My Sister’s Story; Dirty Dishes and a Happy Home

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This past week I enjoyed scrolling through posts of friends and their siblings. It was National Sibling Day and people could not wait to dish out the embarrassing photos of their childhoods. Quite entertaining as my generation from the 80’s has to deal with the early 90’s photos. (Rant: At least if you grew up in the 80’s you knew it was BAD fashion…but what is the 90’s even? It’s like the 80’s bad aftertaste, nothing to call it…just 80’s leftovers.)

Anyway, it seems like every day is now is a “Day” of something mundane; “Its National Scissor Day!” or “Brownie Day”… don’t forget to wear your hair up for “Ponytail Day.

 But this "Day"…I enjoyed this day as it reminded me of my Sister.

Within two years my sister Rachel and her husband Mark had 4 children in their home. Imagine going from 0 to 4 within 2 years! I know what you are thinking, either they had 2 sets of twins, adopted or she defies the laws of pregnancy. Well, it just so happens that my sister has a rare physical case in which she only carries babies for 4 months to term… just kidding.  They adopted. But their story is just as miraculous.

Mark and Rachel felt called to become Foster Parents. They quickly fell in love with a boy who came from an abusive home and was separated from his siblings. As court cases were continuing to draw out, they received a call from the agency that a preemie little girl was left abandoned in the hospital. They rushed over with baby doll size clothing and took her home.

They were granted adoption for their son and as it turns out, while they awaited adoption for the second baby girl another call came in. Not from the Agency but a Doctor… confirming that Rachel was pregnant. They were shocked. Rachel immediately felt panicked. Not only did she now have a 5 year old son and a1 year old daughter (within the year) but she also worried about how she would balance the needs of her children equally when they come from such different backgrounds. She would never want any of her children to feel less or more valued than the other.

She became more comfortable with her new-faced reality and began getting excited for her new addition.

Then another call came.

This was surprising as they removed their name from the Foster Care Agency as they clearly had their hands full. It turns out; it was another baby girl, left in the same way at the hospital by the same drug addicted mother. Rachel was the only family she would have had. It was our little girl’s sister. We all tried to convince Rachel to let someone else take the burden. After all, she was 8 months pregnant at the time…how could she possibly care for 2 new babies, a year and half old, AND an older son who needed a lot of interaction as well. Surely someone else could take her.

No.  Mark and Rachel walked (waddled) to the hospital and picked up their new little addition. She was perfect.

A month later they had a little boy, 30 days younger than the baby girl they brought home.

I was an Aunt of 4 in 2 years. I got to stay with them…live with them for months and help raise my nieces and nephews. Although at most times the dishes were piled high and the laundry sat on the floor, those babies were always in someones arms getting the real attention needed. I learned more about life in those short months watching my sister raise those children than I did in the all years of living on my own in LA. See it’s in the daily priorities that time gets lost for those who truly matter. 

 

So sibling day. I like that day. I like it every day. 

    

                      The Gang and I                                                  The "Twins" 

 

                                 Our Sibling Photo

 

$1,199.99 for an Elsa Dress. Whaaaa?!

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I could introduce my Sister and her family as the unbelievable story that they are; Foster Parents who adopted 3 children and had one surprise of their own, a Mother of the Year contender… the list goes on. But I’m not going to. I’m going to talk about her recent experience with “The Elsa Dress”.

As I’m sure many of you are already aware… the Elsa dress from Frozen is nowhere to be found. Oh, wait I take that back. You can find it. On EBay. You can easily purchase this sold out dress for $1199.99. What?!

What happened to wearing our Grandmothers wedding dresses around the house pinned from seam to seam?  What happened to wrapping a towel around our neck and flying off the couch because clearly we had super powers! At what point have we as parents let the guilt of comparing other children’s gifts to our own, drive us to desperate measures and empty wallets! I mean this money could be in a college fund. If money isn’t an issue for your child, than at least for a child in need!

