Monday, October 17, 2011

Bruegger's and Children's Miracle Network Kick Off Bottomless Mug Campaign

The Bruegger's Bottomless Mug Campaign is back!

Each year, Bruegger's offers membership in its Bottomless Mug Club for $139 (depending on location). Members receive a Travel Mug, wallet card or keytag and receive free, limitless refills of coffee, tea or soda throughout the following year.

And for the second year, Bruegger's has partnered with Children's Miracle Network to make the Bottomless Mug even more special. For every mug purchased from October 27, 2011 through January 31, 2012, Bruegger's will donate a portion of the proceeds to Children's Miracle Network benefitting local children's hospitals throughout the country. This year, Bruegger's hopes to raise $100,000 for Children's Miracle Network.

To kick off this great campaign, Bruegger's will host Free Coffee Day on November 9th at their over 300 locations across the country. They are inviting guests to come in and enjoy a piping hot cup of Bruegger's coffee and asking them to make a donation to their local Children's Hospital in return. All money collected will be given back to that location's neighborhood hospital.

So, why not plan on getting your caffeine (and bagel) fix while supporting a great cause? I know I will!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gatorade's BECOME Campaign and Giveaway

One of the highlights of my trip to BlogHer 11 in San Diego was attending the Gatorade event and meeting Sarah Robb O'Hagan, President of Gatorade, Loreane Tomlinson, LaDainian Tomlinson's mom, Leslie Bonci, Pittsburgh Steelers nutritionist/dietician and Brandi Chastain, professional American soccer player.

During this very informative session, they all spoke about the importance of participating in sports and its positive impact on children's health and overall development. I also learned about Gatorade's BECOME Campaign. Gatorade and the Women's Sports Foundation are looking for moms to take the pledge to support young athletes on their quest to BECOME.

When you take the Pledge:
  • Gatorade will donate $1.00 up to $10,000 to the Women's Sports Foundation for every pledge received at in support of girls' and women's sports.
  • Click "take the pledge now" on the main Gatorade Moms page.
  • The donation will help ensure there are opportunities for all children who want to get physically active, get involved in competitive athletics, and get in the game.
I have taken the Pledge and I'm calling on you to do the same. Help spread the word about Gatorade's BECOME Campaign!

Gatorade's reps have offered to send one of my readers a soccer ball autographed by Brandi Chastain.

To enter: Take the Pledge and leave a comment below, along with an email address by 9:00pm (PST) on Friday, September 30. The winner will be chosen via and will be notified within 2 days via email.

I took the Pledge. Have you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lovable Labels Review and Giveaway

Alright. I admit it. I like labeling things. No….I LOVE labeling things. In fact, I look forward to the beginning of the school year. New backpacks. New lunch bags. New pencil cases. New school supplies and uniforms. New stuff that I then get to label.

As much as I love putting labels on my kids’ things, I haven’t been satisfied with the quality of the labels I’ve used in the past. By the third week of school, the labels will have already ripped, peeled, or fallen off.

While attending the Social Soiree event at BlogHer ’11 in San Diego, I discovered Lovable Labels and was given a pack of personalized labels in my Swag bag. I was skeptical at first, but the longer I used the labels, the more excited I became about the product. They actually stayed on and looked pretty as well.

Launched in 2003, Lovable Labels was started by a mom who recognized that there was a need for personalized labels that were tough, durable, and could withstand the test of time and children. Throughout the years, they have continued to develop innovative and useful products, many of which are a result of customers’ feedback.

Lovable Labels specialize in personalized labels and tags. They developed the best quality labels that are durable and beautiful. Their labels are waterproof, dishwasher and microwave safe, washer and dryer safe, bleach safe, sunscreen safe and temperature safe. Lovable Labels offers many types of labels including multipurpose sticker labels, shoe labels and clothing labels.

Not only are Lovable Labels durable, colorful, and affordable but they are also easy to find. You can order your labels online at Lovable Labels or if you prefer to talk to a live person, you can call 1-866-327-LOVE (5683). They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

I was given the Back To School pack to review. This pack comes with 15 regular sticker labels, 80 slimline sticker labels, 48 Press n’ Stick Clothing Dots, 12 Shoe labels, 2 mini Metal Tags (and twp 4” silver ball chains), and 12 Square labels. That’s a total of 165 labels! The tags and stickers can be personalized with your name and icons. Since I received them, I’ve been on a labeling rampage. I have stuck these cute labels on my kids’ backpacks, lunch bags, pencil bags, gym bags, uniforms, swim caps (yes, they have stayed on), and shoes!

