Entries Tagged 'Causes' ↓

World Pneumonia Day: Considering Access

Did you know that the number one killer of children under 5 is Pneumonia? I was thinking about that the other night as I stared at my son in bed in his dark room. He was coughing. A lot. Loud and hard and he could not settle down. He had a fever, too.

Of course, I had flashbacks to 6 months earlier when his lungs sent him to the hospital for 5 days. That wasn’t pneumonia. But it was the flu and it started with just a cough and then a fever, too.

So I stared at him and fed him sips of water and wondered what I should do. Of course, I called the pediatrician 5 minutes before they opened the next morning and kept redialing until someone answered. By lunchtime, we were back from the pediatrician and he had finally settled down with three types of meds (one being antibiotics), a nebulizer and a very effective prescribed combo of lemon, honey and tea. It worked miracles. I knew his respiratory infection could have evolved into something worse, but it hadn’t because we had access to immediate medical care.

We have access.

Yesterday, I sat in on a conference call about World Pneumonia Day. Today is World Pneumonia day, in fact. On the phone were Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ senior health and medical editor, as well as Dr. Orin Levine, with the International Vaccine Access Center. A number of bloggers were on the call and, for an hour, we discussed the dangers of pneumonia in our country and worldwide.

Here’s the thing. Whether you live in a small village in India or whether you live in a comfortable home in the Tampa suburbs, pneumonia can happen to your children. In fact, a child dies from pneumonia every 20 seconds. The doctors on the call agreed that many are surprised that it is the number one killer of children under five. It certainly doesn’t get the recognition that other conditions do. But maybe that’s because it isn’t a huge first world health priority. For every child who dies from pneumonia in the industrialized world, 2,000 more die in developing countries. Why? Children there don’t have access to care and antibiotics.

We have access.

One doctor talked about the work children with pneumonia do just to breathe. He recalled a time in Africa when he held a nine month old baby in his arms who struggled and struggled to catch her breathe but could not. She died minutes later. What could have saved her? Knowledge about respiratory distress and simple antibiotics. Both Dr. Besser and Dr. Levine are working to increase access in these countries. Anyone can be trained to recognize the signs of respiratory distress. And antibiotics are extremely inexpensive to distribute. As dangerous as pneumonia is, it is also one of the most solvable deadly conditions we’re faced with.

I walked away from the conversation far more educated about the extent of this disease. I also sat down and appreciated just what my children have. Their risk of dying from pneumonia is far lower thanks to a pediatrician 10 minutes from my home, $5 antibiotics and basic knowledge about respiratory infections. We have that. So many do not.

Follow Prevent Pneumonia on Facebook. Take a moment to watch this quick video about World Pneumonia Day. Consider what you have. Consider what others do not. Learn what you can do here.


My Husband’s Movember Strip Show

My prayers have been answered and I have a college admissions program to thank for it. It turns out that my husband had to work a college Open House this weekend where he would be meeting prospective students and parents. He knew he should look “professional” so that meant a button down, ironed pants and… no more facial hair.

Glory, glory, thank you heavens and praise be the razor!!!

*doing the running man in my living room*

Ha! Move over Movember, my husband’s face is swoon-worthy once again!

But to keep it interesting, my husband did not shave the entire monstrosity off at once. Oh no. He took it off one piece at a time which resulted in a  number of mustache progressions. Naturally, I took pictures to share with you here. Get ready, folks. My husband is taking it ALL off for you, for me, for everyone to see….

The "Lawrence" from Office Space, 11 days old.

The traditional "Handlebar."

The "Tom Selleck."

The "Pencil-Thin" -- disturbing, ew.

The man I married. Shweet, shweel...

And before anyone says he bailed out too early, RECOGNIZE the fact that his facial growth FAR outdid anyone else’s we’ve seen. In fact, parents of recruits who had been to other campuses noted that his was the best, the fullest, the most outrageous they had seen — even on day 11. So. He did his part. And we can still do ours and donate to the cause. Because this insanity earned it, don’t you think?


Mustache Madness: Top Tips for Surviving Movember

Call me unsupportive and selfless, I don’t care. I am struggling — to put it mildly — with my husband’s most recent charitable act. You see, he’s a college Lacrosse coach and his team has put together a fundraising team to raise money for a charity. But here’s the catch. They are joining men nationwide this “Movember” by growing mustaches for their particular charity.


