Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Tis the season...

...to be scared out of one's mind. With October 1st right around the corner, Halloween is quickly approaching. And I'm not quite sure how my little guy is going to make it for the next month with all of the goblins and ghouls that will be popping up in various forms around town.

Right around this time last month, we made a family trip to Lowe's one day. Lowe's already had some Halloween decorations for sale, including a life size grim reaper of sorts near the entrance. Of course, it scared the living s*** out of my 4-year old son. Ever since then, he's been coming into our bedroom at night and staying in our bed until morning. Now, I know The Nanny would shake her thumb at us about this in disapproval and encourage us to remedy the situation immediately, getting that boy back into his own bed...for the entire night, every night. In truth, I empathize with my son and let him snuggle up with us just because I know what he's going through. I was always a scaredy-cat myself when I was young. Nighttime was not the happiest for me. I remember being really scared often. Plus, for some asinine reason, my dad thought it was ok for me to watch The Exorcist on TV when I was about ten years old. That movie pushed me over the edge. I swear, I should've gone to therapy because of that damn film. I was totally traumatized by it and didn't get over it well into my late teens. So, I know what it's like to be scared at night, and I really don't want my son to grow up with the many nighttime anxieties that I grew up with.

So far, we are doing what we can to help him avoid scary situations. We're keeping him away from stores that might have gruesome Halloween decorations. He likes books about Halloween, but we are getting books from the library about the holiday which won't frighten him.

Any other advice for this parent about how to ease my son's mind of these type of fears? I could sure use some.

Monday, September 28, 2009

40 and Fabulous

I wrote about my Second Attempt at weight loss earlier this month. I am here to tell you that I am very encouraged by some success. I feel fantastic and I have dropped 10 pounds. Now, 10 pounds is a drop in the bucket to what I need to lose however, it is a really good start. And I have found some motivation recently that I want to share.

I am turning 40 on May 28 next year. So, my goal is to be 40 and Fabulous. Now, I am already fabulous in many ways however, I want to be even more fabulous by dropping more of this weight by my big day. I am not putting a number on it. I know it when I feel it.

Also, I had another cupcake challenge this weekend. I know that this seems really counter-productive to my overall goal however, the challenge took place a Goldie's Shoe Parlor. If you are in the Milwaukee area, go directly to Goldie's...do not pass "Go"....bring $200. They have the cutest stuff on the planet!! It is one of those rare boutiques that have clothes for real sizes. So, my goal is to buy something fabulous for the my 40 and Fabulous birthday!!

Wish me luck! So far....so good:-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friendships for Your Health

Our 100th post got me thinking last week, that I am lucky to have so many friends. True, not all of the friends I mentioned are as close as others, but, I still hold them close to my heart and I wanted to let them know.

With another birthday looming, I have found myself reflecting over the past week or two- how much life changes, sometimes without your even realizing it and others it is more in our faces than you would like. At certain points in our lives, some friends come to the foreground while others fade away. Thinking about this made me a little sad, but, I know it is not something that always happens on purpose. It just does.

After reading an article called "You Just Gotta Have Friends," in the October issue of Self Magazine, I was reminded of the four different levels of friendship including "acquantances, casuals, close and lifers". Regardless of the level, each of them is important to our well being(Frankel, 2009).

In 1998, a study at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor found that people who were isolated had an increased risk of mortality similar to that of cigarette smokers. More recent studies show that lonely people "get high blood pressure, sleep poorly and have weakend immunity". People who feel connected, however, "are simply healthier- they have better cardiovascular health and report a higher level of satisfaction," says professor of social psychlogy, Shelly Gable, Ph.D. (Frankel, 2009).

The article goes on to talk about how some people who form smaller networks of friends have found they can be just as valuable, if not more so, as those who have larger ones. I am sorry I could not provide a link because the article is not yet available on line, but, the issue is worth a read for this article and a number of others.

Keeping in touch when life gets rough or busy is hard, but, most of us are lucky enough to also have friends who all you have to do is pick up the phone and it won't matter how long its been since the last time you talked. I thank God for that and any time one of them chooses to place the call to me in return, she knows I will be there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Difference Between Men and Woman

Over the last week or two, I have experienced two examples of the difference between men and women:

1. My husband has lived in this house since 1996. I joined him in 2001. Since my move in, I have met ALL the neighbors. I have had playdates with some, got strawberries and apples from others and even got a poker night in or two. My husband, just talked to the neighbor to our north...this week! Yep...that's 13 years living adjacent to someone with a polite wave while mowing the lawn but no verbal exchange.

2. Moms can walk into an elementary school, no questions asked. They belong there. They are supposed to be there. Dads walk in an they get the third degree. "Who are you again?" "What are you here for?" "Who is your child, again?" Not fair for Daddy:-(

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Could I really do it?

Sorry for posting so late in the day, but, I have been playing catch up all week. It has been one of those horrendous periods at work where I am working late most nights, getting in some working outs, eating okay for the most part, going home and vegging and then it starts all over again the next day at 5:15 or so.

We can barely handle the new kitten that we have added to the family in the mornings. It is times like these that my husband and I both wonder, could we really handle being parents in addition to all of this when things get rough? So, we are still floundering and putting it off. I have been very tired lately and my nerves have been a little shot. As a mother, I know fatigue is often a part of daily life. I also wonder how I will continue to meet the expectations of my colleagues and myself at work. These are just a few of my concerns none of which even begin to broach the subject of being a good mom (that is a whole other set of concerns).