I would love to share my new-found addiction. Lovable Labels has generously supplied us with a pack of "Back To School Pack" for one lucky winner! Thanks, Lovable Labels! Interested?

To enter: Go to the Lovable Labels website and leave us a comment (one per day only, please) telling us which one of their amazing product is your favorite! Once you've entered by leaving a comment, you can gain additional entries:

  • Follow @mylovablelabels and @SprMama on Twitter and tweet "WIN Back to School Pack" from @mylovablelabels . Leave us the link for extra daily entries.
  • ‘Like’ Lovable Labels on Facebook for one extra entry and write below that you are a new fan.
  • Follow The Not-So-Secret Life of a Super Mama via GFC.
  • Leave me your email address in the comment box below.
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave us the link for one extra entry.

To be legally eligible, you must be at least 18 years old. The contest is open to both US and Canada.

This giveaway will end on September 27, 2011 at midnight PST. The winner will be picked by and will be notified via Twitter and email (see why I asked you to leave your email address?) on September 29, 2011. The winner will then have 2 days to claim his/her prize which will be sent directly by Lovable Labels.

Let’s face it. Children will inevitably lose their things. Why not save some money and label their belongings?

Disclosure: The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mat Kearney: Young Love

Mat Kearney is a singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN. He has received critical acclaim for his debut album Nothing Left to Lose.

His most recent album, Young Love, was released on August 2, 2011. The songs on this album are a mix of pop, rock and acoustic.

While listening to the songs, especially Hey Mama, I couldn't help but smile and tap my foot to the beat of the music. The finger snaps and claps were so catchy, before I knew it, I was snapping and clapping along with the song!

We've all listened to songs about love, friendship and relationships. But there is something about Mat Kearney's songs, specifically Ships in the Night, Count On Me, Sooner or Later, and my favorite Learning to Love Again, that make them easy to relate to. There is a wonderful honesty in his lyrics which made it easy for me to connect with and understand the emotions he was conveying.

I loved listening to his album while driving around running errands or while cleaning my house. It made the task at hand a lot more bearable. My 4 year old LOVES Hey Mama so much, she gets up and dances whenever she hears it!

To learn more about Mat Kearney, including news and tour dates, visit The Official Mat Kearney Site. You can also find him on Facebook.

Mat Kearney's Young Love is available now on iTunes or you can also order it on

Happy Listening!

**This post was sponsored by One2One Network. I received a complimentary download of Young Love for my review. All opinions stated are my own.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beat Cancer Boot Camp Powered by Yurbuds

Yurbuds®, the leader in sports earphones designed by a triathlete and 23-time marathoner, has teamed up with Chris "Macca" McCormack, "World's Fittest Man" and two-time Ironman Champion to host the first-ever two-day Beat Cancer Boot Camp Powered by Yurbuds in NYC at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers.

Although this event is free to the public, a suggested $5.00 donation will benefit the Entertainment Industry Foundation's (EIF) Revlon Run/Walk for Women, which helps raise funds for multiple beneficiaries dedicated to cancer research, early detection, and support.

Each boot camp will be led by Anita "Sarge" Kellman, founder of the national Beat Cancer Boot Camp program, and hosted by a Yurbuds-sponsored athlete from the Ironman World Triathlon Corp., which endorses Yurbuds earphones, available at Apple stores, Best Buy, Sports Authority and more.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

11 a.m. to Noon Beat Cancer Boot Camp Workout

Yurbuds Host: Chris "Macca" McCormack, two-time Ironman World Champion, World's Fittest Man

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Beat Cancer Boot Camp Workout

Yurbuds Hosts: TJ Tollakson, 2011 Lake Placid Ironman Winner and Kyle "Epic" Mendoza, freerunning and parkour expert

WHERE: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers

Pier 60 at the West 20th Street Crosswalk, New York, NY

Please use the entrance located at the East end of the Pier

By Cab: Enter at 23rd Street & West Side Highway (11th Avenue)

REGISTER: Sign up now at!

