Cincinnati Ballet’s Peter Pan Flash Ticket Giveaway

peter panFor those who never want to grow up, there’s Never Never Land. Luckily, for the Darling family children, Wendy, John and Michael, there’s Peter Pan to guide them through this magical place full of pirates and Indians and Lost Boys. The foursome (with the help of the mischievous Tinkerbell) fly to Never Never Land where the cranky pirate Captain Hook, a hungry crocodile and more adventures await. Follow along on this swashbuckling journey, past the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning, as these classic characters learn what growing up is really all about. The Kenton County Public Library would like to help one lucky winner experience Never Never Land. See the giveaway details below.

Tickets can be bought at the box office or by visiting the Cincinnati Ballet Website. Ticket Prices range from $32 to $100.

Show times:

Friday, November 7 – 8:00 pm

Saturday, November 8 – 2:00 pm

Saturday, November 8 – 8:00 pm

Sunday, November 9 – 2:00 pm


I have a voucher for two tickets to the performance time of your choice.  A winner will be chosen randomly by the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 5. The winner will be announced on the Raising2tweens Facebook page and will have 24 hours to respond to claim the voucher. Arrangements will be made to receive the voucher.

How to enter:

1. Comment on this post stating why you never want to grow up (required to enter)

Bonus Entries:

2. Share this post on Facebook tagging Raising2tweens and comment here stating that you did. (Entries will be verified)

3. Share this post on Twitter.

4. Like Raising2tweens on Facebook

Good luck!


Could the Circus be Right for Your Child?

It seems like before our children are even born we are looking for activities to sign them up for. Will I have a soccer player or basketball player? Will they be on the chess team or Odyssey team? Should I sign them up for gymnastics or football? What about science or the drama club? We constantly think about balancing their activities so they are enrolled in something physical, learning to be a team player and using their brains. Before you know it, we have them participating in five or six things and they never have time to just be a kid.

I’ve been down this road with Joey, my almost 13-year-old. He has tried soccer, basketball and baseball without success. He has been in chorus, on the chess team, taken a year of Taekwondo and participated in a gymnastics class. He didn’t stick with any of it. Although he liked the chess team and baseball he decided he didn’t want to participate. He has been in Odyssey of the Minds since kindergarten and loves it. But that’s not physical… How do I keep my 5’1, 70 pound boy active?

Well, I found the answer this summer. Actually, I found an activity that keeps him active, uses his brain, teaches team work and requires creativity. One activity that covers everything we look for! The Circus! Yes, my son is enrolled in the circus. Circus Mojo in Ludlow to be specific. Joey and I met the Circus Mojo Team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital while at Joey’s appointments (read story here: Circus Camp Healed My Son. Joey then participated in a summer camp at Circus Mojo. He loved it. It provided the physical therapy he needed for his leg as well as an activity that he enjoyed.

joey german His favorite act is the German Wheel. He also enjoys the cable wheel and the silks. These are all very physical activities that have also taught him to work as a team and count on his partner because he could get hurt if he doesn’t. He has also gotten to know a lot of great kids and adults. Coming up with new tricks requires him to be creative. He has to use his brain while spinning plates, flipping hats and balancing objects like feathers and crutches on his finger tips.

Circus Mojo offers classes on Saturdays for ages 7 and up. Even the whole family can participate. Joey loves the Saturday classes. I wish we would have found this when Joey was younger. It would have saved us a lot of time (and money) in the Taekwondo studio and on the soccer field doing something he didn’t enjoy. I urge parents to consider Circus classes at Circus Mojo when looking for the right activity for their child. I also suggest sending your child to Circus Mojo for camp. Joey has probably tried at least eight different camps over the years but this was by far his favorite.

Saturday classes will pick up again this fall. Visit or call 859-360-7757 for more information.

Below you will find photos taken by me and/or Circus Mojo that represents just a few of the things people can learn at Circus Mojo. Do you think this could be the right activity for your child? 

joey unicyclejoey trapezejoey jugglejoey hat
joey german wheel2joey german wheeljoey balancejoey balancejoy wheelchairjoey whip piejoey wheeljoey w circus friends



A True Histio Warrior

Super Joey

Super Joey

My head is swimming right now. Joey had a follow up with oncology today. He is two years free of active disease. That means there has been no evidence of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis for 24 months! Dr. Palumbo, Joey’s oncologist, considers Joey Histio-free and no longer a risk for relapse! Now with that said there is still a small chance but it’s VERY small. Dr. Palumbo said we no longer have to follow up with him unless we need him. Wohoo!!

