Dedicated to Joshua Kaye #ThisIsForJosh

I have four children.  It isn’t very often that I get to spend one on one time with any of them.  I had the opportunity today to spend the whole day with my youngest son who is 7.

I had to work a little bit in the AM.  I had no choice but to work, so I let him have some bonus tv time.

He kept asking me, “you almost done?” “Can we play now?”  I was engrossed in work and REALLY wanted to keep working until I was finished, but because I knew I was wasting precious one on one time with my baby, I did the bare minimum (per usual it seems).

When I was finished, I asked him what he would like to do and he chose playing out in the back yard.  So we played catch, tennis, soccer and he wanted me to watch him do some soccer ball tricks.

We then went to the mall to buy a few last minute gifts for his older brother who is turning 14 tomorrow.  When we finished doing what we had to do I, once again, turned the power to my little 7 year old.  I told him he was in charge and I would follow his lead.

He opted for ice cream first.  Well, it is actually frozen yogurt, but because of my families food allergies to peanuts and tree-nuts (to name a few), we are pretty limited with what is safe for us. We sat together and ate our ice cream.  I refrained from pulling out my phone. I sat, in silence, with him while we ate and he chatted about what he wanted to chat about.

Next we went to Build-A-Bear.  For the record- I NEVER say yes to building a bear.  We have too many stuffed animals in the house, it is too expensive (for me with four kids) and I just never say yes.  Because he was in charge today, I was willing to splurge.  He chose a $16.00 bear.  No noises, no smells, no clothes, not even a certificate.  His wants are so sweet and simple, he just wanted the softest, cuddliest bear they had.  My heart was so filled with love.  Again, I refrained from pulling out my phone while waiting.

Next he just wanted to walk around and hold my hand.

 

Holding-Childs-Hand

After we left the mall, we had to pick up his sister at a very crowded beach, met up with his 2 older brothers and had a fun filled evening with friends at Coco Keys water park.  It was busy and chaotic, just like our normal life.

I dedicate this day to my dear friends’ child, Joshua Kaye, who is no longer with us.   Losing him taught me that the time we have right now is all we have.

I put off a lot of things for later that I just don’t get to.  One thing that sticks in my mind was a giant princess puzzle that my daughter got for her birthday when she was 4.  She LOVED that puzzle.  It was life-sized and the pieces were big.  Water spilled on it and the pieces got all warped.  I took the pieces and put them flat under a large pile of heavy books.  I told her they would probably flatten out over time.  She asked me daily for those pieces, asking if they were ready yet.  Day after day after day.  I got frustrated she asked me so frequently.

Then, one day- a few years later-  I was cleaning up and (woah!) there were those puzzle pieces. Three years had past.  She no longer wanted them.  It was such a simple thing I could have done to make a 4 year old happy.  I could have just checked on the stupid pieces to see if they are ready yet for her, but no- I was too busy.  You only have now.

Yes, I was on my phone today. I texted, looked things up, and got some work done.  But, I was also very aware of the here and now.  I made my 7 year old really happy.  He feels so very special that he got to see what his big brother is getting for his birthday before everybody else and we got some amazing one-on-one time.

I dedicate this and most of my days since Josh’s passing on July 7th 2014 to him.  There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t think of him and his family and how they wake up every single day without him.  I think about how courageous Josh’s parents are.  They made a decision that they must continue to really live their lives without their precious 8 year old son, for their two daughters.

Everything about Joshua’s death sickens me.  He should be here.  But he isn’t. (Read his story here and here.) Instead of walking around angry and sad all of the time, I try to be understanding, kind, and loving for my own kids.  I have learned to be more patient and, most of all, present.

Life with 4 kids, plus a small business, being an author, radio show co-host and blogger is busy and sometimes a blur, but I am taking one moment at a time and trying to do it with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

#ThisIsForJosh

For more information about Joshua Kaye Foundation, visit the foundation’s Facebook page.

Marking A Year…

We lost Joshy just 27 days before his 9th birthday. Those were the some of the saddest days of the saddest year of our lives, but so much love was shown to us. Losing a child forces lessons on parents, siblings, and friends. We realize that life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. The little moments with our children matter more than anything. And telling someone you love them shouldn’t wait!

