Hi! I’m Alethea (pronounced A-lee-tha) Shapiro, a 36 year old mom of 4 on the Northshore of Long Island, NY. My husband Craig & I met in the dorms at Cornell in 1997. We were married by the time I was 25 and by 26…..I was a career mom. We have 2 daughters; Hailey (2006) and Dylan (2008) and 2 sons; Shane (2012) and Skyler (2015) plus our pomeranian Cutie. The journey to be blessed with this family didn’t come that easy, we faced our share of hardships and sadnesses (ivf journies and a baby loss) but I am so grateful for having the 4 children that we do today and couldn’t imagine life any other way. They are beautiful, unique, talented, smart, respectful, kind hearted individuals that I hope will grow up to be amazing and happy individuals that change the world and live happy and healthy lives. My husband is an incredible, loving, brilliant, and dedicated man that takes cares of all of us. My friend calls us the Puerkish Jewbans because I’m a Puerto Rican, Turkish and Cuban Catholic from Queens & Craig is a straight up Long Island Jew. I am a lover of life and live each day to it’s fullest. My motto is “no rest for the weary”. Some people say I over share or that Im over the top but I am just living my authentic life, a life that brings me great joy to which I am very proud of. I am pretty much an open book, I find that “the truth shall set you free”.
In the spirit of the living in the truth:
#1 Yes- I married well. So did Craig! We live comfortably…now. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I know first-hand what it’s like not to have money. I am fully aware that money can come and go. I have watched my husband work excruciatingly hard to become a success in his business and through his blood, sweat and tears he has been able to provide us with what some may call a “charmed” life.
#2 Yes- I have help- a lot of help, you know that saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” We have a very close-knit, extended, CRAZY, family full of characters who play a large role in our lives and we have our amazingly dedicated nanny- Lucy, who is the wind beneath our wings and gives us the flexibility & comfort of being able to do the antics we do. Lucy is basically a sister wife, lol, and loves our kids like they are her own.
#3 Yes- I am very over the top…maybe a little nuts too. I try to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s. I truly believe that through hard work, good karma and a little good luck (Thank you God), that we are responsible for creating the life we want to live. I can’t sit still, and my brain is always, always going. Like a machine gun that I can’t shut off. I try to harness this energy into positive things. I mostly believe that “Everything happens for a Reason” and that gives me the inspiration to keep going when things don’t go my way. More often than not I find that God works in mysterious ways and while something may not be clear now it will all make sense in the future. I don’t like to get stuck in situations and try to find solutions and keep it moving. I like sharing what I find and maybe it can be of help to others. So I decided to share everything that I think is cool and interesting and if you wanna read it that’s awesome? If not, that’s cool too! And lastly don’t forget everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. I’m cheering for everyone to win and live their best life!
#4 Yes- I am truly thankful for all the amazing opportunities that come my family’s way and its my mission in life to make sure my kids appreciate the wonderful experiences we get to have and that we enjoy them together and make memories. I do not take anything for granted and this is a big motivator for me. I know my energy level is off the charts, and I’m able to laugh off some of the absurd adventures we go on.
#5 No- I’m not full of myself. This blog was not my idea. Last year we took the kids to the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in NYC for Shane’s 3rd birthday. We all have random friends we’ve collected over the years that we now keep in touch with over Facebook right? Well I bumped into one of my favorite randoms sitting right next to us at the parade. She’s a very opinionated TV producer and had A LOT to say about my Facebook postings. She thought my sleep away camp packing list was stunning, shocking yet resourceful and my posts felts like she was watching an informational reality show. She had learned “take away info” from me and thought I needed to expand my ideas and suggested I start a blog. I never really thought about that idea. Over the next few weeks and months I started noticing and remembering that people were often coming to me for advice, suggestions, recommendations, endorsements, advertising help, shopping help, technology help, party planning help, child rearing help, recommendations for fun activities and vacation ideas, help, help help, help running broad range. I would think to myself why me? Who the heck am I? Why do people value my opinion so much? Maybe my random is on to something! I gave it a lot of thought and I struggled with the concept because I knew I’m short on time and if I commit to doing a project I do it WELL and I do it COMPLETE and I do it RIGHT because of my anal qualities, OCD and drive for success. But then I realized that you sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind, and have to just dive right in and seize an opportunity because you never know where life will take you. So this is me- putting myself out there because even if you take a little bit away from it- I’ll feel great! And if this bombs I’m unfriending my random…XOXO Thank you for Sprinting with the Shaps!! Buckle up and enjoy our ride!!!
Sprinting With the Shaps Top 10 FAQ:
- What is it like having 4 kids? It’s like drowning every day in an endless ocean while just barely keeping afloat with just my nose above water and ridiculously messy paddling under water. BUT it’s ALSO the most amazing, fulfilling, and wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
- Why so many kids? Often times when you see a family with more than 3 kids you wonder 2 things: either they have bad birth control methods or they are religious. I think I actually fall under a 3rd category of “having a screw loose”. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle the demands and chaos that comes with 4 kids, with grace, patience, and a big heart filled with love. Of course it doesn’t help to be a little nutty. I never said I was NOT crazy. There are times when I wonder how I’ll live to tell another day, and then there are times where I can’t imagine NEVER bringing another child into this world and into our loving family.
