#ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE


Catcher got nominated to do the #alsicebucketchallenge by his dad. After he went online and learned about the disease he decided he wanted to not only complete the challenge but also wanted to donate his own money in hopes of discovering a cure. Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in if all people found kindness the way kids can?

The #icebucketchallenge ended up being an amazing fundraising tool for ALS and I encourage you to donate or take the challenge yourself! 


Restaurant Kids

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The minis have started their summer with a mix of "the best camp in Cleveland" and full on restaurant opening mode. We head to nature camp early in the am and after 8 hours of sloshing around in the Cleveland Metroparks I haul their muddy, creek drenched, sun kissed bodies to Trentina. 

They are getting annoyed.  

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Being 5 and 8 means that going to work with your parents is a drag. Even when it's a restaurant that you will someday sneak sips of wine from. With two more weeks unitl opening these poor kids are gonna explode.  

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Hold on kids...we're almost at the finish line

Cleveland Kids Casting Call

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The Chef and I have had the pleasure of getting to know actor Michael Pitt over the past few weeks as he is in CLE filming. This weekend his band is shooting a music video and they are looking for kiddos. Here's the call:

The actor Michael Pitt & his band Pagoda are filming a music video in Cleveland this Sunday June 22, 2014. We are seeking artsy kids 7-10 yrs. old to be featured in a few scenes. We are reviewing headshots now!! We want some really interesting types of kids (artsy, blue collarish, grungy, kind of different). This video is for Pagoda's new single "Time Has Come". Looking for kids 7yrs. old to 10 yrs. old who are 3'8" to 4'4" who can act like they are playing instruments. WE WANT ALL ETHNICITIES AND RACES! THEY DONT HAVE TO BE ACTORS--just cool kids. Parents please submit your name and phone number, with your child's picture, name and age to:timehascomevideo@gmail.com

Transportation will be provided if needed.

The Rationale of School Closings

Yesterday should have been a snowday. We woke up at 6am to five inches and a blizzard. As we waited for the bus the sky disappeared and a white cloud of flurry took it's place. The bus was late. Ten minutes, then thirty, and forty minutes passed by the time my neighbor called to see if the mini's needed a ride. He picked them up and off they went. A slow stroll to school. The bus never showed. 

As we drove downtown to work we passed countless spun out cars, a few accidents, and had zero visibility. We barely made it to University Circle when we decided to work from Trentina. It was a mess.

This winter we have found ourselves with at least one snow day per week. Last week the schools were closed for the first three days due to cold. I get it, some kids don't have (or don't wear) warm clothes but I don't remember it happening this often when I was young. Snow days to me were like finding a diamond in a pile of sawdust. It just didn't happen. Now it seems like if one school calls off school, they all call off. If one school doesn't, no one else does. 

I just don't understand the rationale of school closings. Do you?

Best Day Ever

One of the best days of my life happened yesterday November 26th, 2013.

From a plush theatre seat in the back, I watched my son do something I could never do. Right before my eyes, I saw him transform from a child to a boy. As he ran on the stage of the Ohio Theatre and shouted his first line I knew I was in trouble.

The tears came out like Victoria Falls and my chest felt like someone was standing on it. 

The pride I felt for my son was so immense it was actually causing me physical pain. 

I couldn't believe that my boy was standing on stage reciting lines he had practiced over and over in front of a full Ohio Theatre without the blink of an eye. And he was good! He was so good! Watching him felt like watching someone who had done the show for years. Ever line, ever mark he hit with perfection.

It was the CRAZIEST thing I have ever experienced as a mother. 

My son could do something I would NEVER HAVE THE GUTS TO DO.

At that very second something inside of me clicked. I felt like the past eight years suddenly made sense, I had momentarily figured out this whole parenting thing. By watching my son act as Master William and TIny Tim he was accomplishing something more than I could ever accomplish. He put himself out there without knowing the result and was completely fearless.

I'll tell you this, besides his birth this moment was one of the best moments of my life. 