As we mark our first whole year without him, we’d like these next few weeks to be filled with love. Tomorrow, 7/7 through Josh’s birthday, 8/3, we’d love it if you’d join us in spreading joy and love by sharing how you stay present in the moment, share your love, or spread kindness, using the hashtag #ThisIsForJosh on social media.

Joshy Tying Little A's Shoe

Joshy Tying Little A’s Shoe ❤️

PMU Box, where have you been all my life?

This is not an advertisement.  I don’t get paid to write reviews. I will, however, gush over your company if I like it and will spread the word as much as I can!  I  am a customer of PMU box (pick-me-up). It is a monthly subscription service where they deliver all natural sweet treats to my door step once a month.  According to their website :”Pick-Me-Up is a convenient subscription service that delivers all-natural sweets right to your door. Discover new delicious goodies in a simple, effortless way!”

 

This box bring such happiness :-)

This box bring such happiness 🙂

Full disclosure: I do know the owner.  I know that she works her butt off.  She runs this company by herself and does a phenomenal job.

It all started back when the owner was a college student. She was extremely health conscious and found herself hitting the wall of exhaustion around 3pm everyday and needed a quick sugar pick-me-up (as she would call it).  She didn’t want the conventional candy bar from a machine.  She wanted something that was sweet, yet all natural and not so bad for her body.

She quickly became the expert among friends who always wanted to know what she was eating, so PMU Box began.

I have been getting PMU Box for about 6 months.  I love it.  I am a pain in the butt customer, too, because I am gluten-free and my family is nut-free.  I have definitely had to give up some of my goodies to friends, who then gloat about how much I am missing out.  I have also found some amazingly perfect new sweet treats to add to either my life or my businesses.  I own a small chain of coffee shops and having PMU Box delivered to my home is like having a personal shopper go out and find unique treats that I never would have discovered!  Win/win!

 

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

I realize I am not the average customer because I have a dual purpose. I have found some killer products that I now sell at Coffee Break Cafe and I can’t keep them on my shelves!  Liz Lovely is one brand.  She makes Vegan, GMO free, gluten free, cookies that are seriously better than most products out there, gluten or not.  LOVE them.  (Not in love with the 400 plus calorie per cookie, but OMG!! And my customers love them!)

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

 

Okay, so back to the PMU box.  It is $19.99 and the box is different every month.  Did I mention how much I look forward to my delivery every month?

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly....

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly….

Mommy Business loves hearing stories about women-owned businesses, mommy-owned businesses, businesses with passion, businesses born from seeing a need that needs to be filled. Pmubox.com is a relatively new business, woman-owned and run. She hand picks each product that goes in the box and it shows.

Feb 2015 :-)

Feb 2015 🙂

Pmubox.com also offers seasonal boxes and short term subscriptions so you can give it a try before you commit.  They are also a fabulous gift! Melissa and I have both gifted PMU subscriptions to family members and everyone has been thrilled.

As always, thanks for including Mommy Business in your life!

J

 

The Allergy Table

I don’t get it: A kid has an allergy. He/she has to sit at a separate table with other kids who have food allergies and eat allergy safe foods. The rest of the kids will sit wherever they darn well please and eat non allergy safe foods, (greasy, oily, hard to clean, poisonous foods like peanut butter.)

PBJ

PBJ

So, the kids with the poison (the sticky, slimy, oily poison) can drip, leak, and smudge it all over every other table, seat, and floor in the cafeteria.  While the kids with the safe foods are banished to an outcast table.

Has anybody ever watched a kid eat?  Kids can walk around with red kool-aid ‘staches for days and not notice.  They can have chunks of food on their faces, shirt, hands, hair…  all over their body, really.  These are the kids who get to sit wherever they want, eating potentially deadly poison and spreading it all over the cafeteria.

Messy pbj

Messy PBJ

Then they go back to class, touching pens, pencils, books, folders, and everything else in the classroom with their poisonous, oily, chunky, peanut butter hands for everyone to come in contact with, food allergy or not.

