Sandy Volunteering and Donations Opportunities

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Hey everyone just a quick note to let you know we are OKAY. However, many are not – if you are looking for ways to help volunteer this weekend here in NYC – or live far away and want to donate, here is a list of everything we see locally going on!

(Includes friends and family I know affected – if you have someone or a link to share, comment it below and I will keep this updated and help spread the word!)

Brooklyn

  • Saturday, November 3, 2pm–6pm: 40 Volunteers are needed to help us go door to door to distribute information to homeowners about filing for federal disaster aid in Canarsie,Brooklyn. Space is limited, please RSVP to jjoseph@pubadvocate.nyc.gov.
  • Sunday, November 4, two shifts (9am-3pm and 3pm to 9pm): 60 volunteers needed to help Masiba of Flatbush prepare and distribute meals for 600 people. The morning shift is from 9am – 3pm and the afternoon shift is from 3pm from 9pm. Please email your desired shift (must choose one) to jjoseph@pubadvocate.nyc.gov
  • Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, 10am–2pm: Friends of Brower Park will do a general clean-up. Meet at the Park House. Feel free to show up. For more info, email friendsofbrowerpark@gmail.com
  • Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4: Councilman Jumaane Williams is looking for individuals with cars, trucks and/or vans that have sufficient gas to help deliver supplies to hard-hit residents. If you are willing and able please e-mail volunteersandy45th@gmail.com to coordinate.
  • Monday, November 5, 12pm–5pm: Assemblyman Karim Camara will need help sorting donations at his district office and distributing supplies across the borough. Please email 43sandyhelp@gmail.com to volunteer.
  • Saturday, November 3, 10 am: volunteers are needed to help clean up Red Hook. Please report to the Office of Emergency Management’s temporary office at 402 Van Brunt Street for an assignment.
  • Saturday, November 3, 9 am to 6 pm: Help with resident and merchant outreach, area clean-up, and other relief efforts. Meet on the Boardwalk and W. 10 Street at 9am. Dress warmly, wear sturdy footwear or boots, and bring work gloves. Bring your own flashlight (with extra batteries), a backpack, and snacks/water for yourself for the day.
  • Saturday, November 3, 9am to sunset: Please help us clean up Seagate. Volunteers should come prepared with gloves, high boots, and cleaning supplies and meet at 3700 Surf Avenue. At the gate please identify yourselves as volunteers from the Public Advocate’s Office. Jeff and Tammy will be on hand to organize volunteers. Please contact the Shomrim Command Center with any questions, 718-705-9666.

Manhattan

  • Saturday, November 3, 9am–6pm: volunteers are needed to check-in on and assist the residents of Stuyvesant Town. Head to the Peter Cooper Village Community Center located in Stuyvesant Town (enter on 16th street and 1st Ave) to check-in and receive an assignment.
  • Saturday, November 3, 10am–5pm: Join Senator Daniel Squadron at the Rutgers Community Center located at 200 Madison Street in the Lower East Side for clean-up, and food and water distribution.
  • Saturday, November 3, 10am-1pm: Help clean-up Riverside Park. Meet at one of the following 3 locations and please bring extra gloves and garbage bags: 99th Street along the Hudson River (check-in with Hakim Constantine); Pier I and 70th Street (check-in with Sally Miller); or 138th Street and 12th Avenue.
  • Sunday, November 4, 12pm–3:30pm: Help clean-up Riverside Park. Meet at 91st St and Riverside Drive and please bring extra gloves and garbage bags (check-in with Nya Jackson).
  • Saturday, November 3, 10am-5pm: Help GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) at their office on 169 Avenue B between 11th street and 10th street.

Queens

  • Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, 10am–7pm: The Rockaway Youth Task Force will be doing daily clean-up and recover efforts. Meet at F 321 Beach 57th Street in the back of the building on Arverne BOulevard. For additional information e-mail info@rytf.org.