Now let’s talk about me. Forget the charity and the good and the bonding that this facial hair frenzy offers the world. I don’t really care. I care about what I see when I roll over in bed in the morning. And what I see is this.

And this is only day ONE, people! But, of course, the way my brain processes a mustache of this caliber on my husband means that I see this guy instead.

THIS guy has replaced my husband. Someone hold me. I can’t bear it. I can’t possibly get too friendly with that. Not up in that grill. I just CAN’T.

And please don’t take it the wrong way if your partner has a mustache and you love it. That’s fantastic. I mean no offense. I think they look fine on some guys. But I just don’t like them on MY partner. Who is an outstanding and handsome individual. Swoon-worthy, really. So it’s not anyone else and their staches… it’s just my husband’s and what he is doing to that fantastic face…

Fine I’m a total mustache bigot. FINE. I can’t put aside my distaste even for cancer-fighting goodness. Yep, this liberal has found a charity she can’t whole-heartedly back because her husband’s mustache turns her stomach. Write your disdain, show your disappointment, how DARE I.

…Is there any sympathy out there? Any at all?


So, in case there are any people out there suffering through Movemeber with me, I have a few tips. They aren’t a perfect fix but they will work when you have no other options.

    1. Avoid eye contact with it. Hopefully your memory of your partner’s stache-less face is still intact.
    2. Keep clean-shaven pictures around. That will help keep the stache-less memory alive.
    3. Hold your finger under his nose when you get close. Like he’s going to sneeze but you’re stopping it. How nice of you!
    4. Give him a lot of back massages.
    5. Read a book and when you talk to him, hold it in front of you so that all you see are his eyes. Such nice eyes, aren’t they?
    6. Turn off the lights. It’s good for the environment!
    7. Don’t put those Halloween costumes away just yet! Get out the masks! Fun!
    8. Tell him you’re into wild west bandits that are about to rob a bank and a kerchief around his face is so super hot.
    9. Take off your glasses. This trick works best for legally blind folk like myself.
    10. Grow your own. Just saying. Eye for an eye.


Four days later, and now THIS. This is what I wake up to. After only four days. Speechless.

The Trendiest Shedding and Pooping Give-away Ever

You’ve been searching high and low for the perfect gift. I know you have. Malls, miracle miles, cutesy shops and mega chain stores. Where is the perfect thing I can get my so and so. It’s not easy. It’s infuriating at times. It’s exhausting.

People. You’ve been doing it all wrong.

You’ve been looking to give things. Things! Plastic things and metal things and wind up things and things you throw away and things you pour water on and suddenly cha-cha-cha-CHIA, it’s the pottery that grows!

You have been sighing wistfully at those car commercials – you know, the ones where a car with a red bow is somehow parked in a person’s living room. Oh! What joy!

Things. Things are not the answer. THINGS won’t tell someone how much you really adore their eyebrow wax job and that certain way they eat their Reese’s peanut butter cups by gnawing the edges first.

That is too special.

You need to give something this year that is REAL. Real, people. Something that breaths. And walks. And bahs. And poops. Something that will forever anchor their trust and faith in you as a person, as a socialite, as a humanitarian and as a true super awesome giver person .

For reals.

So forget the car. SUCH a dumb idea. It’s time to tie a big old red ribbon around the most thoughtful, trend-setting, fashion forward gift you could possibly give this year. Ever.

A goat.

Yep, I said a goat.


*chews grass*

And not ONLY is a goat a real thing that walks and bahs and poops and would totally impress your kids and freak out your dog BUT according to The Hildago, goats are so crazy hot right now – especially with rock-star extensions. Totally fashion forward. From runway to backyard, a goat would put you on the trend-setting edge of it all. Don’t believe me? Oh but you totally will when you click here…

As Minnie Driver said here, “The Hildago saw it coming. Probably the only one that did.”

Ok, so what is the deal with the goat, really?