So you would think I would be partying and overjoyed right now but I’m actually experiencing a mixture of feelings. Joey went to this appointment in a wheelchair. He is having horrible leg pain. The same type of leg pain that he has experienced for two years since his biopsy and bone graft. Dr. Kenneth McClain, the world’s leading LCH expert, told me via email that he sees this type of unexplained pain in patients who have had bone LCH often. Unfortunately he doesn’t know why or how to fix it although he said it’s something he’s working on.

Dr. Palumbo, our social worker Molly and Dr. Palumbo’s assistant Michelle asked Joey’s dad (Troy) and I to go to a conference room while Joey stayed behind. During our walk to the conference room I started thinking they were going to ask me if he was faking. I even whispered to Troy that they better not state that. I was ready to go off if they even brought up the idea. That’s not why we were called in though. In fact, they repeatedly stated they knew he wasn’t faking.

Dr. Palumbo assured us that there is no active disease and he is not worried about it attacking again. He did say however that he was concerned about Joey’s pain. Joey has post traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Palumbo suggested that maybe some of the pain is stress and anxiety related. His dad and I completely agree with that. None of us believe it is the only thing causing the pain but it is definitely a contributing factor.

The oncology team was happy to hear that we already have Joey seeing a psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s and referrals for a psychologist who deals with pain and biofeedback and a psychiatrist who works with kids who deal with anxiety and have been through a lot.

Dr. Palumbo did bring up something that I have thought about and talked with Joey’s psychologist about a thousand times… Joey and I have been very active in the Histio community with raising awareness and money. He asked if it would be easier on Joey if we weren’t so involved. I knew what he was going to ask before he finished the question because I have thought about it so many times. I have discussed it with Joey. I explained to Dr. Palumbo that Joey says he has to be a spokesperson for these kids who are so sick that they can’t speak for themselves. I also told him that the psychologist feels this is to important to Joey to give up. But I completely understand him asking questions. He also asked if Joey understood that he didn’t have the type of LCH that is fatal. Joey absolutely knows that. However, Joey often has dreams that the LCH is back or that one of his friends with Histio takes a turn for the worst.

Once we went back to the examination room, Dr. Palumbo told Joey that I shared his dream with him. “Joey, I need you to know that you are not going to die and I am confident the LCH is no coming back,” Dr. Palumbo said to Joey. I think Joey needed to hear that. He needed to know that his oncologist believes he is completely fine. Dr. Palumbo also told him he was concerned about his anxiety and thought it was contributing to the pain. He told Joey he was so confident that the Histio wasn’t coming back that he didn’t need to follow up with oncology any more. Joey seemed a little relieved.

He still has to follow up with orthopedics so they can check his bone graft. He will continue counseling, massage therapy and physical therapy.

Although I’m relieved the disease is inactive, I worry about his worry and leg pain. I hope everyday that I am making the right decisions and not contributing to his anxiety. So now we concentrate on letting go of the worry (for both of us) and getting him pain-free again.

Fighting Through the Pain

Laying in bed last night I kept hearing a noise in the distance. At first I thought was it a cat outside? But then I realized… it was crying… it was Joey crying.  He had been dealing with pain on and off for weeks now but it had become unbearable last night.

Joey has missed about six days of school since mid-August due to leg and hip pain. He ends up in the nurses office almost daily, sometimes a few times a day, to stretch and try to deal with the pain. It often becomes too much and he comes home early from wheelchair

This is a side effect from Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (Histio or LCH). LCH has recently been reclassified as a cancer instead of a cancer-like disease. Joey’s white blood cells attacked his hip bone eating it away. After a month or more of excruciating pain he was diagnosed, had major surgery, spent a lot of time in Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital, spent months in a wheel chair and years in physical therapy. The Histio is inactive at this time but the pain isn’t. In fact, it has become more and more frequent. The unexplained pains can last an hour, days or weeks. It prevents him from being able to do normal kid things

His sis gives him a lift

His sis gives him a lift

We have tried prescription pain meds, over the counter pain meds, yoga, acupuncture, Reiki, vitamins, herbs, a special diet, massage, chiropractor, heat, ice, a tens unit and lots of physical therapy. Medicine doesn’t seem to help at all. The multi vitamin, protien shake and Turmeric definitely doesn’t hurt him so he continues to take it. Reiki, massage, acupuncture, PT, heat and the tens unit give temporary relief. Temporary relief is better than no relief so we continue to do these things no matter the cost or sacrifice.

