Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Generation "undeserved"?

I had an hour long discussion with my 12 year-old tonight.  She is about to finish seventh grade and it was so interesting and enlightening to talk to her about the "state of her world".  She was a little bit angry and I agree with her.

She wanted to know why everyone thinks that her generation is "lazy and entitled".  Because she is not. 

She works so hard in school.   She wants a job NOW.  She plays three sports but still has time to make her bed every day and clean her bathroom.  Why are all these kids lumped together with generation "lazy"?

It has NOTHING to do with the kids, it has everything to do with the parents.  I had a friend post a link yesterday about how parents should not pay for their kids' college educations.  The gist of the article was very well-intentioned and I understood it, but the entire point was that kids that had to pay themselves were hard workers and kids that were given their tuition were lazy.  I plan on teaching my kids the value of hard work and money BEFORE they go to college, not with them being $200K in debt. 

I know this because I just finished paying off my education at the age of 39.  And I don't have a formal job.  I hope to raise kids that can understand how to manage finances and choose a good career, without having to start out life with the stress of major debt.

Teach your kids manners and responsibility.  From the moment they can talk, have them talk to adults!  Stop putting words in their mouths and let them speak.  They have opinions...and if they are rude please call them on it!

This generation is amazing.  My ten year old son has done more with coding and animation software than I can even understand.  They are self sufficient, polite and independent children.  One spends her time with sports, the other is on the computer most of his life.  But somehow he is still a super social, kind and interesting kid.  If you read most articles on kids these days, that qualifies him to be a future serial killer.


It's not the end of the world, people.  This generation is doing just fine, it's the parents that need a wake up call. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Cheaters Galore

Disclaimer:  Sophia has played against several kids that were honest and classy competitors.  And for the record, I have told the coaches and/or parents each time how impressed I was with them. 

I really like to think the best about people.  I don't want to judge parents by the behavior of their kids and I would like to think that kids are inherently good.  But if I use the middle school golf matches as my baseline, I am losing all faith in humanity.


It is crazy.  Out of the seven matches Sophia has played in, kids were obvious cheaters in six of them.  And in the one where the other team did not cheat, I am sure our own teammate did. 

You might say that the kids are learning and just have a hard time keeping track of their strokes.  Yes, sometimes that might be the case and I realize that.  But that is not what I'm talking about.  I'm referring to the kid who had THIRTEEN STROKES on a hole and then claimed he got a SIX.  Or the kid on our own team who "found his ball in the woods" but was caught dropping a ball TWICE in the same round.  The second time he actually said "I was just kidding!"  It is embarrassing.

It was so bad in one match that the child responsible for keeping the scorecard not only shaved several strokes off of his own score, but when our kids argued that he was miscounting and he eventually agreed, he walked off the green and put a different number on the scorecard.  This equated to NINE strokes less than his twosome deserved (out of six holes played). 

Let's also talk about the behavior of the kids.  It is NEVER acceptable to finish a round and then throw your ball into the woods.  I have witnessed this twice...and both times the parents were there and seemed to think this was okay. Or the constant pounding your club into the ground...if Sophia acted like this I would pull her off the course immediately.   This is not weekend golf, this is representing your school. 

And the parents...some of them are no better!  We are instructed to just watch our children and not coach them at all.  But yet, there are parents who are carrying their children's clubs, giving them GPS yardage, lining up shots for is so hard for someone like me to just shut up.  (For the record, I made sure the scores were changed on the match with the kid who altered the scores.)

What example are parents setting?  These kids clearly do not have integrity at this impressionable age.  These are the same kids who are probably paid to get good grades and good scores.  I just cannot comprehend this thinking, and it makes going to these matches just so nerve-wracking.  I sit in my cart keeping track of everyone's scores just to see how badly the kids will cheat.  How horrible is that?

I know Sophia is not perfect.  But she is not a cheater.  At her match today, the grandfather of her competitor not only acknowledged that the boy she was playing with was indeed cheating, but congratulated us on raising such a classy child.

WIN.  No matter what the score. (She won the foursome though :-)

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Greatest Gift I Could Give My Daughter

Wow - I can't believe how overdue this post is.  Sophia and I took this trip together in November of 2013.  It's about time that I wrote about it!

While in Singapore, I learned through friends about a wonderful organization, Caring for Cambodia ( Our family had visited, and been keenly affected by, our trip to Cambodia in November of 2012.  When I found out about the volunteer service trip for ages 9 and up with parents, I knew that Sophia and I needed to go.
So we headed into the unknown by meeting a diverse group of volunteers at the Changi (Singapore) airport for our trip to Siem Reap - our leader was actually a former expat now living in New Jersey who was travelling the entire way for this project.  Caring for Cambodia now runs eight schools in Cambodia in conjunction with the government and has exceeded all goals - they are truly the blueprint for success in this still developing country.  We didn't know exactly what we'd be doing when we arrived, but we were game for anything.