I am so very lucky to have the opportunity to offer this unique give-away thanks to Oxfam just in time for the holiday season. You see, if YOU win, you get this goat to give to someone you love. And because we love you and know that shipping and especially handling a goat can be kind of a… well… hassle, we’ll bypass you and your loved one all together and send that goat along to someone who could take care of it the best way possible.

In case you skipped the video (for shame), here is what would happen to your gifted goat. Oxfam distributes goats in countries with need. Why goats? Well, they are fantabulous for so many reasons: they provide milk, food and fertilizer. They also reproduce quickly and work best in countries prone to drought. Also this program specifically donates the goats to women in needy communities since they are the ones raising families and running households with immediate food and resource demands.

Pretty amazing right?

And totally something you have to give that special someone. Like now. You HAVE to get this goat. YOU HAVE TO!

Let’s take a moment to catch our breath. It’s kind of over-whelming. I know.

So here are the give-away contest rules.

1. Enter here by leaving a comment about what this goat could do for your look this 2011. (Or why you like goats. Or just that you like entering. Anything really…)

2. Enter again by commenting that you tweeted this: I entered the trendiest giveaway ever for the gift that keeps on shedding. And bah-ing. http://wp.me/ptpXZ-10e #OxfamHidalgo @morningsidemom

3. Enter again by commenting that you posted a link to this contest on Facebook.

3. Enter as many times as you would like.

4. Winners must be located in the U.S.

5. While this contest is occurring on multiple sites, you may only win once.

The contest begins December 6th and a winner will be selected at random on December 13th.

And what if you didn’t win and you’re totally bummed out your loved one will be goat-less this holiday season? Fret no more. You can buy your own! Or maybe shop for something a little different. Like mid-wife training or a school desk and chair or manure. Yep, you can send someone poop on your behalf. Say it with me… awwwwww….

(Also, for a good time you can follow The Hildago on Twitter here.)

‘Tis the season folks. Charity is cool. Goats are cool. It’s so obvious. So get on board.



Congratulations Susan. Enjoy your goat. I hope it is a gift like no other.

Happy Holidays and thanks to everyone for entering this giveaway. Consider checking out everything else they offer at Oxfam. I already have some manure and school books in my Oxfam cart…

(Full disclosure, as always: I have not been paid in any way to create or promote this give-away. I just think goats are cool.)

Blog Action Day: Remembering My Water Privileges

It’s Blog Action Day today. And this year’s topic?


I’ve written about water before. I wrote about living in Somalia and what it felt like to come back to the United States and be able to drink water directly out of a faucet again. I wrote how I understood what kind of privilege that was for me.


Water is a privilege?

Water is something we all have to have.

Well, surprise, surprise I have another story about water. One that reminds me daily, on a more personal but practical level, about the importance of water conservation. So here I go again…

I spent my high school years in Swaziland. And for a country in Africa, it was faring pretty well at the time. The level of hunger and poverty no where near matched what I had seen in Somalia as a child. Anyway, I went to an international school and in my last  year there, I lived on campus as a boarding student.

During that particular winter, Swaziland experienced the kind of drought that stops everything in its tracks. It’s hills were dirt-bone dry, the sun shone down day after day, cows lay dead along the sides of the road and homes everywhere were cut off from any direct water supply.

Our school’s water supply depended on our own reservoir found just up the hill from campus, but it was dwindling quickly. So water was rationed. And that meant very limited water for everything – which most certainly included showers. Until the drought was over, our school allowed students to shower only twice a week. And on a shower day, the entire dormitory wing had no more than 10 minutes to make it happen. That meant we had to take shifts – while one of us stepped aside to shampoo, another jumped in to rinse off. It was a quick, efficient, almost military-like operation. And for the other shower-less five days out of the week, we had to get used to either not being as clean or suck it up and have a “basin bath” (which used only one sinkful of water and a bucket to stand in).

(Think back to your narcissistic high school ways. Imagine how this might affect a typical high schooler. And that was just too bad. Because our showers were not more important than drinking water.)

Other water conserving restrictions were put in place too. Toilets had a strict “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” rule.

Lead by school administrators, groups of us hiked up the side of the mountain near our reservoir and pulled plants called Wattle trees. They were not indigenous to Swaziland (read: weeds) but they used a large supply of water to grow. The rumor was 1 Wattle tree = 1 shower. I’m not sure how scientifically accurate that was but we pulled the plants out regardless.