Well, I’m proud to say my sister took a trip on over to Joanne Fabrics. She bought 3 yards of purple velvet for a total of $18.00 and strapped a hook and eye to the front. Voila; a cape! Do you think for one second my niece cared? In her mind she WAS Elsa. She didn’t take it off for days.

$1199.99… pshhhh. Please. Priorities people. Let your child use their imagination! Don't stress about being the perfect parent that gets her everything she wants! As Elsa has ingrained in ALL of our minds repeatedly, just...“Let it go”.  

Children's Chairs and Cigarettes

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So I was at one of my favorite places on Earth; Homegoods. Ah, the sweet smell of unwanted department store leftovers, it’s better than warm bread. I get so excited walking into a Homegoods that I usually have to leave my cart and happy pee dance all the way to the back corner of the store. And while I’m on the subject, WHY do places put their restrooms in the furthest corner of the store?! Do they really think I am going to stop mid bathroom run and inspect that bicycle in the aisle? “Well babe, I peed my pants because I just had to take a deeper gander at that bike!”

ANYWHO, Homegoods.

As I continue my excited digging through their semi-organized but still-messy shelves I pass the children section. I always have to take a peek because they have the BEST children’s gifts and craft toys. It literally keeps them occupied for hours, this stuff! “Make your own princess mirrors” filled with glue and beads and paint, and “Star Wars; build a volcano kit” that comes with Legos and Star Wars figures. Strange combinations have you, but right up a kids ally. So you are welcome for that.

As I continue looking around I see an adorable children’s chair. It’s striped and it even reclines! It’s just the right size for a little ones bum (or Mary-Kate Olsen’s). It even has a DRINK HOLDER?! I’m thinking, ‘How cute is… wait what?!’

There. In the dink holder, a warning sign. It reads, “Not an ashtray.”

I don’t even need to go on. But I will. 

WHAT?! Not only is it hilarious that there would even BE an ashtray in a child’s chair, but that they would have to warn you that it isn’t one! Hahaha! That would be like creating a warning on children’s cups “not for alcoholic consumption.” But even THAT makes more sense because an adult could use that cup for a drink. There is no way an adult could even SIT in this chair, let alone comfortably smoke in it! Unless of course while their child is watching Yo Gabba Gabba in their adorable chair, a parent would walk by smoking and decide to flick his ashes in his sons chair.

Seriously…that’s the only plausible explanation I’ve got. I mean, yes we’ve all seen pictures of the toddlers in Indonesia who smoke, but the odds of their parents purchasing them a Homegoods $80.00 lounge chair seems pretty remote.

But again, just speculating here.   

 

-Lydia Andrews for Right Bank Babies

Banning “Bossy”- Leadership vs. Labels for our Young Girls

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As I watch my niece play with her brothers, I am amazed by the amount of charge she takes in matters. Katie is 5 years old and knows what she wants, when she wants it and how to get it. As I watch her take control of the game I think, “Katie stop being so bossy with them.”

But why?

Why is that the first thought I jump to when watching this intelligent, strong, leader of a little girl. I’m afraid it’s because that is the label our society has given young girls when they tend to have that leadership quality, myself included. I remember being called “loud”, “bossy” and “stubborn” as long as I can remember. I like to lead. I like to create. That doesn’t mean step on everyone in the process, but to encourage and refine that gift could be beneficial to our society, rather than ridiculed and labeled as undesirable.

Right now there is a huge campaign that many well know celebrities are involved with called ‘Ban Bossy’. (banbossy.com) Stars such as Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice, Diane von Furstenberg, and others have teamed up to support our young woman of tomorrow. "We need to recognize the many ways we systematically discourage leadership in girls from a young age – and instead, we need to encourage them," says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

It’s something to think about, I know for myself as well. I never want to make a little girl feel the way I did when I was younger. Luckily I had parents who understood and appreciated my strengths, but not all of society is that encouraging.

We can leave it with one of my most favorite powerful woman, Beyoncé who declares, "I'm not bossy – I'm the boss.”

Watch the Lifetime PSA here http://youtu.be/6dynbzMlCcw