Staten Island

  • Saturday, November 3, 9 am: Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis will be holding a clean-up in Staten Island. People will gather at the end of New Dorp Lane and Cedar Grove Avenue. Volunteers should bring any tools that may have (rakes, shovels, push brooms, work gloves, trash bags). Those who are unable to work the clean-up can donate equipment (brooms, rakes, garbage bags, shovels) at Monsignor Farrell High School at 2900 Amboy Road.

DONATIONS

  • Red Hook Initiative is accepting donations at their center located at 767 Hicks Street (corner of West 9th Street) from 10am–8pm. They are in need of the following items: gasoline, water pumps, flashlights, candles, batteries, blankets, cleaning supplies (bleach, gloves, mops, etc.) and contractor strength garbage bags.
  • The shelter at Susan Wagner High School (1200 Manor Road, Staten Island) is in need of school supplies for children of all ages. Please bring supplies directly to the school between 10am and 5pm daily.
  • NYPD Community Affairs Unit is collecting donations at Resorts World Casino at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd in Jamaica, Queens (enter from 109th Street & Rockaway Blvd). They are in need of canned goods, water, paper goods, baby care products, clothing, toiletries, flashlights, backpacks and batteries. Questions can be directed to the Community Affairs Bureau at 646-610-5323 or via email communityaffairs@nypd.org.
  • Assemblyman Karim Camara is hosting a Product Donation at his district office. They are in need of cleaning supplies, toiletries and personal care items, baby products, and school supplies. Please bring items to his district office 1216 Union Street between Nostrand and Rogers, on Saturday, November 3 from 12 pm to 4 pm.
  • Friends of Firefighters are collecting Empty cardboard boxes and plastic shopping bags to deliver donations in, children and adult clothes – especially warm clothes, blankets, school supplies, bottled water and thermoses of hot drinks, non perishable food, toiletries, hand sanitizer, working gloves, generators, pumps and gasoline. Drop off this Saturday, November 3 & Sunday, November 4 between 10AM – 3PM at 5306 Avenue L, Brooklyn, NY 11234.
  • Make the Road NY is accepting food, warm clothing, blankets, flashlights, batteries, diapers, baby formula — anything useful for families in the areas hardest hit by the storm at the following offices:
    • 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond, Staten Island, (718) 727-1222, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
    • 1090 Suffolk Avenue, Brentwood, Long Island, (631) 231-2220, Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm
    • 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens, (718) 565-8500, Saturday, 10am -6pm
    • 301 Grove Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn, (718) 418-7690, Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm.
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FROM NYC SERVICE:

NYCHA Emergency Resource Distribution Volunteers
Several NYCHA developments have been without power and have residents in need of food and water.  The City has coordinated with the National Guard and other agencies to set-up resource stations that will have food and water that can be distributed to these communities from accessible locations tomorrow, Sunday and Monday.  Volunteers will include emergency response personnel, staff from federal and municipal agencies, elected officials and community members.

We will be distributing food at the sites listed below.  We are especially looking for volunteer support in Coney Island and the Rockaways.  Distribution will run from 1pm to 4pm Saturday (tomorrow), Sunday and Monday.  Volunteers should be ready to work outdoors.  Please register before reporting to distribution sites.

Follow this link to register to assist in this crucial effort:
https://a002-oom03.nyc.gov/IRF/EventRegistration/RegForm.aspx?eventGuid=9d053754-8b64-4e7d-a4b7-2c27a53aeca1

**NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO DISTRIBUTION AT QUEENS – ASTORIA- Hallets Cove, Vernon Blvd and 30th Road.  PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR OR REPORT TO THIS SITE.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

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So if you didn’t know (cause I definitely didn’t know) – it is tradition to shave the heads of newborn babies in the Latino culture. Well, maybe not all – but Claudio’s family is Uruguayan and Guatemalan and they both agree to it!