MORE: Donate $20 or more to receive a pair of Yurbuds Iron Man Series headphones($59.99 value). For more information please visit and

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shainsware Review and Giveaway

Shains: Say It, Wear It, Mean It

While attending the Sweet Suite event at BlogHer11, I saw groups of grown women huddled around a table with bowls of colorful buttons which had either letters or symbols printed on them. It looked like they were making friendship bracelets. I decided to give it a try and see what all the fun was about. I must admit I had fun making a bracelet for my daughter. I found out that the company that was responsible for all the giggling, lively chatting, the colorful bracelets and little buttons is Shainsware.

Shainsware is the newest and coolest way to say and wear what you mean. Shains are customizable ec0-friendly fashion accessories for people of all ages and all walks of life. You can customize bracelets, necklaces, key chains, hair bands, belts and much more by arranging interchangeable letters and icons (called elements) to express yourself. They are also made from recycled and recyclable materials.

From the company:
Shains are recycled accessories that encourage and empower people to make their own statements and change them whenever they want! Shainsware, the company, is dedicated to producing eco-friendly products that are useful and empowering. We donate a percentage of net profits to environmental organizations. Shains products are made of recycled and recyclable parts and everything Shains produces is certified lead free. Shains packaging is also recycled and recyclable.

Everything Shains produces is tested and passes all US and European safety standards.

Shainsware has a full product line. My kids and I had so much fun personalizing bracelets and a
notebook. The notebook and bracelets are soft and very pliable. The elements are easy to put in and very colorful. My kids have gone swimming while wearing the bracelets, the elements don't come loose!

My 7 year old son loved the Jane Goodall Save the Animals Kit. This kit comes with the bracelet and 50 formerly endangered species icons.

My 4 year old personalized a bracelet with the Starter kit. This kit comes with a bracelet and 60 elements which includes the entire alphabet and 7 cool icons.

My 12 year old wanted to customize a notebook he can use to jot down ideas and quick sketches. The Notebook kit comes with a notebook with 50 sheet of unlined recycled art quality paper and 60 elements. The Shains Notebook has been names Winner of 2011 Creative Child Kids Product of the Year!

I'd like to share this great product with you with not just one, but 3 giveaways! So that means 3 chances to win and 3 winners!! You get your CHOICE OF:

1. Bracelet Starter Kit with 60 Elements (the entire alphabet and 7 cool icons)
2. Jane Goodall Save the Animals Kit with 50 Formerly Endangered Species icons
3. Notebook with 60 Elements and 50 sheets of unlined paper.

To enter, you must complete the Mandatory Entry Requirements and leave a comment after each requirement is completed.

1. Follow me @SprMama on Twitter
2. Join this site via GFC
3. Visit Shainsware site and tell me what you like best about Shains.
4. Follow @Shainsware on Twitter
5. Leave a comment and tell me which one of the 3 sets you would like if you win
6. Like Shainsware on Facebook (No Facebook account? State in Comment section)
7. Tweet about this giveaway

This Giveaway will end on September 2, 2011 at midnight PST. The winner will be drawn via and notified. The winner will have 2 days to respond. Otherwise, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck! I know you will love Shainsware as much as we have!

**I was given the three products featured in this post for review by the company. All opinions expressed are mine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This school year, son #2 will be receiving his First Holy Communion. Next year, my daughter will be starting kindergarten. And in two years, son #1 will be starting high school. Although I love watching them grow, I wish I could keep them little and carefree forever.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:


A year and a half after bridging into Boy Scouts, he is now a Star scout. This is what my 12 year old son's Merit Badge sash looks like.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time Island Review and Giveaway

Time Island is an educational online game aimed at children 6-10 years old. My 7 year old son received an awesome bag filled with stickers, wrist bands, a bandana, tattoos, and a pair of sunglasses as well as an opportunity to try out the game.

This virtual learning game takes place on a deserted island inhabited by Goggs. The goal of the game is to outsmart the Goggs and survive by completing certain tasks and solving mini-riddles. Before starting the game, my son created his avatar and named it. As he played, he explored other island habitats like beaches, caves, and lagoons. He not only had to outsmart the Goggs, he also had to take care of his avatar. He had to maintain his avatar’s hygiene, feed it, and clean his hut. He was also able to earn Time Chips in order to buy clothes, decorate his avatar’s house and other items which are needed to survive on Time Island. Although Time Chips are great to have to purchase items, the game encourages your child to find items through exploration and ingenuity.