Turns out, we accomplished three major objectives in 3-4 days.  The first morning, we helped serve breakfast at one of the schools.  Sophia and her new friend Gavin were rockstars - I see future teen servers in them! 

During the next couple of days, we built (ground up, even sawed the wood!) new recycle bins, a long paver pathway in front of the classrooms, and most importantly, the foundation for a building that would house a counselor for the female population.  It is so challenging to be a girl in school in Cambodia.  The families routinely expect you to drop out and fill a traditional wife role, and there can be pressure to resort to prostitution to support the family.  CFC is dedicated to changing this dynamic and we were proud to be part of it.  As a mother to a young lady, I was particularly emotionally overwhelmed (nah that never happens to me...).  Our kids were tireless workers - it was truly an inspiration to see them interact with the local children.  When you witness this sort of thing, you realize that language is not a barrier.  We are all the same, wanting and looking for similar things, albeit on different levels.  But it is heartwarming and heartbreaking simultaneously to see the kids playing together happily...knowing that they are on different tracks due to the moment of their birth.

On our off day, we visited the famous Buddhist temple, Angkor Wat, (a second time for us, but it was fun with our new friends!) and had some lovely mother-daughter dinners in "downtown" Siem Reap. 

It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and I hope my friends still back in Singapore would consider going!  Please visit for more information.  It's called the MAD trip (Make a Difference).

Please visit our destination page to see our other posts on our trips to Cambodia.  We have a strong connection to this beautiful country and the kind people who've we met.

Gavin serving breakfast

This is how they cook!  Pretty awesome fire pit.

Sophia serving breakfast to the students.

They all gathered each morning for their National anthem.  And if they weren't quiet enough, they did it again.  Can you imagine how the American media would tear this practice apart...

The lovely countryside surrounding the school.

This little boy wanted Sophia to take his picture and show it to him..and he was sooooo proud!

My hard worker!

 This took hours.  For real.
No child labor laws today.

Sarah - rock star and momma hen to all.

I can't get enough of this little girl.  They all wanted to help so much!

That's a lot of rocks!

Long day!

Painted and ready to go!

The girls' building started out smoothly...

And then the STORM came!

Keep on working!


Time out for touring. I love this picture.

Ta Prohm

Sophia and Rath, our favorite employee at Journey's Within Hotel.  She was so happy we were able to take a taxi to come visit the hotel we stayed in previously.  Such a sweet lady.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Back in the Saddle

I really need to get back into my blog.  I have grand plans, of course, but the fact that my laptop screen just died and my Photoshop software is literally 15 years old prevents me from doing much at the moment.  Sadly, I'm borrowing my daughter's laptop, which isn't in much better shape.

So for a little while longer, this blog is going to stay "Sleepless in Singapore" - partly because of my technical issues, and partly because I miss that part of my life and it makes me happy.

I recently decided to start again contributing monetarily to the household.  When I moved overseas, I turned my baby bib and burp cloth business,, over to my mother because it wasn't really a feasible thing to do from there.  So for about three years, I have been thinking about what I would do next. Maybe I was a little bored, maybe I was freaking out about future tuition payments and admittedly maybe I wanted to be able to hit the Lilly Pulitzer section of my local store this spring, but I knew I needed to do something.  Funny how it all started out.

While I was in Singapore, about 18 months ago, my good friend, Shannon West, started selling Rodan + Fields skincare products.  I knew nothing about them, but I knew enough about her to know if she would sell them, then they were worth buying.  At the time, after 40 full years, I still didn't even WASH MY FACE at night.  It wasn't even me wanting to improve my skin.  I just wanted to support Shannon in her venture.  I used to sell "Southern Living at Home" products - not to make money but because I wanted their stuff all over my house!  Once I got what I wanted, I stopped.  But I love when my fellow "stay at home moms" venture out and do something on the side, and I wanted to be supportive.

Well I was in for a little surprise.  I actually LOVED the stuff.  I got hooked, but still never considered the business side of it.  Ironically it took me suggesting the business to another friend to realize "why aren't I doing this?"  I was on vacation in the Outer Banks and found out that one of my best friends, Zareen, also used the products and my other best friend, Whitney, was ordering them while we were there together!  I signed up with Shannon that day.