***UPDATE: I’m out here in Long Island thanks to Frankenstorm and I asked his dad directly about it – I am wrong – actually Guatemalans are AGAINST it as they think it will cause the child to not want to talk, and they even knew a child who didn’t talk till he was 4 who got the head shaved, coincidence??—no worries in Maximo he never stops chatting it up— and in Uruguay, they always shave it mostly because it is just going to fall off anyways – since newborns who are born with hair lose it anyways – aka like max’s balding spots below haha). Apparently, this old wives tale makes their hair grow in thicker so they won’t bald later in life. Well, have you SEEN Latino hair?? I mean it is pretty thick and silky, and I don’t see a lot of balding latino men – hellllo Enrique — so maybe they know something the rest of the scientific advanced world of balding doesn’t?!  I LOVED Maximo’s hair when he was first born – it was sooo cute, so I fought tooth and nail to keep it. I couldn’t imagine shaving off all that beautiful hair! Claudio would always tease me and scare me that it was going to go Barnhart!!!
Nope. Never going to Happen.

Well, as Maximo was turning 3 months old – I realized that BOTH of us were starting to lose our hair. Yep that’s right moms! Get ready for the 3-month-your-hair-starts-to-fall-out-point-when-3-months-later-you-think-pregnancy-problems-are-finally-over.

Maximo’s was rubbing off where his was rubbing on his sleeper at night. awwweeeeeeeee haha (he will KILL me for sharing this photo when he’s older – )

So I caved- I couldn’t stand Maximo having a balding line at 3 months already – so I said – go ahead dad!! Well, I admit, I shed a tear. It was hard to watch – but Maximo seemed to LOVE IT. I mean, there isn’t much this kid DOESN’T like haha – so it made it a lot easier – so let me introduce the newly shaved Maximo:
***Update*** It’s been two weeks and it’s starting to grow back! Yay! He looks like a little Biff from Back to the Future. LOL

Garlic Garlic Everywhere

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I realize my blog is titled “Food, Football and Motherhood.” Guess which one is taking up all my time these days – or ask my Fantasy Football leagues since they’re getting lucky that I can’t devote as much time to crushing them and making the championships again this year.

I also find that instead of being able to blog as much as I wish I could – I try to organize ideas in my head and say “YES!” best next blog – and then I fall back asleep at 4 am and it never happens. So I do a few back-to-back blogging – and some are a little past their due dates. (the journalist in me CRINGES) But this one is worth returning to!

Now, if I talked about it more often, you would know that my other passion really IS FOOD. I love food. Too much. In fact, I moved to NYC JUST FOR THE FOOD. I swear. Have you lived here?! There is pretty much every single ethnicity on the planet crammed into this tiny island and I personally get to try out all their specialties. Seriously, you want to know where to eat in NYC, you give me a call— when you have some time to chat cause it’ll be a while! lol
But as always, motherhood gets the best of me, and you know my hidden passion is travel. (food and travel – anthony bourdain is retiring – hmmmmm Travel Channel??? Yes I am available! How about a new show with a mom and baby doing FAMILY fun around the world while teaching your child culture? SOLD!)

So we got offered a chance to leave the city again with our Dominican “twins” to see a Garlic Fest in Upstate New York. A Garlic fest? Yes – you heard right. And it’s right up in the hills where Woodstock too place. Sounds like a good road trip to me! So we also invited our Jersey friends/ Michigan State road trippers Manny and Diana and thier son Sebby to join us two hours north for some food and fun out of the city.
It was late September, so the leaves were just beginning to change – and since I am a lover of 4 seasons, the drive itself was well worth it!

So. Ask yourself – what possibly can you add garlic to? Oh, well, let me widen your perspective…

Garlic Ice Cream anyone?

Also – it was cloudy and rainy, the perfect fall day except the New Yorker has taken over me and I decided to wear my favorite pair of Toms to tromp through a mile of woods and mud to get to fairgrounds from the parking lot. Carrying a 12 lb baby doesn’t help the light step in the mud either. **sigh**

But spending a fun day in upstate was worth it – as well as the GARLIC SHOOTERS! giddy up! perogies, stuffed cabbage, garlic ice cream, garlic buttered corn on the cob, garlic cookies YEP!), garlic cheese (i brought home for later!), garlic bread, garlic empanadas (yes! culture LOL),….the list goes on.