I spoke to the lead LCH expert via email recently. Dr. McClain told me that the unexplained pain seems to be common in those with bone LCH and he hopes to some day figure out why and how to get rid of this horrible side effect. We can only hope and pray that he or another doctor figures it out. But until then, we continue to try anything we can think of.  And when Joey isn’t looking, I break down in tears because it’s not fair that my almost 13-year-old boy has to live with chronic pain.


Hot tub therapy

Hot tub therapy



My Generation Sucks

I heard a high school sophomore say  “My generation sucks!” She said she wished she was growing up in the 90′s. I had to wonder if she realized:

1. We didn’t have cell phones in the 90′s.

2. We didn’t have laptops, tablets, social media or selfies in the 90′s either

3. We used a big bulky Walkman in the 90′s instead of a small sleek iPod to hear music.

4. We didn’t have access to download millions of songs in the 90′s. Instead, we bought tapes and CDs.

5. We enjoyed the grunge look in the 90′s. I wonder if she would trade her crop top for a giant flannel shirt.

6. We walked or road our bikes everywhere in the 90′s. No calling mommy for a ride at the drop of a hat.

I enjoyed the 90′s though. We had no idea we were missing out on all the technology and thought we looked good in those over-sized flannels. I don’t think having technology would suck either. I don’t think if I was 15 right now that I would necessarily be overheard saying “My generation sucks.” However, after hearing some of the things I heard out of teenagers mouths and seeing certain behaviors over the last few weeks, maybe their generation does suck.

Two women protesting about victim-blaming and slut-shaming at New York City's SlutWalk in October 2011

Two women protesting about victim-blaming and slut-shaming at New York City’s SlutWalk in October 2011

“I would rather be called a slut or a whore by my friends than a bitch,” is one of the most disturbing things I have heard in a long time. I wanted to grab this girl by her shoulders, shake her and ask her what the hell was wrong with her.

This inspired a talk with my own 15-year-old daughter. It hit me that the words slut and whore are used as every day language. Thinking back, I remember slut being a term we threw around jokingly from time to time I guess. But I definitely remember using the word bitch with my friends more than that. What is completely disturbing is these girls, or a lot of them, are okay with being called a slut or a whore, even if they aren’t one. I tried to tell my daughter that those words are almost as derogatory as calling a black person the N word or a person with Downs retarded. I told her that not only should she never call anyone those words, she should never allow anyone to call her those words. I told her to stand up for herself and tell her friends that those words are not slang words she is willing to use or be called. The response: “okay mom,” followed with an eye roll.

“Most of the kids were okay with others commenting on their physical assets.” At least this one was worded a little better but basically a group of boys thought it was alright to comment on the girls bodies in front of a group and most of the girls were just fine with that. I caught them flipping their hair and giggling in response. What is wrong with these kids? First of all why isn’t anyone teaching these boys that this is not okay? It is not okay to comment on a girls boobs, butt, legs or anything else. Secondly, why do these girls giggle and flip their hair? As a society have we taught them that inappropriate comments about their bodies defines their self-worth? Are they too afraid to speak up for themselves?

This too inspired a conversation with my  own daughter. I hope I got through to her when I told her that this is never okay. Telling someone that they look nice or beautiful is fine, commenting on specific body parts is not. I also plan to talk to my almost 13-year-old son about this because I don’t ever want him talking to a girl this way.

“God, I wasn’t doing anything,” was said by a teenage boy with his arms in the air to an adult he barely knew, the mother of a girl he liked. The mother had caught the two kids who barely knew each other kissing. The boy actually started running his mouth and stormed off. Teenagers are going to kiss. Parents are going to catch them in the act and it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone involved. But my gosh be a man (or a young man about it). Don’t throw your arms in the air and disrespect the girl’s parents. By doing that, you will probably never see that girl again. I have no clue why a teenager would think it is okay to be disrespectful to adults. My mother would have lost it on me had I ever talked to another adult like that. Save that behavior for your own parent! LOL I laugh but we know they treat us worse than other adults.andi homecoming

My 15-year-old daughter seems to have a decent balance of common sense and book smarts, although she can say some pretty dingy things sometimes. She gets As and Bs in school and hangs out with a great group of girls who I really like. She’s almost 5’8, thin and has long blonde hair and green eyes. Yeah, she’s a knock out. But honestly I never really worried too much about her until the last few weeks as I’ve been out in the community at events and have heard these stupid things come out of other teenagers mouths. Now I worry. But I guess all I can do is keeping talking to her about self-worth, what is and isn’t appropriate, to be respectful of others and to demand respect of herself.     first day A

So yeah, they might have iPods, laptops, social media and cute little outfits but I may just agree a little that their generation sucks. What do you think?