 

 

A Tale of a Stage Mom

Whoa. Being a stage mom is cuh cuh crazy.

For the past two weeks the minis have been rehearsing for the upcoming "A Christmas Carol" at Playhouse Square. Starting on Tuesdays we go directly from school to Playhouse Square. Rehearsal can last anytime from 4pm-8pm. During that time I hang at the restaurant and work. I grab dinner togo on my way to pick them up and we head home in the pitch black Cleveland night. We eat, then sleep.

We do this on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

On Saturday and Sunday I take the girl to cheerleading and rush downtown the second it ends. They rehearse well into the evening.

When the rehearsals began, the Chef and I were completely expecting the boy to have an adverse reaction to all of the work. But he didn't. Everyday while I waited in the parking lot of Playhouse Square, I coached myself to be prepared for him to declared his hatred for it and his desire to quit.

But he hasn't.

In fact it's quite the opposite. He loves it. He asks to stay during the breaks so he can watch. He practices his lines before school and at night before bed.  He was even cool with getting a "Victorian" haircut. When he found his 3rd grade class was going to take a field trip to see the show he raised his arms high above his head and shouted in jubilee. 

The Chef and I are crazy proud. We have been waiting for him to find something that can make him proud of himself.

I think he might have found it.

 

If you are interested in checking out the shows that our son Catcher will be playing the role of Tiny Tim they are listed here:

11/26 11:00 am

11/30 1:30 pm

12/1 3:00 pm

12/4 11:00 am

12/6 11:00 am

12/7 7:30 pm

12/10 11:00 am

12/12 11:00 am

12/13 7:30 pm

12/14 1:30 pm

12/15 3:00 pm

12/18 11:00 am

12/19 7:30 pm

12/21 7:30 pm

To secure tickets please visit Great Lakes Theatre Company.

A Christmas Carol

Before the Tryouts

A few months back the minis music teacher told me about auditions for Great Lakes Theatre production of "A Christmas Carol." She encouraged them to try out and after we all talked about it as a family they both were game. The Chef and I are constantly seeking new experiences for them because we have always believed experiences are what life is meant to be made of. They both went to the audition knowing full well that it was only for fun and the experience of memorizing a song to sing made them proud. 

We went to Playhouse Square for the tryouts. The girl went first and came out smiling. She had fun and that was all that I wanted for her. A few more kids went in and then it was the boy's turn. A few moments later a woman came out and asked for "Amelia." I grabbed the girl and we headed into the audition room. Turned out the minis did quite well and the director wanted to feel all of us out about the possible commitment being in the play would mean. She spoke to the minis straight on and did not hide the fact that if they did in fact get cast, it would be fun but would also be hard work. She asked if they did get cast would they be interested?

They both said yes.  

A few weeks passed and the director called me. The boy was cast as Tiny Tim and the girl as Young Scrooge, Ignorance, and Sled Boy. They would in fact be a part of the Great Lakes Theatre Company "A Christmas Carol." 

Louisiana as "Ignorance"

Rehearsals start next week and while I am so excited for them I am nervous as well. We are already a very busy family and having theatre rehearsal everyday for two weeks adds a little chaos to the mix. Nonetheless the experience will be well worth it and they will both cherish the memories from it for the rest of their lives.  

Catcher as 'Tiny Tim'

If you are interested in checking out the play this holiday season, head on over to Great Lakes Theatre. 

 

 

Create Your Family Food Journey

Yesterday's post about talking to your kids about food raised all sorts of amazing questions from you guys. One that stuck was this: 

"So how would you start this conversation if we are already 7 years in?" 

I was going to post a quick answer and then I got to thinking. Our family has a crazy advantage when it comes to food. Our job is to know and find the best ingredients so that they can become beautiful dishes served at our restaurants. The minis eat at restaurants alot and have been doing so since they were newborns. Louisiana's first solid food happened to be a pig's ear at Lola. So when I post about talking about food sometimes I forgot how fortunate we are when it comes to food. Don't get me wrong, we have our battles. Our kids are normal kids and when the see a commercial for the most colorful candy in the world that spins and lights up with glitter and then turns into gum, they totally ask for it. Because of our advantage I am quick to post about what we do and sometimes skip the HOW WE DO. 