There is also an option for your child to interact with other players on Time Island in a monitored and safe environment. They can communicate with other players using emoticons, pre-defined sentences, or regular chat (if you allow it). Curse words are also automatically removed. You, as a parent, can even create an account to track your child’s activity on Time Island.

I really love the graphics and colors in the game. What I loved most about Time Island is that the games are designed to teach skills like hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, and logic. Since it is still in its early stages of development, there were a few glitches. The game, at times, was a bit slow to load and it wasn’t always clear what to do next. This games has great potential and I can’t wait to see how it is improved.

To learn more about the game, visit

Time Island on Facebook

Time Island on YouTube

Now for the fun stuff...the giveaway! You can win the same swag bag my son received: green drawstring bag with the Time Island logo on it filled with Time Island stickers, tattoos, wrist bands, a bandana, and a pair of sunglasses. This giveaway will close at midnight (PST) on 8/23. The winner will be announced here and notified via email. The winner will then have 48 hours to claim the prize, otherwise another winner will be drawn. The Mandatory Entry must be completed first, otherwise the Bonus Entries do not count. Please leave one comment per entry. Leave your email address so you can be notified if you win.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Time Island and let me know what you or your kids like best about the game.

Bonus Entries:

1. Follow me publicly via GFC

2. Follow me on Twitter

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a link to the tweet in the comment box:

@SprMama giveaway: Win a Time Island game prize pack

4. Like Time Island on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a prize pack in exchange for reviewing Time Island online game. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brain Boosting Reading Games by Kabongo

Studies have shown that students lose over two months of knowledge over the summer. This is why I love games and activities that engage my kids. I was elated when I heard about a site called Kabongo. GoGo Kabongo is a free online learning game developed for kids 4-7 years old.

What does GoGo Kabongo teach?

Kabongo games do not teach with “right” and “wrong” answers. Instead, they guide children toward better thinking by using an exciting, engaging game design. Children use a wide variety of critical-thinking and problem-solving strategies to play and progress.

Kabongo consists of brain-boosting games which help kids become confident readers by building cognitive skills such as attention and focus, memory skills, processing, comprehension, visualization, and planning.

I signed up my 4 and 7 year old kids to play Kabongo. They were both mesmerized by the game's sounds and colors, a well as the customizable characters. Kabongo has three different games in each habitat, each with six levels. My 4 year old is beginning to read, so I was afraid that she may get frustrated with some of the games. Not so. I quickly discovered that the game advances at my child's pace.

In Kabongo, as my kids played the reading games, they had fun looking for fun-loving characters. They explored different habitats and discovered gags, treasure hunts and surprises. They were able to decorate their own tree house by filling it with cool collectibles that they earned as they played. They earned stickers then used them to make their own comic book. My 7 year old figured out how to add pictures and audio bubbles to customize certain scenes.

I personally love the Parent Dashboard where I was able to access my kids' activity reports and printable activities like mazes, connect the dots and coloring pages. My kids are having so much fun playing Kabongo, they don't realize they are actually learning! I have noticed a lot of improvement in my 4 year old's reading skills. Although my 7 year old was already an advanced reader when he started playing Kabongo, I found that he was applying his critical thinking skills when he played the games.

You want to know the best part? Your child can start playing GoGo Kabongo today for free with full access to the Laughter Lake habitat. For a very reasonable one-time cost of $4.95 each, you can expand your child's learning with two additional habitats: Galaxy Gardens and Twister Top. If you sign up now, you get Galaxy Gardens for free. You only have to pay $4.95 for Twister Top. But you have to hurry because this is a limited time offer.Head on over to GoGo Kabongo and sign up for your free subscription. Don't forget to add on Twister Top for only $4.95. And while you're at it, check out Kabongo on Facebook and Twitter.

*I did not receive financial remuneration for this review. I did receive a product sample for evaluation purposes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

You're going where?

That's what my husband said when I expressed an interest in going to BlogHer. That was November.

I wanted to attend BlogHer in New York last year, but I could not fathom spending that much on myself. So when I found out this year's conference is in San Diego, a 2 hour drive for me, BlogHer was definitely doable. So by December, I had purchased my ticket to BlogHer '11. There was no turning back.