I don’t remember how long the drought lasted. A few months, maybe more. But I will never forget being made so very aware of every drop of water I used. Every single drop mattered. And every drop I used I knew someone else was without.

Water is a right but it remains a privilege. Think about that every single time you turn on a faucet, run the hot water over dishes, or lounge under the shower shaving your legs.

  • Nearly 1 billion people don’t have safe water to drink.
  • A child dies every 15 seconds from a lack of clean water.
  • 1 in 4 children who die before age 5 worldwide, die of a water related disease.
  • Children often walk miles every day to collect dirty water to drink.

(Statistics taken from The Water Project.)

Tampa’s Better-Than-A-Picnic Picnic

If you live in the Tampa Bay area, tell me you have already saved the date, right? Yep, Saturday, June 26th is coming up and The Motherhood, Hebrew National and all of the blogger co-hosts have a very fun picnic planned for that day. And we really reeeeally want you and your family to come.


And why should you? Well, here are my top five reasons WHY you MUST come.

1) Get your grub on. Who wants to think up lunch for the whole family when it’s already there waiting for you? With fun and games too. It’s a lunch no brainer.

2) Be one with nature. E. G. Simmons Park is located in Ruskin on Tampa Bay. You’ll enjoy all that is beautiful about our local environs. Our coastline is so damn beautiful it will make you weepy – and you know it. Don’t forget the camera!

3) Watch me wrangle three boys. They aren’t all mine but I will be parenting them that day. And they like to fight. You might want to grab food from reason #1, park yourself on a bench and watch them have at it. I promise to try and keep my scolding G rated. It’s a family event after all.

4) The Mechanical bull. Ride ’em cowboy. And you think I’m kidding? Check out the video taken by Mommy Words at her local Hebrew National picnic!

5) The Oil Spill. That’s right, here’s your chance to DO SOMETHING. A representative from the National Wildlife Federation will be there to answer questions. And we will be hosting a service activity aimed at giving children a chance to assist with the oil spill. We will also be collecting donated items which can help oil spill relief. The organizations we are supporting have donation lists here:

National Wildlife Federation Donation List

Save Our Seabirds Donation List

Some useful items to bring could be:

  • Dawn dishsoap
  • Backpacks
  • Clipboards
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Bleach
  • Wire or bolt cutters
  • Paper towels
  • Towels
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sand paper
  • Bungee cords
  • Work gloves (medium. large, extra large)


The other blog hosts will be (drum roll please because they are fab)…

Connie Roberts from Brain Foggles

Tracey Henry from Suburban Diva

Janet Dean from Green Mom Review

UPDATE: And we just found out one other very special guest will be there too…. ELMO!!!

WHEN: Saturday, June 26th from 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM


E. G. Simmons Park
2401 19th Avenue, N.W.
Ruskin, FL 33570
Shelter 17
(Off U.S. 41 in South Hillsborough County)

Important update: Be sure to mention at the park’s entrance that you are there for the “Hebrew National Picnic” to receive free admission!

The event is on Facebook too!

Please come!

FTC Disclaimer: The Motherhood and Hebrew National are compensating me to host and promote this event.

A Picnic Save the Date

So, do you want to go on a picnic?


Hebrew National has invited four Tampa bloggers (myself included) to co-host a local picnic on June 26th. There will be all sorts of delish food (including plenty of Hebrew National hot dogs), music, interactive games and various kids activities.

Rumor has it there will even be a mechanical bull.

Um, step aside people. I am ALL over that.

While food, fun, family and mechanical bulls would have been enough to get me down there, I will tell you what excites me most about this picnic. We are going to be running a service project during the event. And what will our service project focus on?

The oil spill.

Details are to come but we are hoping to provide the Tampa community with the chance to participate in an on site activity aimed at helping local charities and organizations committed to assisting oil spill clean up.

I’ll be back later with further details but for now, please save the date.


