The Great Outdoors-Why I do not camp!

With the big three-day weekend approaching, I am sure many of you are going camping. Labor Day is one of the biggest camping weekends of the year. Many Americans reserve their campsites months ahead of time for Labor Day. with that I am going to say……I do not camp, I don’t like it,  plus bad things happens when I camp. I haven’t been on a camping trip for a long time and can truly tell you I don’t miss it. Molly on the other hand loves camping, and I love her for it. As much as I don’t like camping I want my daughters exposed to it. I just don’t go with them. Let’s be clear about one thing, I do love the nature but I like indoor plumbing more. Continue reading

Teacher Jillian in my house!

Small children get very attached to their teachers and nannies. These under appreciated members of our society have the greatest influence on our children after immediate family. Think about it, most weeks they see them more than their own parents.

When my second daughter was born, we hired a nanny name Jaime. She was wonderful and the girls adored her. Jaime who was a nurse by profession, later on got married and moved to Sacramento. Girls had to go to daycare and we all terribly missed her. To give you an example of how kind Jaime was, when Molly first got diagnosed she offered to drive every week from Sacramento and take care of Molly and the girls. You can not buy this type of kindness.

Both of my daughters went to the same daycares and were blessed with some of the best preschool teachers in the area. I can not think of any of them that were bad. We loved them all, but one stood out and that was Teacher Jillian.

As I mention in my Testing Dillan’s DNA blog, Dillan went to the daycare at my work. I used to be able to watch her play from the window of my office. It was the greatest feeling in the world, having my daughter just steps away from my desk. I could pop in to get a hug anytime!

The first time I saw Jillian corralling children was from my office window and I could see that this teacher had a way with the kids. She wasn’t Dillan’s teacher but Dillan loved her. Dillan would walk over to her in the morning and smiling wide would way say, “Hi Teecha Jeall-e-ann”! Jillian would always drop what ever she was doing and come over to greet her back.

When my daughters were little, I did not leave them with teenage babysitters. Right away I knew Jillian would be a perfect babysitter for us so I asked her and she accepted. First time she came over our house Dillan looked star struck. It was like a celebrity had just walked into her house. She ran around the house yelling “Teecha Jeall-e-ann in my house”. I realized then little humans sometimes see teachers as celebrities. Madison loved Jillian so much that she would ask us to go out every weekend so Jillian could come over.

Jillian is from a small town in Southern California, not too far away from where Molly grew up. People from this area tend to be very mellow and kind. When I met Jillian’s parents,  I knew that the fruit didn’t fall too far away from the tree. When we decided to go to Europe last year, we asked Jillian to come with us. The arrangement was that we will pay for her trip expenses, and in return she would help with the girls. We had made a similar arrangement with Jaime when we went to Spain a couple of years back. Jillian accepted right away because she could also meet up with her parents who had recently moved to Europe for work. This really worked out for us because this was few months before Molly was diagnosed. She was not her usual energetic self on the trip and would get tired easily. Having Jillian’s help was God sent. Looking back I am amazed what a good sport Molly was given the disease her body was battling.

Few days after the trip, Jillian got engaged and moved to another state. Once again the girls lost another special caregiver. Jillian invited us to her wedding last July and we got to see her and some of the other preschool teachers. The girls were in heaven, Dillan kept photo bombing her favorite teachers. See if you can spot the photo bomber in this photo:

Below is my favorite picture of Jillian and Dillan. This was taken in a small town in South of France. Dillan was having a bad day, and Jillian had just offered her chocolate.

The Evil Eyes

As far as I can remember, I have been warned against the Evil Eyes. My mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my great aunts, they have always warned me against the evil eyes. This is mainly a Middle Eastern belief that certain people have bad eyes. These individuals who possess evil eyes can inflict harm or even death by just looking at a person or giving them a compliment. Continue reading

Daddy, am I gonna catch Cancer? Talking to children about parent’s cancer.

Lung Cancer is an 80 year old smoker’s disease, right? WRONG Lung Cancer can happen to anybody, young, old, healthy, marathon runner etc. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.  My wife is only 39 and we have two daughters who are five and eight. When a parent has cancer it will affect the children, there is no way to avoid this. Children are intuitive and have sharp ears. It is one thing to deal with your spouse having Lung Cancer, but it’s a whole other challenge speaking to children about it. Continue reading