I was excited! I will finally be learning how to grow my blog from those who have paved the way. I will finally be meeting people I've been interacting with on Twitter. I was giddy.

Then came another question from my husband, the devil's advocate: "Do you even know what these people look like?"

And another: "You're going around by yourself?"

These questions brought out all of my high school insecurities. I wanted to crawl back into my protective shell. I was having second thoughts.

I managed to push those thoughts aside and forced myself to socialize. I joined several forums (the ladies at MomSparkMedia forums have been a lifesaver!), and started following anyone who tweeted with the #BlogHer11 hashtag. As I read through hundreds of tweets and posts, I realized I wasn't alone. I will not be the only first-timer at the conference.

I was relieved...until I saw tweets about "exclusive" party invites. It felt like high school all over again. I was a nerd, a bookworm, a wallflower. I didn't go to dances or parties. Once again, I was on the outside looking in. I followed bloggers who were excited about being invited to parties sponsored by brands that I love and have used for years. I read about those who were being sponsored to go to BlogHer. I saw several hashtags which turned out to be other blogging conferences they were flying to or have just attended.

I. WAS. JEALOUS. And then fear crept in. I was so intimidated, I actually disconnected myself from social media. It took me a few days to shake it off. Then my 4 year daughter said, "Mommy, you're going to have so much fun. You're going to be with your friends."

Out of the mouths of babes. She was right.

So, in two weeks, I will be in San Diego attending BlogHer for the first (and hopefully, not the last) time. And I have resolved to do the following:

1. I will attend the sessions I feel will help me improve my blog.

2. I will leave my wallflower self at home, and borrow my daughter's social butterfly personality for a few days. I can't do anything about the nerd in me. Once a nerd, always a nerd. And proud of it!

3. I will hand out my business cards to fellow bloggers and brand reps and put myself out there.

4. Although my blog is a work in progress, I will be proud of it.

5. I will attend the official BlogHer parties. By the way, I did receive a couple of those coveted "private invitations." And I have met a fellow party-hopper, so I won't be alone.

6. And last, but not least, I WILL HAVE FUN!

So if you see someone looking lost and overwhelmed, with a badge that says @SprMama, please come up to me and say hi. I'll say hi back!

See you in San Diego!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Higher Is Better!"

When I was pregnant with my first child 13 years ago, I kept putting off having a baby shower because I was busy with work. I kept telling myself I will have enough time to get everything ready for the new baby. Before I knew it, I was in labor 10 weeks early. I had NOTHING for him. No baby clothes, car seat, stroller, all the necessities for our little bundle of joy.

While my new baby was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at our local hospital, my husband and I spentthe next 2 months buying everything we needed for him. I felt absolutely rushed! I had no time to do my usual in-depth product research. I didn't have time to read product reviews and safety notices pertaining to the items we were purchasing. We didn't know when he would be released from NICU so we had tohave everything ready.

It seemed our choices were narrowed down to two of the most popular brands at the time. We bought the full size stroller and car seat combo. We were so happy with the stroller we bought another set when our second son was born 5 years later. This time, I didn't feel like I had to read any of the reviews because I already had a set and I liked it.

When we found out I was pregnant with our third child, I was secretly hoping for a girl. I could not wait for my baby to reveal to us if she was a girl or boy. When I found out we had a princess in the making, I was beyond ecstatic! I wanted something different and special to set her apart from all the other little girls we knew. She was, after all, my precious little princess.

I started doing my research. I came across an article about a stroller called Stokke Xplory. I went to our local Babies R Us shops and other little baby boutiques around us. They had never heard of it! So, I turned to the internet. I had found EXACTLY what I had been looking for. It was as if Stokke read my wishlist and constructed a stroller just for me. For years, I always wished the seats in my kids' strollers were higher. I wanted to be able to see them while I was pushing the stroller. Since I am vertically challenged (4'10''!), I wanted something that was adjustable and easier to push, something not too bulky.

The Stokke Xplory nailed every single wish! I couldn't believe it!! I love that the Xplory brings the child closer to the parent. Their tagline is right. "Higher is better!!!" This is something I looked for in a stroller because I wanted my child to be able to see me, not strangers' behinds while we were out and about. I like the fact that with the Xplory, parent and child develop a stronger bond. This, in turn, builds the child's self-esteem and sense of security.

