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Racing to Fight Childhood Cancer

by Ari & Sam Schlanger and Maddie & Sydney Berna with their moms Alison & Allison (family co-owners of apple seeds)

Every year in May, we encourage our family, friends and the apple seeds community to support us in our efforts to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It’s the cause closest to our hearts since Gretchen and Larry (Witt) are our friends, but mostly because their son Liam, who would have been 10 years old this past May, was our children’s friend. Not only did they all go to school together, but Liam and his sister Ella also spent much of their free time at apple seeds, our NYC indoor play space. We called Liam “the mayor of apple seeds.” Everyone knew him. Everyone loved him. Liam would ride his orange scooter down the hall, giving hugs to all his teachers, peppering them with questions about science class and rolling around with Ella in the playground. He had an infectious energy, personality and smile that drew people to him everywhere he went. We all miss him in a way that’s hard to explain, and he comes up constantly in our thoughts, conversations and lives.

In May, we hosted our annual bake sale at apple seeds. But, this year, we decided to add another element to our fundraising/awareness raising effort. We encouraged our four older kids — Ari, Maddie, Sam and Sydney — to run a 5k race with us to raise more money. They hesitated a whole 1.7 seconds before saying yes, and we were off!

With an email, a photo and a plea to friends for help, they raised over $10,000 in just two days! Over Memorial Day weekend we all ran the 5k race together. During the three-plus miles, the kids barely stopped running, with mentions and reminders of Liam along the way. It was as if Liam kept us all going. It was as if those four young kids knew the difference they could make for children just like Liam, children who have a chance at life. It was as if they knew that running and talking about him and helping his parent’s organization would keep his memory alive.

As they crossed the finish line, they asked, “How much money are we up to now?!” Now, $11,548 dollars later, they feel proud of their contribution to fight childhood cancer, and they are already planning ways they can continue to make a difference.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was kind enough to ask our children to present their check for their donation.

They know that if Liam were still with us he would have been running that 5k with our group. They’ve seen first-hand the fragility of life and the enemy that is cancer, and they are determined to make a difference.


Congratulations Cassie and Eric!

Just 3 weeks ago, our very own Birthday Manager, Cassie Orzano Haviland, celebrated her wedding day. Cassie looked so beautiful and we just had to share some photos with you...ENJOY!


Evelin Santiago - employee of the month!

Congratulations Evelin!  You are the July employee of the month!  You can always be found with seven children walking behind you calling out your name…usually it sounds like “Ebawin” or “Ehwwwwaweee.”  (Seriously, you’re like the Pied Piper)  You are amazing in the playground, a great assistant in class and constantly proactive.  You are willing to help out wherever and whenever help is needed and you always do it with a smile (and a coffee).  For all of this, we are truly grateful to have you as part of the apple seeds team!


Education of a Vacation

by Wendy Bradford

“You’re not getting food until the pillow is back on the couch.” My husband stands at the refrigerater in our beach rental. 


My husband looks back at me, working on my laptop in the dining room. 

“YOU ARE STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!” We are three weeks into our vacation; this is the third leg, third hotel or house. Everyone is staying up late, watching an endless loop of cartoons, and eating sugar by the pound. My son is brinking on another meltdown, lying on the kitchen floor. 

He is probably right—we may be out of our minds for having the kids away from home for this long: two weeks in Florida, one day at home so the oldest could finish first grade, and off to the Hamptons for another week. A sort of madness surrounds us like the constant sunshine. 

The whining quickly reached a fever pitch. Too much stimulation, excessive Florida heat, and ubiquitous gift shops turned my children into grabbing, saucer-eyed creatures unable to handle “no” or “not now.” Their capacity to consume is dizzying. And we gave up—but not without many fights. 

Before our trip, we gave in to buying the three kids iPad Minis so that they would be entertained at the airport and on the plane, and in the car. We thought we were overindulgent and a bit weak for this, rolling our eyes at our own lack of creative solutions--but we saw the necessity. By the time we left Florida, we had acquired extra luggage just for transporting their new toys, princess shoes, character mugs, and (licensed) stuffed animals. 

It is very difficult to know what is too much or why with children. Our “quiet” vacation out east was supposed to be decompression from the energy level of theme parks. And it has been that. Until one morning when we went into town for a little shopping and lunch. 

The kids all got something they want or need—mostly want—but by the time we headed back to the car, everyone had a loud complaint about how she got fewer items than he did and he didn’t get the one teddy bear he really wanted and she didn’t get shoes when her sister got shoes. My husband threatened to leave them all on the South Fork while we drove back to the city. 

I say it is difficult to know what or why is too much because even though my husband and I were horrified at their behavior—which we called “bratty” to their faces—within five minutes in the car they were all asleep, and it was clear how overtired each was. 

Even I have reached my limit and miss more familiar surroundings and the comfort of my own things. I don’t know how to use this coffee machine correctly, and my cell phone doesn't work. I’ve been grumpy all day this last day, nagging my husband to get out of the hot tub, and complaining about the kids making crumbs and too much noise outside. Outside. 

It’s a tremendous undertaking to ask small children to adjust to travel without a few bumps or fits of outrage. It’s unreasonable to expect them to fully understand and always remember their good fortune in being able to vacation. It’s even sillier to ask them to do something of which we grownups are incapable.


Stay-at-home fathers are a growing trend...

This article was written by my college roommate and good friend’s brother Lionel.

Stay-at-home fathers are a growing trend. I’m one of them, and it’s a blast.
by Lionel Beehner

I love his view on being a “work at home dad” and the joy he gets from fatherhood.

- Alison