- Craig seems very normal. Where does he fall in all your crazy? That’s a good question, and I’ll plead the 5th. Wait did I say that out loud! I’m just kidding HE LOVES IT! He is so obsessed with all my picture taking (wink wink) and totally agrees when I say let’s just try one more time for the perfect pic, can’t wait to see my itineraries planned for the day, is so excited to go along with my funny clothing ideas for photo shoots, and just loves being the man behind the woman! I mean obviously. PS… we met when we were 18 so it’s safe to say he basically grew up with my shenanigans and he is used to it… I think?? Craig?? Craig?? Right? Tell them!!! Anyway Craig knows “Happy Wife, Happy Life!” and he makes it happen! My hero!!!
- How do you always get your kids to smile and look at the camera? Why do you take so many pictures? I wish I knew that answer. My brain is just always thinking in terms of “Oh that would be a great shot”, “Ohhh that’s framer worthy”, “Oh that’s a milestone that needs to be captured”, “Oh that’s a beautiful pic”, “Oh I can’t let that memory go uncaptured”,”Oh this, Oh that”. Plus I have a very elaborate picture organizational system, and I make a 3 photo books every year for each kid, or at least I’m desperately trying to. It’s a huge burden and undertaking in my life and now that I’ve started it I can’t stop. I do for each child: “the best of year _” (which is only pictures of them), a friends school year book and a birthday party book. In terms of getting my kids to look at the camera and smile, this is one of the very few FIRM rules in my house. My kids know by now that unless they give me the shot we’re not moving on. Truthfully if you saw the circus and hullaballoo it takes to get one good picture you would be cringing. When you train them from the start, you’re rewarded earlier.
- You have 4 kids and you’re doing what else? Traveling all the time as much as I can swing it and as much as I can convince Craig that this is our last chance to do X and Y trip before life gets too challenging for whatever reason that corresponds to the kind of trip we (I mean I am) planning. I like volunteering at my children’s schools, participate often in community neighborhood events and also try to involve myself in charity work when I am able to as well. I love photography. I love videoing my life and my kids. I love the final creation of the birthday cakes I make for my kids birthday parties and no I’m not interested in doing this for a business. I love coming up with new ideas and businesses, the creative side if you will, and I am definitely a dreamer. Many times I start sentences with “OMG I have the BEST idea!!! That’s about when my friends and family start rolling their eyes and run for the hills but secretly they love it! I helped launch a rising business with my best friend Sandy. It all started on the beach last summer when we thought “Hey lets make and sell chocolate covered oreos” and before you know it Sugar Rush NYCwas born and boy has it sky rocketed! We went from simple hand dipped oreos, to emoji oreos, now to custom printed image oreos and a whole array of fully customizable chocolate treats. I love party planning and researching details and decorations on Etsy and Pinterest that coordinate with my theme. I feel like love is in the details and that’s what sets someone aside apart. That’s just a passion of mine, no judgement to others. I like volunteering at my kids’ schools or for events in my community. I love kids fashion, and prefer to spend time and money on them, and don’t care as much as other women on stuff for me, which is why I dress like I’m one step up above a homeless person (again no judgement) on a daily basis. I just want to be comfy so I can chase around 4 rambunctious kids in comfort and so I can bend, crouch, crawl and run around…sweatpants and ponytails are the way to go…except if I can fit a blowout, I’ll jump at the chance. I’d rather get a new piece of technology then a new bag or piece of jewelry. I don’t know I guess I’m kinda weird and yes I buy too much stuff! I’m working on decluttering, I swear! I don’t work out, I hate working out but love a hip hop or zumba class, tennis and softball, I’m an athletic type! I’m good at what I know, and I’m happy to learn from others on what I don’t! I love reading self help, inspirational and parenting books. I feel like it helps me grow as a person, wife mother and friend.
- How do you keep up with your schedule and how do you have time to be so organized and plan so many events? It’s called a color coded iPhone calendar. Each kid has their own color and I live and die by my calendar. Everyday I check the calendar for the next day and think to myself oh today is gonna be interesting. Most days I have 3 way conflicts so I just divide myself 3 ways…no biggie! All in a day’s work! My brain craves organization. It’s one of those things I’m just good at. When my calendar is all up to date and accurate it makes me feel like I’m #winning! So if that takes organizing a playgroup, or a dinner, or an event, or planning one of my 4 kids bday parties up to 6 months in advance so I’m not crunching last minute I will do that. And I do it well! Having 2 religions and a big family also means we are always throwing all sorts of parties: religious parties, random events, holiday parties, birthday parties, baby namings and bris’, baptisms and communions, baby showers, bridal showers etc in addition to my annual Halloween Party, depending on the year I also may do Christmas parties, Easter Egg hunts, 4th of July Bbq’s, Valentine’s Day parties and the list goes on and on…I like bringing people together and match making friends. I love doing things with my kids and my friends and so usually I am the organizer. After all if I don’t do it, oftentimes no one will. There’s always one sucker in the group! However let it be known I’m cutting back my ways! Ain’t nobody got time for that! I’ve learned that the more kids you have the more organized you need to be and everything needs to be thought 3 steps ahead or in my case 4… Or not and I just wing it and want to collapse. But then again “no rest for the weary”! Oh yes and it’s true what you’ve heard my cabinets and closets ARE all labeled. Obsessed with my label maker!