PB gets all over the classroom

PB gets all over the classroom

I will never forget the first day I sent my adorable 3 year-old, peanut/tree nut allergic daughter to pre-school.  It was 8:30-11:30, but since it was the first day in 3 years she had been away from me for a few hours, I decided to get to school early and take a peek at her on the playground.  I spotted her instantly. She was holding hands and skipping with the most adorable little 3 year-old boy.  My happiness turned to terror when I realized he could have had peanut butter toast for breakfast and a peanut butter cracker for snack and he was now holding my daughter’s hand!!!  Her hand!!  Her hand that goes in her mouth.  Her hand that she uses to feed herself.  Her hand that could rub her eye and get that poison in her body and cause her body to swell and her throat to close.

poison on hand

Poison on hand

I knew that day would be the last day for her to attend a school that allowed nuts.  It wasn’t worth the risk. The reality is that, even in a nut-free school, kids could still have peanut butter for breakfast and then walk into school with clumps of poison dangling from their bodies and touch my precious daughter, but getting rid of nuts during school is lowering the odds of her coming in contact with them, and that is what mattered.

I will also never forget the day my oldest son told me about the allergy table at his school. It took a few minutes to register what he was saying. There is a kid in his grade who has a nut allergy. This kid has a bunch of friends who don’t have allergies but sit with him at the allergy table for support. Sweet, right? It took another couple of minutes for me to process that he was saying these friends bring in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school everyday and eat them at the allergy table!  Does this make sense? From an allergy parent’s perspective, this is terrifying. I have a sneaking suspicion it happens more frequently than we think.

pbj

PBJ

I have four kids, three with food allergies. I would love to just make the world nut-free, but obviously that isn’t going to happen so, I have another idea.

Why not create a new allergy table?  A table where kids can sit if they bring in the sticky, oily poison. A table where kids can sit down, eat their greasy peanut butter and then get up and wash their hands after. The table itself can be washed properly, the chairs and floor can also be scrubbed. It is so much less overwhelming and so much more manageable if all the nuts are kept to one area.

Soap and water go a long way!

Soap and water go a long way!         **shutter stock image

I know this article will anger a lot of people. How dare I call peanut butter poison?  I know it is the only thing that some kids will eat.  If they can’t have peanut butter for lunch the child won’t eat anything else!  Yes, peanut butter is considered “healthy.” But for me, in my world, it is poison.  It is a poison that could make my children unable to breathe and, therefore, I have no choice but to do everything in my power to keep it away.

I have never understood the allergy table.  Don’t you think it’s time to try something new?

 

 

 

How NOT to Do Customer Service

Oh. My. God. I just hung up the phone with Panasonic customer service and I am ready to pull out my hair.

I bought a Panasonic canister vacuum in January from Target.com- I even sprung for the extended warranty. Well, the vacuum stopped working- just stopped, won’t turn on. Things happen, no big deal, this is why warranties exist. So, I called Target. Super short call with a very nice person who advised me that the vacuum was still under the manufacturer’s warranty, so I would need to speak with Panasonic directly. She even transferred me. Super easy.

After a few minutes of automated prompts, followed by a few minutes of hold time, a nice Panasonic employee answered the call. I explained my situation and she said I would have to drop the vacuum off in South Windsor. Very nonchalantly, like that was the next town over from me. South Windsor is in CONNECTICUT. 1 hour and 50 minutes away. I told the agent that it was too far a drive. Oh, not to worry- they’ll “be happy to reimburse for 50% of the cost of shipping.” I’m sorry… WHAAAT?!?!

I calmly explained that since the vacuum broke less than 6 months after purchase and there was not a service location nearby, it was enough of an inconvenience to have a broken vacuum and to have to lug said vacuum to a UPS store, but to have to pay (prob $100?) was not something I was willing to do. When she said there was nothing more she could do, I asked her to to transfer me to a manager.

A manager got on the line after a few minutes and sounded like she was reading a script. She literally told me that when I purchased the vacuum, I automatically agreed to the terms of the warranty, which, according to her, state that 50% of shipping would be covered by the customer. (I’m not sure how I was supposed to agree to something I couldn’t see inside a sealed cardboard box, but, for kicks, I looked it up on their site. And- surprise!- there is no mention of the customer being responsible for 50% of the shipping costs.) Once again, I explained the situation and why I felt a customer should not be responsible for paying for shipping in this situation. I asked to speak to her manager. She insisted she did not have a manager, but told me I could write to consumer affairs. No telephone number or email- snail mail only. Seriously.