One way I think you can introduce your kids, even if they are older, to healthy food choices is the farmer's market. Something simple that we do is give our kids their own money to buy dinner. They will have to pick out foods that they will try and then we cook them. We usually encourage our kids to pick out a protein, a veggie, and a fruit. Sometimes they pick out things they end up loving (PARSNIPS!) and sometimes they don't (CHICKEN SAUSAGE). The key to this introduction is to allow them to try it and if they don't like it let them pass. I have found that forcing kids to eat is the worst possible way to get them to be interested in food. Taking our kids to the market and giving them the power to choose their own food has ultimately involved them in their own food education.

In the kitchen w/ Catcher

The 5 Basic Rules #teamsawyer lives buy when it comes to FOOD are: 

1. Start simple and don't expect your kids to completely transform overnight. Encourage them to try new things just once and if they don't like they don't have to finish it. 

2. Introduce the food label to your kids. Teach them how to find the ingredients and then google a couple of the ones you can't pronounce with your kids. It might be scary at first when you find out all the crazy cancer causing chemicals in your food but I promise you this, CANCER is scarier.   

3. Create family food activities. Go to a farmer's market. Plan a day to visit a goat farm or a garlic farm. Go to a vegetable or fruit farm. Meet the farmer. Learn his or her name and find out their story. Most farmers will gladly welcome a family onto their farm to teach them about food if you email or call ahead of time. This activity is great and it's free!

4. Take your kids to a local independently owned restaurant once a month. Order NEW & DIFFERENT apps or small plates and have everyone try each item and then write down their favorite. Keep a mental note of their favorites so you can try to make at home or order at other joints. 

5. Cook together!! This is the best way to get your kids involved in food conversations. Plan a night or day when everyone is around. Give jobs to the kids and involve them from start to finish. It may not be easy (our son is not a huge fan of cooking) but once they get involved and eventually see and taste the end product, cooking together ill get easier.  

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
— James Beard

Talking with Kids About Food

A common question the Chef and I often get asked is:

"how do you get your kids to eat so well?" 

Our answer is quite simple:

We talk to our children about food. We don't talk to them about what they WANT from food, as the only answers we would get would be ice cream, edamame, and nerds. We actually TALK to them about food. We talk about where food comes from, we talk about food labels and ingredients, we talk about the commercial food industry, we talk about farmers and food miles, we talk about chickens, we talk about hunting and slaughter, we talk about vegans and vegetarians, and we talk about food choice. But mostly we just talk. 

Food is a big part of our collective journey on this planet and the minis are also a big part of that journey. How could we leave one out of the other? 

Our 8 year son is particularly interested in food these days. His mind was blown when he found out in Italy, that food dye is banned there. He just could not wrap his head around the fact that it was bad for people, yet still allowed in the US. He reads labels when we grocery shop and if he "accidentally" buys something with high fructose corn syrup in it he won't indulge. He does this because the Chef and I have talked to him about what food dye does to kids metabolisms, we talk to him about how high fructose corn syrup when used in moderation is a major cause of heart diseaseobesitycancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more. We don't ignore the facts about food and as parents we have no desire to hide anything from our children.

Eating dinner. Fancy dinner. With vegetables. And duck. And cheese. Not a chicken finger in sight. 

Some may think our openness is scary or unneeded but I disagree. The more knowledge our children are armed with about what's in their food, the more power and choice they will grow up to have. It's a dangerous time in our country for our delicate food system but our solution is actually quite simple.

We talk to our kids about food.

Do you?


Healing Energy Needed

It's not often that I ask for something on this blog. If you follow me on the social media you probably have seen that my daughter has been sick for the past 16 days. She has had a fever (mainly at night) and a nasty cough. She has been poked and prodded more times than I would like and this week we ruled out strep, mono, and the flu.