If you want to join us next year, here is a link to the information and location! It’s definitely worth keeping on your list! (P.S. they have a whole kids area for face painting, crafts and games – Sebby loved it, and Maximo will too when he’s a bit older!)

Hudson Valley Garlic Fest in Saugerties, NY (September 28th and 29th, 2013!) Put it in yer calendars!

What they DON’T teach you at Lamaze Class

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Last week we had our Lamaze class reunion – yep three months later you all come back with you babies – it really is pretty cool to see all the new babies an hear all the labor stories.

However Claudio and his dad-in-crime Mike were chatting loudly in the hall and were shushed by another classes teacher because they were going to scare the parents-to-be with their horror stories. Lol —- listen I WISH I had attended a reunion BEFORE giving birth. Our stories were real, raw and honest – nothing like those 1980s videos they show where the lady didn’t need an epidural but sure needed a good Brazilian wax!

Don’t know what to expect in labor? Just sit in on our reunion and you’ll go in like a pro! Know what to ask for, what you’ll get away with with the nurses and of course, yes ladies – the dreaded truth – all first time moms will have some tearing. Sorry to break it to you.

Best line of the evening? ” My flower now has more petals.”

So anyways – it was good to see everyone – and even though there were some scary moments – we all agreed it was worth it to have these beautiful loving babies in our arms.

So here are the before an after shots – pretty cool huh?

And yes, If you’re contemplating Lamaze class – it’s worth every dollar. You learn a few new tips, get to prepare with your baby daddy, and make new friends along the way! Jess and I still hang out once a week!m (If you want the name of our teacher here in NYC – email me and I’ll shoot you her information!)

But if you really want your money’s worth – find out when the prior classes reunion is – and crash that party.

young love…..

Stephanie vs. the NYC Subway – Danger! Turnstile Ahead!

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I’m about to change my blog to “the adventures of Maximo” – babies are like little mini Christopher Colombus’ — only cooler. Ohhhh to only here the stories I recap from his point of view – I wonder what he’d say?

Probably just “my mom is a $&%^$&$# lunatic dont mess with her.” End of story.

Take this weeks adventure for example -

Now I don’t consider myself high maintenance by any means – well, maybe a little I mean I AM female. But, I just don’t know how people got around before GPS, cell phones, maps or cars. NYC is a cluster f*&% of zig zags, cabs and lethal bike riders all just waiting to take you out or steal your money. For the tourist, this is a dangerous arena, but for the average New Yorker, it’s a rather daily entertaining experience. This is until I decided to take Maximo in the stroller – an the subway.

It was the day of our Lamaze reunion (can you believe it’s been 3 months already?) so I thought it would be a nice day to spend in the city with fellow Lamaze classmate and mom Jessica. I needed a few things for Maximo and said we should hit up Buy Buy Baby prior to class. Excellent idea!

Now, Jessica and I both parked and met up on 60th street next to Roosevelt Hospital. However, BBB is on 25th. I said…should I drive? Jess said nah – let’s take the subway! Of course! Why wouldn’t we?! We were New Yorkers and seen strollers on the subway before. (I pause here to mention a while back while preggo I wrote a post on how moms carry their strollers up and down subway stairs and no one helps them…..)

So of course first we stopped for Starbucks and to map it out. You see- only a FEW of the subway stations are “handicap accessible” meaning they have elevators and doors you can open to pass through not just turnstiles. Because trust me, you don’t want to get off a stop and then realize you can’t even fit through the rotating turnstile. I’ve had this issue before with just shopping bags let alone a massive stroller!

So back to the map! We were at 60th and BBB is at 25th. The 23rd street station is NOT handicap accessible so we would have to get off at 34th street – Penn Station. Yes – the busiest station in NYC and still 10 blocks away from our destination. Ok we can do this – we marched out into the cold, coffee in hand and……… What’s that? Is that a big yellow sign that says out of order?!
F&*($#&$# serious? How do we get down there?

