  But there are definitely worse things in life.  Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to settle into my comfy chair with my newest library book.  You can hashtag this one #LifeIsGood.

            Have a great day, everyone and, as always, Remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo (The Boys in 2004)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

MY MOMMY’S NOT A TERRORIST, SHE JUST HAS HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Last weekend, the LoBiondo Family took our 2 boys and 5 other rowers down to Baltimore for the America Rows Mid Atlantic Regional Regatta, then on to D.C. for a tour.  It was an epic visit, wherein we learned the following:  9 people in a Team Mom-Mobile is a lot, even with the third row; not having to trailer boats is awesome; people in Baltimore are super nice; Coach Jackie and Mrs. Lo are OK being the only girls; the Metro in D.C. is confusing; Real (young) men will wear hotel towels on their heads; and do not EVER try to bring a quart sized bag of flax seed into the U.S. Congress.   

            Mr. Lo and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on Friday, May 2d, during which time we also celebrated Christian’s Confirmation.  The only way the rowers could go to this Regatta would be for the LoBiondo Law firm to provide the Grant money.  Which we did.  To pay for the hotels for the rowers, the food, the gas.  But these kids are like family to us.  We had the rowers sleep over our house afterward so that we could wake up early Saturday morning and hit the road.  We had one other parent driving down, but she kind of lost Chico and then kind of ditched us in D.C., which is why we had six kids in the car on the way down and 7 on the way back.  Fortunately, I had been telling the boys for months to pack light.  Meaning everything had to fit in a drawstring bag which would go on their laps. 
            We had a great time touring Baltimore on Saturday, then the kids hit the hotel pool.  Literally.  The poor lifeguard had been peacefully enjoying Reader’s Digest but after we left she looked like she could use a stiff drink.  The boys were going from the pool to the hot tub and back in classic, OMG-This-Hotel-Has-A-Pool style.  Afterward, they all wrapped towels on their heads like they were at a beauty salon and even let me take a picture of them.
            We have all been a crew for a while and we have Regattas down to a science.  The 4+ boat was Kelvin, Richard, Soup and Christian, with Michael at coxswain.  These were my original Student Ambassadors, plus young Anthony as our team manager.  Young Anthony had never been out of Newburgh and everything we did, from going in paddleboats to getting gelato to riding the Metro was uber-exciting to him.
It was the best Regatta ever, bar none.  Now, it’s one thing for me to say that, but that is exactly what our Head Coach, Coach Cunningham, said to the Baltimore Regatta Master.  And Coach Cunningham has seen a lot of regattas.  It was an absolutely magical day.  It was an America Rows Regatta, meaning inclusion was the theme, whether including brand new starter clubs, or programs like ours which focused on diversity.  For one thing, we didn’t have to trailer any boats down, Baltimore let us borrow their boats:  a Filippi and a Vespoli M2.  Very nice boats.  And we didn’t have to pack a tent or food, Baltimore fed us.  There was no yelling, no arguing.  People smiled, they said HELLO to each other, cheered the other teams on, and we made quite a few friends.  I don’t know if it’s because we were (sort of) in the South or what it was, but it was so nice and easy, the coaches and I were slightly confused.
            Baltimore shortened the race course due to expected high winds, so it went from a 1750 meter sprint to a 1350 meter sprint.  Kelvin and Chico went first, their 2x took Second Place.  Someone from another team patted me on the back to congratulate me.  Being a hybrid New Yorker/ Newburghian, the first thing I did was check to see if I had been pickpocketed.  I had not.
            Then the 4+ came down.  Kelvin had to row again.  Christian had been playing basketball and football and hadn’t rowed in a Regatta since October of 2013.  Little Michael had a steady hand on the rudder.  All the parents on the dock at the finish wanted their kids’ boat to win but it was a very collegiate feeling.  It wasn’t the usual tension, I knew I would cheer on whoever was coming across the finish line.  All the coaches were instructing their rowers to sprint at the bridge, which was the 200 meter mark, that one wasn’t rocket science.  Three boats were all in exactly the same position at the bridge.  The other boats were much further behind.  Then the Baltimore boat just turned on the gas and broke away for the easy win.  It was Newburgh and The Other Boat.  I thought I could hear Michael calling the Power Ten (where they row harder for ten strokes) and then another Power Ten.  And they just powered past The Other Boat, which put in a mighty effort.  But Newburgh got a good 5 or 6 boat lengths ahead of them and sailed through the orange finish line then spun around to row back to the start, with Christian pumping his fist in Sheer Joy.  Then Baltimore not only fed us, they gave us all their leftover food.
            We drove straight to D.C. and proceeded to nap.  Well, the grownups napped, while the kids – you guessed it – hit the pool.  Touring our nation’s capital the next day was a truly awe-inspiring experience.  Only Christian had previously visited, on a class trip, but his class did not tour Capitol Hill.  Congressman Maloney got us special tour passes, access to the House and Senate, and we visited his office in Congress.  But not before Mrs. Lo got stopped by security.
            I had been very careful to take all my tools out of my bag before going to Congress.  (Crew moms travel with 7/16 wrenches and sockets, especially if your son is a coxswain).  But I hadn’t removed everything that looked suspicious.  “And what is THIS?” said the security person, as she searched my Disney bag.  She was holding up a Ziploc bag full of flax seeds.  I carry them around to sprinkle on our food and lower my cholesterol.  I don’t know what people are into these days or what the guard thought it was.  But the whole crowd stopped and looked over at me.  We were momentarily stunned.  It was our coxswain who spoke up first.  “It’s flax seed!,” said Little Michael.  “My mommy’s not a terrorist, she just has high cholesterol!”  At which even the security guard laughed.  “It’s high in anti-oxidants too,” offered another security guard.  They all had a good chuckle and let us through.  And she even gave back my flax seeds.
            Glad to be back in Newburgh.  The River may be rough, our boats may be beaters, and Big Coach might Yell when he could just as easily talk quietly, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.  Have a great day, everyone and, as always, Remember to Count Your Blessings!  <3  Mrs. Lo  -- for more of the Mrs. Lo Blog, visit:

www.LoBiondoPage.Blogspot.com

Thursday, May 8, 2014

WIN a $50 Gift Card to Water's Edge Salon and Spa for Mother's Day! From your Friends at LoBiondo Law Offices

#CONTEST: WIN A $50 GIFT CARD TO WATER'S EDGE SALON AND SPA TODAY ONLY, courtesy of LoBiondo Law Offices, 275 North Street, Newburgh (845) 569-7600! The Mrs. Lo's Reader Rewards Contest, Mother's Day Edition is back! LoBiondo Law has given away over $2,100.00 in prizes just because I love my readers! Open to existing fans of the LoBiondo Page Facebook page ONLY. To win, comment below as to why the Mom in your life (you, your mom, your wife, etc.) should win the gift card. The comment with the most LIKES by midnight tonight, May 8th, wins. Gift card can be picked up at Water's Edge Salon and Spa after 9 am Saturday May 10th. Winner must a photo holding the gift card at Waters Edge which will be posted to the LoBiondo Page on Mother's Day. Winner will be announced on Friday, May 9th. Good luck and have fun!  Mrs. Lo -- P.S., Facebook requires me to say the following: "Each participant completely releases LoBiondo Page and Facebook from any harm or liability: Each participant acknowledges that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook." www.Facebook.com/LoBiondoLaw