- Why should we care? I don’t know, why not? JK! No really I’m not sure! I feel like I have things to say, things to share, helpful tips from a Mother of 4 living on the Gold Coast of Long Island. By no means do I think I’m an child raising expert, but I’m happy to share things that have worked and not worked well for me in the last decade of raising 2 girls and 2 boys. I know my life is not for everyone, and I recognize that things I do are not even available, accessible or affordable to everyone. I’m not even suggesting you do all the crazy things I do but I’m sure there are some things that you can find in here that will pique your interest and I believe that there is something for everyone that can be found. I like looking for fun adventures and try new things with my family that I’m more than happy to pass along. If I find a product or service that I think is super cool or new and unique then I love telling people about it. I’m all about sharing the wealth and think the more the merrier. I have a lot of random and perhaps useless knowledge that some people may or may not think is interesting. I spend a LOT of time on Etsy, not as much on Pinterest as you may think, love watching reality shows on bravo and E, love watching all the morning talk shows, love anything pop culture and entertainment, I like but don’t love fashion, I love new technology like new phones, new apps, new cameras, spend lots of time researching on Amazon, and other websites trying to find just the right product and sooo much time on Google trying to find perfect ideas, activities and things to make my family happy when were on the move! I love everything that goes along with party planning. I can’t help going over the top for my parties because I feel like life is worth celebrating. I think the schooling pressures and stresses these days are crazy and I’m trying to find a happy and healthy balance between too much and just the right amount, but constantly reworking and rethinking the system. I’m trying to find the happy balance between family time, down time and busy time. We also go out of our way to spend ample amounts of alone time with each child, attend as many of their sporting events as we can and if we can swing it, we like to have both parent accompany the child to a kids’ party or their school events. I am passionate about trying to preserve my children’s childhood and make it as special and memorable as possible, having a mix of old fashion fun with modern day living. I love technology and social media but recognize the dangers and pitfalls. We are a family obsessed with all Apple products and we love our iPads. I love finding inspirational quotes and other blogs or people who are inspirational and motivating, and I am constantly trying to make myself become a better person and better mother. I try to learn from bad situations and use them to make good things happen.
- Do you really drive a SPRINTER? Yes Ma’am I do! And I prefer driving it even when I’m alone…there’s space for miles in the car and I love spreading out. A sprinter is a 12 passenger Mercedes van with a 4th row and a huge trunk. You can stand straight up in it, which comes in handy when you need to break up fights in the back seat, or buckle car seats f(going on 10 years)…No it’s not hard to drive. Yes I can fit in regular spots. No I’m not embarrassed. Yes I’ve hit the roof of my car 2x pulling into parking garages and knocked off my antennae. No you don’t need a special license. Yes I can drive on any road. No it’s not that much bigger then my Escalade lengthwise. Yes I can fit 12 people and will probably shuttle your child several times in addition to my small brood of children because that’s what I do and I love it!
- Why are you calling it “Sprinting With the Shaps”? I feel like it embodies everything my family is about. All we do is sprint. We sprint from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep. Most of the time we sprint happily and joyfully but sometimes we sprint recklessly, exhausting ourselves and running ourselves ragged. We sprint to baby classes, we sprint to catch the school bus, we sprint to nursery school drop offs and pick-ups. We sprint to after schools activities and playdates. We sprint to meetings and appointments. At night and on the weekends you better believe we sprint out the door to catch up with our friends. On the weekends, between the 4 kids, we sprint from one sports activity to the next and from one birthday party or social event to the next. As a Jewish/Catholic family we sprint from one holiday celebration to the next and celebrate and decorate for everything in between. We do them all and love it! We do all of this sprinting in nothing other than my pride and joy, the love of my life, our beloved Sprinter van. The Sprinter has been life changing because it allows us the flexibility and opportunity to rarely have to turn down taking friends and family with us to wherever the wind may blow us. Night out in the city with 5 couples, no prob we got the Sprinter! Birthday party and all the girls wanna ride together, sure kids hop in and buckle up! New movie premiers and my girls want to bring a friend, eh bring 4 each! Family wine tour in the Hamptons, hop in Granny, Paps is driving! Road trip down South, each kid grab your own row! (not really because if you saw the amount of STUFF it takes to move a family of 6 plus a nanny from point A to point B most people would rather not be bothered. Trust me its RIDIC). In creating a happy and full life what I do takes a lot of work, time, love and commitment but life is worth living and I believe these sacrifices are worth it. If I can think it, we can SPRINT it!!!
- Are you done having kids? If I told you the answer was 50/50 what would you say? I know… Shocking…I’ll let you know when I know. Let’s leave it at that. 😳😳😳😳