June 26th 11:30 – 3:30


E. G. Simmons Park
2401 19th Avenue, N.W.
Ruskin, FL 33570
(Off U.S. 41 in South Hillsborough County)

Adoring Florida Beaches and Angry About Oil

When I woke up yesterday morning with no particular plan for my family, I sat down with my cereal at the computer and happened to read this article. The headline read:

“Oil Spill: DEP says it will hit Florida’s beaches mid-week”

I immediately felt ill. Ever since hearing the news about this spill, I have felt desperately ill. It has seeped into my conscious and I can’t seem to shake it. Last week, when I read the Governor’s reaction upon seeing the spill from the air, my stomach lurched once again.

“Until you actually see it, I don’t know how you can comprehend and appreciate the sheer magnitude of that thing.”

And it’s still spilling out. It’s not capped. Just erupting into the Gulf ceaselessly and oozing its way across the Gulf’s expanse. And now, it will hit our shores this week.

I want to spit.

I’m heartbroken, I’m powerless, I’m really really angry.

So without thinking twice, I announced to my family that a trip to the beach was in order. We better go enjoy it. We better spend a whole day appreciating what a fantastic slice of the natural world we have 45 minutes away from our front door.

And of course I packed my camera.

I want to share with you what we have here – what one small section of beach in Florida looks like.

This beach is in Tarpon Springs, a small town north of Tampa. This beach is in a park actually and we pay nothing to be there. The water is shifting, rolling glass – clear, blue and breathtaking.  The wildlife rivals any aquarium. Locals fish on the beaches edge and pull up striped, gulping species that I certainly can’t name. And it is nothing new to find dolphins swimming around the periphery hoping to snag a fish escaping a line. I got so close to a dolphin once I could have reached out and pet it. There are stingrays and birds and starfish and sand dollars and hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs and regular crabs. There are these small sand colored fish that nibble at your toes in the surf. There are beautiful tiny white shells lining the shore. And powder fine sand, like nothing I’ve seen, that you sink your feet into and then swear you’ll give up your job and your life in suburbia so that you never ever have to leave.

It’s heaven.

And it’s all up and down this entire coast. A resource like nothing else. A resource we take for granted.

So what can I do? As if some super sentimental post about my favorite beach will do anything at all. The oil is coming and we are all sitting aside, waiting and watching. Powerless.

Obama calls this “a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster”.

I don’t even know what to say to that.

I hate oil. I hate that we need it for our cars. I hate that we haven’t worked harder to harness other fuel resources. I hate that this kind of crap gets tied up in politics and partisanship and money and power and who has whose back. Our coasts and livelihoods and amazing wildlife care nothing about all that. But they will certainly pay dearly for it.

So why don’t we leave this post on a humorous note, shall we?? Because I think we could all use a good laugh right about now. And whose better at inspiring a giggle or two than our good buddy Sarah Palin? Here’s what she had to say to Biden about drilling during the Vice Presidential debate over a year ago (via The Huffington Post):

“You even called drilling — safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore — as raping the outer continental shelf. There — with new technology, with tiny footprints even on land, it is safe to drill and we need to do more of that.”

Ticket Give-away to Disney On Ice in Tampa

This May, Disney On Ice is coming back to Tampa. And would you believe, after all my years as a parent living within an hour-ish drive of Disney itself, I have never taken my family to see Disney On Ice?

Well that’s about to change. My family was just offered free tickets to see Disney On Ice this year. As you can imagine, I am thrilled and all kinds of crazy excited for it. It features all of my kids’ favorite characters from a variety of Disney movies. I can’t wait to see their faces when they find out they’re going, I know they will be fired up for some on ice Disney Magic. They will be because they don’t know yet. Why? Disney On Ice will be coming to Tampa May 20th – 23rd and, as luck would have it, their birthdays happen to be coming up at the end of May and early June. So it will be a birthday surprise. And how perfect is that since this year’s Disney On Ice is titled “Let’s Celebrate!”

(Picture me doing the giddy mommy running man. And now the cabbage patch. So what if my dance moves were only kind of relevant twenty years ago, I’m totally fired up.)