Team Super Joey Gears Up for Histio Hike Ohio 2014

This post is written by Joey Holt.

My mom tells me that I am five in a million. That’s because I have a rare, cancer-like disease called Langerhans Cell

2012 - spent months in a wheelchair

2012 – spent months in a wheelchair

Histiocytosis ( that impacts five in one million. I’m 12-1/2 now but was diagnosed with LCH at age 10 after my white blood cells attacked my hip bone eating it away. I had to get a bone graft, steroid treatment, spend months in a wheelchair, use a walker and crutches and endure 2-1/2 years of physical therapy.

Due to debilitating pain, I have been in and out of the hospital over the last 2-1/2 years and missed a lot of school. Luckily I have awesome teachers and am determined to not fall too far behind. I am in the 7th grade this year.

There is no known cause or cure for Histio. Just like cancer, it can attack the bones, organs or skin again at any time. Many children need transplants or chemotherapy to treat. If it attacks me again, I will undergo chemotherapy. Since it is a rare disease, it does not receive state or federal funding for research. The majority of the money for research comes from the families of Histio patients, the same people who are usually dealing with excessive medical bills.


In spite of everything I have dealt with, I am determined to participate in the Histio Hike Ohio this September in honor of Histio Awareness Month but I need to raise funds and awareness.

Histio Hike Ohio 2013 - Histio Warriors and their siblings

Histio Hike Ohio 2013 – Histio Warriors and their siblings

I am asking you to help one of two ways. 

 TeamSuperJoey_Mockup_Final (3)

  1. Buy a 2014 #TeamSuperJoey T-shirt (pictured below) for $15. You can pay via paypal ( or by
    cash or check. Payment not due until shirt arrives. Be sure to sport your shirt around to raise awareness.


  1. Sponsor me in the Histio Hike Ohio, which takes place September 26-28. Visit Whether it’s a $5 donation or a $500 donation, it will help.


Please email questions to my mom Gina (Holt) Stegner at Money raised will be donated to Histio research in hopes to find a cure for me and others who have Histio.

Princess Sophia - 4-1/2-years-old, has HLH and lives at the Ronald McDonald House, thousands of miles from home for treatment.

Princess Sophia – 4-1/2-years-old, has HLH and lives at the Ronald McDonald House, thousands of miles from home for treatment.

Super Joey

Super Joey


Joey Holt    :)

Please help us find a cure.


Histio Hike Ohio 2014 – For a Cure

histio ribbon“Being with people who understand,” is what Joey, age 12, said when asked what his favorite part is of the Histio Hike Ohio. Last year Joey was able to meet dozens of other kids, and even a few adults, who also have a form of Histiocytosis. Joey has Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. His white blood cells attacked and ate his hip bone. He had to get a bone graft, was in a wheelchair for quite some time, took high doses of steroids and pain meds and two years later still does physical therapy. He has been in and out of the hospital over the last two years, has regular check ups in oncology for his cancer-like disease and still deals with unexplained debilitating pain that can last weeks, even months at a time.

Some of the kids he has met have gone through intensive chemotherapy and steroid treatment, received bone marrow and/or organ transplants, have had to move away from their friends and family to get treatment at an out of state hospital and so much more.

This disease can attack any of these kids, including Joey, again at any time. It can attack their bones, skin or organs. It’s just like cancer (Read: At Least it’s Not Cancer). There is no known cause and no known cure. The one comfort these kids get is when they can come together and feel normal, even if it’s just a weekend in Shawnee State Park for Histio Hike Ohio Sept 26-28.

We are in the process of forming Team Super Joey for this year’s hike. We have set a goal to raise $1000. There are two ways you can help us raise the money and find a cure for Joey and his friends.TeamSuperJoey_Mockup_Final (3)

1.  Buy a 2014 Team Super Joey Tshirt. Cost is $15 or four for $50. They come in youth and adult sizes. You can buy via paypal (, be sure to put your size, quantity and address. You can also email with your order.

2. Make an online donation to sponsor Joey in the Histio Hike Ohio by clicking here (this is a tax write off).

Please help us find a cure and buy a T-shirt and/or make a donation today.


Joey Histio flyer 2014 final