We've owned our original red Xplory for over four years now. Since then, we've acquired a second Xplory, this time in green. It' even more striking with the Forest Olive accessories kit.

We absolutely love it! We take it everywhere we go. My daughter sits up high and has the same view of her surroundings as I do. It is very easy to maneuver. Despite its appearance, the Xplory is very stable. Perhaps my husband's favorite feature is the adjustable handlebar. He is a whole foot taller than I am, so he loves that he can raise the bar when he pushes the Xplory. And I love the fact that I can adjust the bar so that I am not resting my chin on it.

Not only is the Xplory seat height adjustable, it can also be turned so that is forward facing. This comes in handy when we eat at restaurants. I have never used restaurant high chairs because I am a germaphobe. With my first two children, I always carried a portable high chair, but that was very cumbersome! With the Stokke Xplory, all I have to do is turn the seat around and lower the seat itself so that my daughter can join us at the table.

Wherever we go, without fail, I hear complete strangers murmuring about how cool and different the stroller looks. They stop us and comment on the stroller. Some ask detailed questions about it. Oftentimes, people notice the Xplory before they notice my beautiful daughter. I love the Stokke Xplory so much, I stop and have conversations about this stroller. I even do a little demo if they ask nicely!

This stroller is an investment that grows with my child because the harnesses and footrests are adjustable. She is so happy and feels so secure in it. It is the only stroller my daughter will ever use. And when we have another baby, the Stokke Xplory will be the only stroller he or she will need! This stroller IS a head-turner. Be prepared to be the center of attention everywhere you go!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Open Letter...

I don't push my child to excel, he does that on his own. He sets goals and overshoots them. I don't sit in his classes, do his group work and take his tests, nor do I do his homework or projects. His grades and achievements are his and his alone. As hard as he works, he plays even harder. He is a clown. His room is sometimes messy. He has to be reminded to make his bed and clean his bathroom. He plays his music so loud, I can't hear myself think. And when he wants to sleep in, a jackhammer by his ear wouldn't wake him. Best of all, he is a sweet and caring person who just happens to be goal-oriented.

Why can't you be happy for him? Why do you feel the need to make fun of me, and more importantly, of him?

If it was your child, I would be the first in line to congratulate him and say job well done.

What if the tables were turned? Would you be hurt if I made fun of your child's accomplishments? Would you be angry if you found out people speculated about whether or not you are the one doing your child's work for him?

Can we all please cut the negativity and the bitterness and instead concentrate on the positive? Please don't compare our children. My son is good at a lot of things, but he also knows there are many more who are better than he is.

As parents, we should not be comparing our children to others. We are all different and special in our own ways. We need to emphasize our children's positive points and remind them everyday that they are special.

I'm a proud mama! (And I'm not ashamed to admit it!)

Several not-so-subtle jabs have been thrown my way because I often post about my kids and their achievements. It probably bothers some people, some may see it as bragging. I don't post to brag. I write about their achievements because I am extremely proud of who they are and what they are accomplishing on their own. I don't do their work for them. I don't push them to join competitions and sports activities. They choose to do those things on their own. I simply encourage them to do their best.

Son #1 was a preemie. He was born 10 weeks early, weighing in at a little over 3 pounds. The first two months of his life were touch and go. He spent two months in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, coming home in time for Christmas. During his first year at home, he was hooked up to an apnea machine whenever he slept. For the first two years of his life, he was playing developmental catch-up with babies and toddlers who were born full-term. Son #2 was also a preemie, born 6 weeks early, weighing 5 pounds. I had to have an emergency c-section because my water had already broken and I didn't know. And to make the situation more precarious, he was in a breach transverse position. Although he only spent two weeks in the hospital's Step-Down Unit, he was poked and prodded everyday to make sure he was ok before being sent home.

They are my miracles. They have faced so many challenges just in their first two years of life. Everyday is an accomplishment. Everything they do is memorable. I will not hold them back from trying a new sport or joining an art contest, a science fair, a musical production. They excel at everything they do because they work hard. They are naturally good kids. I don't have to ask them or order them to be good kids. They just are.

Am I a proud of them because they win and do well? Of course, I am. What parent wouldn't be?

But what I am most proud of is that they are happy, healthy, caring and respectful human beings. I thank God for blessing me with my three kids. I am a better person because of them.