But here’s the really REALLY good news. You all get to go too! Well, some of you do anyway. I have two stashes of complimentary passes to give away here. One set of two tickets and one set of four tickets. They are valid for any of the St. Pete Times Forum show times. Disney on Ice will be here in Tampa on Thursday, May 20th 2010 through Sunday, May23rd 2010. I am also going to end this giveaway with plenty of time to spare because these complimentary passes can only be redeemed for tickets at the St. Pete Times Forum box office (which is open Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm). And in order to get decent seats, you need to get your tickets early. (Please note you can purchase extra tickets to go along with these at the box office also.)

However, I want to make this give away count for something. So I’ve added a twist. It’s a good one, I promise.

As you know, I am walking for the March of Dimes in the Tampa Friends of Maddie group. I would like entrants for this give-away to help promote the March of Dimes in some way. So here is how you can enter.

How to Enter

You may enter as many times as you would like, just be sure to include your email address. Each entrance will be counted as long as at least one of the following is completed on or before May 2nd :

1) Tweet about the March of Dimes or the Tampa Friends of Maddie Group. Be sure to comment back here so I know you tweeted. Your tweet could be as simple as this: “Please support your local March of Dimes group here: http://tiny.cc/6gjsl so that I can go to Tampa’s Disney on Ice! (Via @morningsidemom)”.

2) Tweet about and link to this contest. Be sure to comment back here and link @morningsidemom so I know you tweeted.

3) Write a post about the  March of Dimes or the Tampa Friends of Maddie Group. Be sure to leave a comment with the link here.

4) Comment here how you support the March of Dimes in any way. (That could be as simple as telling me you will be walking for the March of Dimes or that you donated a few dollars at Publix to the March of Dimes. Because, yes, Publix is accepting donations right now for the March of Dimes. Go now, and donate.)

(While you are at it, I would be most grateful if you considered donating to the Friends of Maddie – see the link to the right. I don’t want to count this as an entrance since these passes can not be sold in any way. But please consider donating anyway just because you are a really really nice person.)

The contest closes on May 2nd at midnight. Each time you enter will be counted separetely and two winners will be picked at random. I will email the winners and then announce them here.

Good luck and thank you for supporting the March of Dimes!


The winners have been announced! Check here. If you didn’t win, that’s ok because I’ve also posted a promo code for discounted tickets so go check it out.

Disclaimer: My family has received four tickets to attend Disney On Ice. I have not been paid to promote Disney On Ice.

One Year Later: Maddie and the March of Dimes

A year ago today my world was rocked by news about a little girl I had never met. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you probably remember that time well. On the other side of the country, another blogger’s daughter – a little girl named Maddie – had passed away. However, in the wake of her death, her community reacted. And this enormous outpouring of love and connection created something bigger than any of us ever expected.

If you are only now being introduced to Maddie, I suggest you jump over here and learn more about her. This child’s story has touched thousands and thousands of people. She put a beautiful face on an important cause and moved bloggers and families everywhere to act immediately. And we did.

Last year, Maddie’s team raised more money for the March of Dimes than any other family team. I was proud to be part of that team – my family walked with other bloggers here in Tampa. Shoot, little ol’ me raised almost $600 for the March of Dimes. Maddie made me do it, I swear.

Today, Heather Spohr is mourning the loss of her daughter one year ago. One year. Without her sweet baby girl. My heart is with her, my heart is with her, my heart is with her.

This spring here in Florida, we’ve had a crazy outbreak of purple wild flowers. Everywhere. I’ve lived in Florida for over 6 years and I don’t remember seeing these flowers before. For days, I’ve been passing fields of these flowers. Of course, the small patch that popped up in my back yard inpired me to snap a few pics. They are tiny, they are many, they are gorgeous. And do you know what all that purple has been reminding me to do?

Remember Maddie.

She loved purple. And purple stands for the March of Dimes. And I had better not forget that.

So I’m here to share these flowers here so that you won’t forget either. And perhaps you might consider donating to Maddie’s team this year. I’m walking with some fabulous women. And we’ll even be wearing tu-tus (here’s why). Come on, don’t you want to be a part of that? How about this. If I raise a lot of money, I’ll post pics of me leaping through the streets of Tampa, rocking that purple tu-tu with pride and passion.

(Come on, who are we kidding? I’ll post pics of me doing that anyway.)

So donate. Anything. Coins under couch cushions are accepted.

And please remember Maddie today and all that she stands for. Thank you.