I know, from experience, that there are far worse things in this world, but I don’t have patience for things that waste my time. And, as a business owner, I can not wrap my head around the way Panasonic has failed to empower their customer service managers to resolve issues in a reasonable and responsible way.

This is exactly how NOT to do customer service.

-M

Can I Get a Do-Over For This Past Year?

I messed up as a parent this year. Big time. I need to re-do this year. Start over.

My daughter started 4th grade (the most difficult grade in her school) this past September. I believe that 4th grade is challenging in most schools, but she goes to a Montessori school and 4th grade is a huge transitional year. The students transition from a traditional Montessori environment to a more conventional setting with books, letter grades and tests.

To say it is stressful for most students is an understatement. I know this firsthand; my two oldest went through this school and the transition to 4th and 5th grade was awful and stressful. It was worth it at the end; the school is excellent and prepares them well for their next school.

My 9 year old has had a rotten school year. She went from top in her class in 3rd grade, not missing a single homework assignment to all bad grades and missing most homework assignments.

I tried everything. I sat with her and helped. I set a timer, had her do 15 minutes of homework and 10 minutes of a break. I tried to leave her alone to self-regulate. I got totally involved and kept track of her work. I got mad at her. I supported her. I bribed her. I punished her. None of it worked. None of it.

We have both had a rough year. We went from loving, fun, happy wonderful relationship to an angry, frustrated, negative one- all in the course of this school year.

By the end of this school year, I was at such a loss, I took her to the doctor. I thought maybe there was something physically wrong. Her behavior is so different, so off. She had strep twice this year, maybe she had hadn’t quite gotten rid of it and it developed into PANDAS?!

Everything came back negative and the doctor suggested my daughter see a counsellor.

I was so disappointed and upset that we had a serious sit down discussion and I demanded to know what was wrong with her. I was angry at my teeny, tiny, little, beautiful daughter for not doing well in school when she burst into tears.  She cried because she misses a friend of hers who died 11 months ago.  Her little 8-year-old classmate, Joshua Kaye died last summer and her adolescent brain doesn’t know how to make her heart any better.

She cries over him every day and didn’t tell me.  She dreams about him every night and didn’t tell me.  She is scared of losing other people she knows and loves, and didn’t tell me.  She is afraid of his ghost, and didn’t tell me.  She wants one more day with him.  She wants to hug him and play with him every day and every night.  He is all she thinks about and she just can’t focus at school.

 

girl crying

She didn’t tell me any of this. I was angry that she wasn’t doing well in school; I wouldn’t talk to me either if I were her.

How could I have missed this?  I dropped the ball so bad this time.  I feel like such an ass.  Worst mom ever.  Our group of parents at school met with a grief counsellor after we lost Joshy.  I knew what to look for.  WTF was I thinking?

I allowed an entire year to pass without digging deeper.  The death of an 8 year-old little boy who was a big part of her life is not something that a child can just get over.

We both have a hard time discussing the loss of Josh without crying.

I have a little girl who needs help, not an angry mom.

I can’t get a do-over, but I can make every moment with her count.

I started today.

Almost a Year…

It’s June already. Soon enough, I’ll be marking the one year anniversary of the day he got sick. The day we went to the ER. The day he was transferred to ICU. The day he coded. The day we learned he would never come home with us again. The day we left the hospital without our boy.

Joshua Quentin Kaye was born on August 3, 2005. 10 days after his due date, after only 8 hours of labor. It was the perfect-story labor; a little funny and completely sweet. After several years of infertility, with a big sister begging for a little brother, it’s possible there had never been a baby born who was more wanted and planned for than him. He weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces, which was a shock, because he was so skinny- and then they stretched him out. He measured 22 1/2 inches long. He was an adorable string bean. I remember being stunned when he lifted his head off of my husband’s shoulder to look around the room as Andy carried him to me. He was perfect. Much lighter than I had expected- blonde hair and blue eyes?!- but gorgeous. His big sister was so happy, proud, in love. She beamed with joy as she held him. And our family was perfect.