Multilevel marketing companies get a bad rap.  And I get it.  There are a lot of companies out there who deserve it.  But it's also a wonderful source of income for people like me, people who genuinely believe in what they're selling and find joy in sharing them with other people.  We're not all lunatic cult members intent on only putting bodies on our teams.  Sure, I'd like to sponsor some people, but only if they are excited and I feel I'm ready to support them. 

The WORST part of this job is selling to friends.  And that's pretty much everyone for the time being!  I have no choice but to post on Facebook - I try to stay to a once a week rule, because I am AWARE that it can get so annoying.  I feel so responsible for the happiness of my friends who are nice enough to try these products and I stress about their satisfaction.  Thank you SO much to those that have taken the plunge with me. 

Lastly, I was lucky to be involved in a higher level sponsor qualifying for her Lexus yesterday.  It came down to the wire, and it was an amazing thing to be a part of.  Everyone was so supportive and worked together to help.  It's so nice to again be part of a team and a group of women (and a few men!) who are there for each other and are so invested in each other's success.

So thanks, Shannon.  Two months and I'm excited for the future.  I'm finally making some money again and I think I look younger.  Not much can beat that!

If you want more info, email me a or visit my site at

Sunday, 20 July 2014

We have rats.

We have rats.  Two of them.  I'm the rat grandmother. 

I thought what you are thinking.  That's disgusting.  OMG why would anyone have rats as pets?  What is wrong with those people?  Yes... I GET IT.  Rats are nasty and ugly and dirty.

But they're actually not.

Here's where the story starts.  You all know by now that Sophia is the animal whisperer.  Cooper channels Steve Jobs and Sophia channels Steve Irwin, it's just the way it always has been and always will be. 

After a trip to a pet store with my parents, Sophia and Cooper came to us with a request for their "own" small animal.  I said "over my dead body".  I remember how many animals my parents let us get with the promise of us taking care of them (at least 4) and I remember how many we actually took care of (ZERO).  So Jason and I told them to research what small animals would be best for our household and how they would care for them and get back to us.  I thought that was it.

Apparently not.

Damn you Stamford American International School for teaching my kids to create really impressive digital presentations. 

Sophia not only researched what I asked but showed us videos on the care and keeping of RATS.  Yes, rats.  They are supposedly the most affectionate and trainable small animal around.  They are actually very clean and smart creatures so I googled and found a RAT BREEDER near our house.  Yes, I just typed rat breeder.  Because I am now crazy.

Long story short (too late), Sadie and Sammie now live at our house in what I named the Ratz Carlton.  They loooooooove Sophia.  Sammie lays on the back of her neck while she watches TV.  Sadie might be the rat agility champion of the world (yes, there is such a thing).  Jason and I don't "like" them but we are coming around and think that they are kind of cute. 

The best part of all of this is that we put Sammie on Jessie's back and she just kept on walking.  If the rats are good enough for our dog, they are good enough for me.  (but if Sophia doesn't take care of them, they are dead rats...just for the record). 

The lifespan of rats is on average only 2.5 years.  Just saying. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Why the Social Media Hate?

Here I go again...stirring the pot.  This one has been in the works for a long time, albeit in my mind, but it's not a spontaneous type post like I usually do.

I cannot stand, just cannot stand,  that video going around right now about how Facebook, smart phones, etc. are the bane of all existence.  It is by some guy named James Ellis something, I am not even going to look it up after watching that crap, because I refuse to acknowledge it.

All you friends who posted it - why?  YOU ARE ALL ON SOCIAL MEDIA - AND A LOT!  Seriously, I get annoyed with the people who only show up (we're just going to use this as an example because it's my social media outlet of choice) on Facebook when it's your kid's birthday (and they're not on FB so that's a whole other post), or when they won the baseball championship, or your spouse got a promotion.  GOOD FOR YOU!  I will read it and be happy for you!  But you are the same people who criticize the rest of us for being on Facebook on a daily basis, who tend to post about funny little things that are important to us or maybe that we just know certain friends or family will love.

I love Facebook.  I love what it's done for my friendships.  I just last week spent a good amount of time with a high school friend, Jonathon, and his family because of Facebook.  I hung out with a Wake Forest friend, Natalie, while on vacation in her home of South Carolina just the week before that because of Facebook.  These are people I never would have spoken to again, and I guarantee I will hang out with them again.  I had a blast both times.  I could give you at least ten more examples of these reunions.

I have dear friends I met in Singapore that I can keep in touch ALL AT THE SAME TIME because of Facebook.  Bri, Maureen, Andrew, Rachel,  the list goes on and on...and I'm not going to continue with names because I will forget and offend someone...