We pondered for a minute. Ok we could help each other but that would mean leaving one baby alone at the top of the steps. No good.

What if we took them apart and carried baby in one hand, stroller in the other? Fuck – the coffee. I’m not wasting a $6 latte. No good.

Maybe if we just stand here long enough someone will help? No good.

The bus? We had less than two hours and its 445. Traffic would take hours. No good.

Sigh, as we walked away admitting defeat, it appeared – another elevator in front of Trump Towers! Ok let’s do this.

Now we’re underground but we need subway passes. Only two machines are working so we wait in line. I’m punching numbers in to get mine when I look over and see Jess running a dude over with her stroller shoving herself in front f him. “Hello I was here first! I know it’s hard to see me with my massive stroller and all!”

Great- now were off to the turn stalls. Another line to wait for the attendant to let us through. Did someone else serious just jump in front of us again while I was swiping my card? I’m starting to sweat.

Finally!!!!

Crap. More stairs down to the 1 train? F&$*#($&# serious?!

Jess shrieks as she spots another elevator and we literally sprint for it. Now I’m really sweating.

Finally on the platform. Where’s the damn 1 train?!?! The A train arrives- lets just take it it goes pretty much the se place! Ok – Jess is getting on and her wheel gets stuck! “HURRRRRRY!” I scream as I am picturing her getting on and me waiting outside as the doors shut and she is whisked off somewhere in NYC my cell phone can’t reach underground. But -phew- we made it! Victory!!! No kidding either – look at these stats of getting ‘stuck in the door’ provided by the Gothamist.

I breathe a sigh of relief and we laugh a little. Then I look out the window as we pull into the next stop. I just blankly stare at the 72nd street sign glaring back at me and tap Jess on the shoulder. Yep. Wrong way. My New Yorker card should be revoked right now. I quickly look at the map and freak out a little when I realize the next station with an elevator isn’t till 125th street – the Heights. That’s like 10 stops away.

We can’t just get off at the next stop because we would again face stairs at the very least to cross over to the downtown platform. WTF do we do?!

Just then the man sitting across from us chimes in “you girls seem lost. I have some time till I have to pick up my daughter so ill get off with you at the next stop and help you carry your strollers.” Did I just hear correctly?! Is there really still chivalry and it’s found 10 feet below NYC?!

We don’t even hesitate to ponder the question and were scrambling off at 81st street before one of us gets stuck on the train. Thanks to our subway savior Stephen though, he held the door open to make sure that didn’t happen.

And there we were – us, our babies, and our subway savior all clamoring back up the steps and into the rainy cold streets of New York – coffee still in hand!

With a look of exhaustion, I gained enough strength to say thank you just as he was walking away. Jess and I just looked at each other, wearily laughed it off – and started the 20 block walk back to the hospital.

We had accomplished nothing but a great story. And discovering that yes – good people still do exist in the world – even in a hard city like NYC. I hope Maximo reads this and grows up to be the man Stephen was that day. (Little Michael too!)
** All images are reenactments since in the moment, the last thing I was thinking about was snapping photos.

** This story is made possible by our subway Savior, Stephen Beede – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS FOR STRANGERS!!!!!!

Grocery Carts are Kid Friendly.

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I am in Pittsburgh for a few days to see friends and family and am already learning point blank how I have become a New Yorker in just a couple years. Not only have others commented on my “New Yorker accent” **sigh**  yesterday I informed Jamie that I could not go to the grocery store with Maximo alone because I wouldn’t be able to push a stroller AND a grocery cart by myself – so we were going to wait until today to go with her.

She just looked at me and asked, “Stephanie, what do you think single moms do?” I simply replied, “order online!”

Jamie rolled her eyes. “Stephanie – do you really think every mom outside of New York orders groceries online?”

I just shrugged. “How do they get groceries then? He is too little to sit up in kids seat…” I stated innocently.