Our boy was engaging and funny from the very beginning. His eyes like gorgeous pools, reflecting love back at everyone who saw him. He loved to meet people, but was happiest at home with his family- especially his doting sister.

Baby Josh, before his eyes turned green.

Baby Josh, before his eyes turned green.

He did everything early. He stacked a set of wooden blocks when he was 5 months old. He pulled himself to standing at 6 months and was climbing stairs a few weeks later. We had to be ready for anything! And he loved to laugh!

When Josh became a big brother at 3 1/2, he was concerned and a little jealous. But, he spent his mornings building giant towers for his “Baby A” and playing songs for her on his harmonica.

We moved to a new house a few months later and when we got new furniture for the living room, our sweet boy mourned the couch he had found comfort on- while nursing, snuggling, napping, and playing- for days and weeks. He was passionate, loyal, sentimental, and connected strongly to things he cared about. Even couches.

When Josh was 5, doctors discovered a Chiari malformation. Basically, his skull was a little to snug for his brain and they needed to perform a major surgery, cutting through all the muscles and bone at the base of his skull, to alleviate pressure on his brain stem and spinal cord. He sat himself up in bed 4 hours after his surgery and was walking around the hospital the next morning. The Chief of Neurosurgery was astonished. This child knew no limits. He didn’t know how to let things hold him back.

Joshua’s friends were happy to have him back at school. He was the planner of games, the peacemaker among arguing friends. And, as his friends have told us over the last 11 months, the boy who stuck up for his friends, stopped others from teasing, listened to what mattered and showed love- always.

He was not perfect at home. He pushed and he argued and he refused to do homework on anyone’s timeline but his own. He got mad when his big sis needed quiet time do focus on school work and wasn’t always kind to his little sister when she wanted his attention. But he made us laugh. He did the cutest little tushy shake you could ever imagine and he would sing along to whatever songs he and his sisters had on repeat with his sweet, sincere voice.

Our silly boy!

Our silly boy!

He was an animal and nature lover. I think a wild lion would have laid down and rolled over for a tummy rub if Josh asked him to. He would spend hours with his friends or little sister, looking for cool bugs or standing still so a dragonfly or butterfly could land on him. He loved to go for long walks and just be out in nature.

When Josh was 6 1/2, he heard about mass dolphin strandings on the Cape and he asked if we could go and help. It was winter and the beach where the dolphins needed help was 2 hours away. He insisted that we find a way to help, so we called IFAW to find out what they needed most and then planned a fundraiser. Joshy spent hours cutting out pictures of dolphins and making a poster to bring to school. He told all of his friends and teachers and raised over $1000 for IFAW. He was so proud when he received a thank you note from, then president of IFAW, Fred O’Regan.

Joshua loved to build. He used to get so frustrated when I said no to buying actual bricks and mortar so he could “build stuff” in the back yard. He settled for Minecraft and hand-drawing plans for furniture, buildings and tree-houses. When I told him about Habitat for Humanity one night, he couldn’t fall asleep. The thought that he might be able to help build a real house for someone who needed one was too exciting!

He never felt like he was too young to do anything, but he was definitely too young to die.

Joshy squishy face JKF stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind Body Green Published My Post – 6 Common Myths About The Vagina!

Thank you Mind Body Green for sharing my newest post!

For some reason we just don’t talk about the vagina in a positive manner as much as we should.  I have heard some disappointing remarks about vaginas from both men and women recently, which is what inspired me to write this.

Read it here, share and enjoy!

J

5 Genius Ideas for Chore Charts!

My kids don’t mind helping around the house, but there is no routine- I have to ask them to do each thing I’d like help with. “L, please empty the dishwasher.” “A, please put your toys away” Feed the animals, bring your laundry down, dust your room, make your bed, brush your hair!

We’ve tried a few things in the past, but nothing has stuck. A few cute ideas have popped up on my screen lately, so I think it’s time to try something new. Here are my top picks for great Chore Charts!!