I have a couple of high school "friends" that I feel I am so much closer to now than I was back then because of Facebook.  We all realized how young and stupid we were and how much more we now have in common and have made inroads into real friendships (I'm talking about you - Roni, Kerri and Tammy!)  These are people I want to hang out with now that I'm not 17- that's saying something.  One of them stayed in my beach house while I lived in Singapore, so I'm not just making this stuff up. 

I don't sit behind a computer all day without social interactions.  When I was in high school, I admit I didn't have the best self esteem.  Well you know what?  I grew up!  I don't walk around with my head in a phone.  Do I use it too much?  OF COURSE!  Do I eat dinner with my kids every night - yes.  Do I ban their electronics in restaurants and all around family time - yes.  I have real, authentic and meaningful relationships with my children, and I'm darn proud of the job I'm doing.  I have serious lines drawn with my kids and social media.  I am a very strict mother, who wants my kids to be kids.  I am teaching them to be strong, independent human beings who value themselves on their accomplishments and character. 

The part of all this that drives me the craziest is the jealously aspect.  I hate to say this, but my life is pretty much what you see.  Do I have fights with my husband?  YES.  Do I have any reason to tell you about it?  NO.  Does Sophia talk back to me?  Rarely.  Do my kids fight?  More than they used to.  But my kids are kind, respectful and good little citizens.  My husband and I have a pretty darn good relationship.  We struggle with issues from time to time, but honestly I don't want to share that.  If you want to - more power to you.  But if I only share the good times, I just cannot understand for the life of me why that makes me fake.  I am not fake.  If you know me, you know it's not possible.  I can't keep my damn mouth shut about the truth, for better or worse.

It's my worst trait. 

If I read one more time about how people's lives are fabricated or exaggerated on Facebook I might lose my mind.  Because not only is mine not, but I know enough about my close friends to know theirs are not either. If you feel bad about your life because you read about mine, that is something you need to deal with.  I do not need to change what I post about.  And if you are having hard times, I will support you, I will be there for you.  But you need to tell me about it and not post "mystery posts" so we have to guess. 

Friends, I really love keeping up with you.  Even you people that I don't really know that well - I read your posts.  Some I flip through a little faster (so you had a turkey sandwich for lunch or are tired today - woo hoo) but I read them all. 

More importantly, I spend most of my time with actual human interaction.  Today I golfed with my friend, Mary Beth, took a friend's son to lacrosse practice as a favor, then hung out with a ton of kids at a family fun pool night.  It's possible to be a functioning human in this day and age.

Stop the hype please.

It's not evil people.  It's what you make of it.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ode to my dad

I haven't written a post since I left Singapore.  I've been busy, but mostly lazy.

Today is Father's Day in the US.  I love my husband, he is the BEST father ever, and a wonderful husband.  But I am compelled today to tell you about my dad, Grant Michael Lehman.

I have a "Facebook friend" in Singapore, a lovely lady and fellow writer, Jennifer Gargiulo, who during the one time we talked face-to-face, told me her favorite post of mine was the one where I talked about my personal life. So here I go.  I hope to not offend family members (all but one, that one I just don't care anymore) - I have always struggled with this concept.

I have the dad everyone loves.  He is a gentle giant.  Six foot-four, maybe 230 on his best day...but always loving.  He loves music.  He has a nice collection of Bob Dylan albums, but also introduced me to Abba.  One of my favorite memories is my dad in his recliner, with me dancing around his chair to "Dancing Queen".

We had an interesting childhood.  He worked in human resources and we frequently moved, sometimes more than once a year.  When I was in high school, he had challenges with his job and my sister had life-threatening medical issues.  We always knew we could count on our parents, no matter what was going on.  Were they perfect?  No.  Are you?  No.  But my goodness, they did the best they could.  My brother, Scott, his twin, Kristen, and I, are nothing but thankful to them.  We have another brother who has unfortunately taken a different path and is the poster child for the entitled generation (sometimes you have to just let it go and accept that families aren't perfect).  

There is nothing my father wouldn't have done for me.  Nothing.  But that is not what I think of when I think of him.  This is what will always...always...stay with me:

People who know my dad automatically think I am awesome.
I am not.  I am a fraction of my dad.  Like ten percent.  I think I'm pretty great usually, but I am not my dad, I never will be.  He has a way about him, a finesse, a kindness, a compassion, that just emanates from him.  He is good.  He is kind.  I am just a little bit of him.

He is the person I always want to be.  If you know him, you be compelled to agree :-)

I love you Dad.

P.S.  Mom - you are great too