“I am not even a mom and even I know car seats FIT in grocery carts. Reality check tomorrow – you me and Max are going grocery shopping. End of story.”

Oh Jamie, how I love you for dealing with me LOL… So today is my first “outing” in Giant Eagle with Maximo and car seat in the grocery cart. Back into my YINZER roots we go! Stay tuned for the outcome -

Maximo’s First Year

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Well since the progression of pregnancy photos were AMAZING – I figured we would do the same for his first year just to see how much he will change. It’s already been 9 weeks or TWO MONTHS tomorrow… and I feel like he’s already grown up!!  **sigh** so here they are – raw and untouched photos of Maximo – the first year!

Why Parents should live in a Tour Bus for the baby’s First Year.

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No one told me just how much STUFF kids need to travel – oh my. Now throw in the fact that I HATE to pack – absolutely HATE it, but love to travel and I have some new added stress in my life.

Being a mom is awesome, but learning all these little sneak-up-on-you-details are getting more frequent.

The Shawnee Inn – Poconos (PA)

We decided to take a few days with our twins (our Dominican friends) to the Poconos to see each other and the babies as well as spend some time in the country – we can all use a couple days out of the city! The Poconos are only an hour and a half away, so it’s close enough for the first trip to see how it goes. The place we booked is a cross between The Shining and The Great Outdoors – complimented by the bear scene as one ran right out in front of our SUV as we pulling in.

Rewind.

1. Well, I spent the ENTIRE day before packing. Maximo is only 10 lbs and breast feeding so you would THINK he’d only need diapers. I thought to myself – this will be quick – Oh no. Reality check – the vehicle was so full of stuff we barely fit in the tiny little bags Claudio and I packed for ourselves. I had spare outfits, matching outfits, towels, the stroller, the CARRIER so I can walk, warm outfits, cold outfits, blankets, his sleeper. The list goes ON. I mean, at this point, first time parents should just live their first year in a tour bus – because you literally need to take everything the baby owns with you everywhere you go.

2. The car ride. Now, don’t get me wrong I am ALL about safety. But as a child myself – I remember riding in the middle seat of a truck. Was there even a seat? I think I sat on the console?! And I turned out fine. (IRONICALLY there is no photo evidence of this – well I bet there is hidden deep somewhere in my mom’s attic – but who’s going to go get that for me? LOL) So the fact that Maximo is all strapped up in his car seat drives him crazy – and me crazy. He hates to be confined. This makes for a long trip and frazzeled Stephanie. Add to the fact he despises a wet diaper and well, we have a lot of pit stops. And a lot of crying.

3. You still forget something. Since we don’t happen to HAVE a tour bus, we of course, forget something. This was the bug net. Have you ever gone into the woods in the summer right next to a river when the West Nile virus is rampant and your baby hasn’t had his shots yet? Yep, we have!!!! So smores by the fire were short lived. Thankfully, we brought more outfits than needed so we could share with our friends (that was their “something to forget”).

4. Check the size of your room before you book. You would think living in NYC we are used to small quarters. Apparently not because when we saw the size of our room, my heart sank. No WAY would we fit everything in it. Down to the front desk we go – excuse me, we’re first time parents and brought our entire lives with us? You don’t happen to have rooms the size of Texas do you? Well maybe they found out about my blog because we got a pretty sweet upgrade to a suite – a whole separate living area! SCORE!

Other than that – we had a blast! It was fun to see green and mountains and BEARS! Did I really forget to mention a $%&*( BEAR ran out in front of our SUV as we were pulling in? OH yeah. haha.

Maximo’s First Laugh

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Well Maximo’s godmother came up to spend a week with us and help me transition into motherhood – Jamie AKA the baby whisperer if you didn’t know that already – and somehow we were able to capture this rare moment – his first laugh.

As any proud mother would do = I am sharing it with the world. Feel free to tune in anytime you are having a bad day, feeling sad or just want to see something totally innocent and priceless. It guarantees a smile every time!

(CLICK IMAGE TO PLAY THE VIDEO)

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