We went in for bloodwork on Tuesday after she was sent home from school on Monday.

The results came back and now there is a scary question mark above her head. I'm not ready to share what's going on just yet but I ask that you pray, send positive energy, ask god, buddha, or whomever you place your faith with that my little girl will turn out just fine.

We are need of healing.

Noodlekids Build Your Own Noodlebowl

Build Your Own Noodlebowl with Chef Sawyer & the minis

Tomorrow the Chef, the minis, and myself are hosting a

Noodlekids Build Your Own Noodlebowl

at Noodlecat. We love doing this event with the kids and since we started it last year, it has been a favorite event for many Cleveland families. There are stil a few spots open and we would love to see your smiling faces. Call 216-589-0007 to reserve your families spot today. xo

But I'm a Cheerleader

When my daughter asked me to start cheerleader after seeing the big girls cheer after her gymnastics class I felt a little part of my insides die. I had always had trouble with the sport and in my junior high years I had come face to face with rejection when I tried out for our school's brand new cheerleading squad. I face planted during a cartwheel and my dreams of hanging out with popular girls instantly died (and thank god they did, those girls were bitches).

So when my sweet baby girl asked me if she could switch from gymnastics to cheerleading, I hesitated and balked. I made excuses of why gymnastisc was better. You can be in the Olympics Lou! You can make faces like this and get to hang out with the President of the United States! All being cheerleader will get ya is a cheating husband and great abs.

Who wants that?

Having grown up with a mom who had no interest in what I did or the promotion of my confidence and success I knew I had to let her make up her mind. She would have to give up gymnastics to pursue cheerleading and that is precisely what she did.

This weekend #teamsawyer headed to their first ever cheerleading competition. We packed the car and drove an hour & a half to Canton. We got there early and planned to eat some food before her meet however Canton seems to be a new American ghost town. As we drove next to the tumbleweed drifting down the empty streets our bellies rumbled. Having no luck finding food in this lonely ghost town, we parked and headed into the All Star Chill Out Cheer Competition.

In no way was I prepared for what we found as we walked through the Canton Civic Center doors. We walked into an exodus of cheerleaders. The Chef looked like he was gonna drop dead. Quickly feeling overwhelmed by the crowd we sat down to figure out what the fuck we were supposed to do. The Chef and boy were starving so they planned out their mission to find food. The girl and I had other plans, we needed to find her squad.

Getting her cheer on

After making our way thru the glittery sea of heavily makeup faced girls we found her Flurries. She jumped with excitement and the smile on her face exploded, our daughter was in love. My baby girl had turned into a cheerleader. Our world was about to get a lot more sparkly.

Louisiana had about an hour before the big event to practice with her team so I went to search for the Chef. I found him high up in the rafters hanging with the boy both emerged in an intense game of Super Mario Bros. I began to look around at all of the cheer spirit and I noticed the girls on the floor cheering.  As their routine ended the entire Civic Center errupted in joy. People cheered, bells rang, and everyone around us was on their feet. I had never heard something so loud. It felt as though the Cleveland Browns had just won the Super Bowl, that's how FREAKIN' loud it was. I peered down from the nosebleeds and saw that the entire squad leaving the floor had Down's Syndrome. The smiles on their faces lit up the auditorium as tears washed down my face. I had no idea how amazing this whole cheerleading thing could actually be. Another special needs squad followed suit, and then another, the celebration following each louder than the one before. In that moment I realized I was proud to be there.

It's so easy for us to judge the unknown. It's easy for me to see a grown woman in sparkly ugg boots, warmup pants, and a sweatshirt that boldly declares whose mom she is and giggle. In a sea of cheerleaders it's not hard to find something to snicker about. But when I saw those girls overcome put aside the challenges of their life in the form of a cheer I knew that I myself had become a #cheermom. 

I walked down to the front row, sat down proudly and watched my girl get her cheer on.