1. Clipboard & Velcro from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

This one only requires a few supplies and looks like it will come together really quickly. I love that they can be hung easily or carried around the house. I know Little A would like the concrete action of moving the chores from “To Do” to the “Done” side.

2. Post-it Note Printable Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

I think this is my favorite. I’m usually not super fond of playing with our printer, but my kids have an odd fascination with Post-Its and I think this will go over really well!

3. Simple Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

This is definitely easy and effective for younger ones, but at 16, L might be offended if I make a chart like this for her.

4.  Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear

Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear!

Printable Chore Chart from The Gilded Pear!

This one takes the least amount of effort and still looks great! Just choose the color you want and print!

5. Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

This one is also great- I think Little A would love moving the sticks and seeing her progress, but the board is a bit bulky.

Which ones do you like best?

4 Tips to Avoid Having Friends Who Suck the Life Out of You

If you are reading this post, you probably have a friend or two that suck the life out of you.  GET RID OF THEM! (Gasp!  Horror!)  If you haven’t ever removed a friend from your life, it sounds so scary.  I remember the first time it was suggested to me that I remove someone from my life, it was a very long term friend…  I thought, what?!?!?!?  How is that even possible?

It’s a really tough concept to wrap your head around, but nobody else can cause you pain.  You are in charge of your own feelings.  You can choose to feel happy, sad, stressed, any emotion really.  When you begin to realize that you can control your feelings and emotions, it is pretty easy to not allow people to suck the life out of you.

 

Shutterstock image

Shutterstock image

 

When I gave birth to my first child, I suddenly saw a few people in my life for who they really were and knew they couldn’t be in my life anymore.  Ugly, life-sucking opinions came out.  Disrespectful drop-ins without a call first, and awful, rotten things said behind my back about my parenting decisions.  I was miserable, yet so blissfully in love and happy at the same time.

A brilliant life coach asked me why I was putting up with these people who constantly made my life miserable.  I thought it was such a strange question and honestly it took months for me to understand what she meant.  I began by taking baby steps.  I decided to build a wall around myself when I had to deal with this small group of people and not let their comments hurt me.  Once I wrapped my head around the concept, I began to stick up for myself little by little and something funny happened: By sticking up for myself, I felt a shift and unknowingly changed the dynamic of our relationship.  Some didn’t like it all and our relationships ended.  It was beautiful!  One other relationship “got it”.  She understood what had happened and worked hard at making our relationship better.  It was the perfect outcome.

I started small.  There were two friends that added nothing but negativity to my life.  It was shockingly easy to let go of those friendships.  Once I got the taste for letting go of negativity, I cleaned house.  There were some major life-changing people I removed from my life, some were expensive, time consuming and emotional, but worth every single penny, minute and feeling.

I tend to volunteer my time on various boards and commissions.  I am involved with my children’s schools and deal with a lot of people at my job.  We all encounter difficult people and sometimes we have no choice but to work with them on certain projects.  That is when you have to build your little wall and not let them get to you and move on when the project is complete.

My husband and I have created what we like to call our “happy bubble”.  We check in with each other on certain people and places that are either in or out of our happy bubble.  Lately we have let some real crap into our bubble and it’s time to clean house.  It’s been a while since I have had to, but life got busy and I got  a little sloppy.

Four tips to keep life-sucking people away from your happy bubble:

1. Go with your gut.

We usually can feel it when somebody won’t add anything positive to your life.  I have ignored that little gut feeling too many times.  It’s not worth it.

2.  Don’t feel bad about your decision.

Letting a friend go is usually what is best for both of you.  Let. It. Go.

3.  Be clear.

The “break up” doesn’t have to be a big emotional scene.

Just be clear and unemotional.  You could say something like, “I think it would be best if we went our separate ways. We don’t seem to agree on many things and I respect you too much to continue to disagree.”  There are lots of ways to let somebody know in a civil manner that you don’t want to be friends.

4.  Learn the signs of life-sucking people and avoid!

Most toxic, negative people have the same traits.  Learn them and run in the opposite direction when you meet them.

Life is just too short to walk around unhappy, stressed, and miserable because of the people you surround yourself with.  The people in your life are there because of choices you have made.  Make better choices and you will see wonderful things happen.