I need to get back to work, but, had to put this out there. I am sure there are other working moms who may have something to share in response. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kindergarteners have it rough

My son started 4-yr. old preschool in August. I'm in shock that he is growing up so quickly. During the three days a week that he is in school, I often wonder where the time has gone. Down the street from us, there are a few kids who are 5 and started Kindergarten this year. My own memories of Kindergarten (albeit very few) include coming home for lunch and then taking a nap if I was really tired out. In this day and age, Kindergarteners have it rough. Our neighborhood kids get on the bus before 8 AM and don't walk in the door at home again until after 4 PM. Is it me, or is this totally crazy?? I can't imagine putting little 5 year olds through such a long day, but that's what we do now. Since when did Kindergarten become an all day affair? I mean, it has essentially become 1st grade, if you think about it. It sure does seem like a lot for our little people to have to handle, and I'm not too thrilled with the prospect of that kind of life for my son next year. Unfortunately, our income won't allow for attendance at a private school, so we're stuck with what is offered here in our public schools. And, no, I'm not even considering homeschooling. My sanity must be preserved. 'Nuff said.

I haven't researched the matter, but I'm assuming all day Kindergarten came about as a result of two things: 1) mothers started working full time out of the home and needed childcare, and 2) our academics across the nation went down the toilet in comparison with the rest of the western world, so we decided our youth needed to learn more at an earlier age.

In spite of those two reasons, you can mark this mama down as not a fan of all day Kindergarten. I just don't think it's necessary for our 5 year olds. Why can't we let them enjoy their childhood a little longer like we were allowed to when we were young?

What's your opinion on this one?

Monday, September 14, 2009

100 Things We Admire

This is our 100Th post and to commemorate the occasion, we are listing 100 things that we admire in other women and in ourselves. So, in no particular order:

1. Strength.

2. Intelligence.

3. Beauty.

4. Perseverance.

5. Resilience.

6. Compassion.

7. Nurturing.

8. Organization.

9. Baking.

10. Cooking.

11. Hugs.

12. Kisses

13. Encouragement.

14. Spiritual.

15. Determined.

16. Focused.

17. Not Afraid to Make Hard Decisions.

18. Knowing How to Live with the Consequences of those Decisions.

19. Loving.

20. Generosity.

21. Green.

22. In Touch with Her Emotions.

23. Lives Life to the Fullest.

24. Entrepreneur

25. Passionate.

Brenda's list:
26. my mom's unconditional love for me and my brother...and now for her grandchild.
27. my mom's selflessness and attendance to our needs when we were growing up...and still now.
28. my mom's influence in developing my love of travel, music, art, and so many other things!
29. my mom's strength in being a breast cancer and open-heart surgery survivor.
30. my mom's yummy cooking.
31. my grandmother's unending generosity.
32. my grandmother's faith.
33. my grandmother's style and flair.
34. my grandmother's endearing vanity of wearing lipstick everywhere...which has now become my own as well.
35. my aunt's ability to look absolutely terrific...even at 80.
36. my aunt's impeccable taste in decorating and fashion.
37. my mother-in-law's knack for organization
38. my MIL's work ethic at her artistic crafts
39. my MIL's ability to make a lovely home and garden look so easy
40. my sisters'-in-law kindness, good-naturedness, and ease at great conversation
41. my mom's and my passion for teaching.
42. my girlfriends for so many things...such as their kindness...
43. ...and ability to forgive even when it's hard...
44. ...and the way we can make each other laugh...
45. ...and the immediate offer of a shoulder (or an ear) if I need a good cry...
46. ...and the way we can work together to create something special...
47. ...and the way they can get us organized when my skills are lacking the ability to do so...
48. ...and the way they've been strong and turned lemons into lemonade.
49. my love and dedication to my son.
50. my dedication to nursing my son...for 42 months! (no, I'm not crazy, really)

51. We can grow people. How cool is that?

52. We hold our families together

53. Katy Perry was right, "Hard to resist, so touchable"

54. Even when the going gets tough, we still get up in the morning and keep on going

55. Being a mom makes you feel powerful. Don't get between me and my kid, man...I'll take you out...I don't care if you're a linebacker!

56. Behind every great man is a great woman. I'm almost 40 and am now just starting to grasp how real this is. Men would be lost without us, don't you think?

57. When my mom tried to buy a house in the 70's, they wouldn't give her a mortgage because they didn't think she'd be working very long before she stayed home to have babies. I bought my own house at 28. All by myself.

58. That was two years after I went to Europe with 2 of my best girlfriends. They helped me fulfil one of my grandmother's life-long wishes. Neat, huh?

59. I think it's awesome that many Native Americans thought women were so powerful when they had their periods, they separated them from the rest of the tribe. I wish we still thought of it that way.

60. Suffragettes, like Susan B. Anthony. For that matter, there's a lot of other noteworth women I admire for what they've done, and how they've lived their lives.

61. Sally Ride

62. Katherine the Great

63. Katherine Hepburn

64. Jackie Kennedy

65. Eleanor Roosevelt

66. Sojourner Truth

67. Barbara Bush

68. Maya Angelou

69. Julia Child

70. Emily Dickinson

71. Betty Friedan

72. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

73. Rosa Parks and all the women who pioneered "firsts" for the rest of us

74. The wonderful women I write this blog with

75. My daughter, who showed me the kind of woman I want to be

From Kari: Let me preface this by saying I am lucky enough to have women in my life who have a number of the following traits in common; I am pointing out the traits I admire that are more predominant.

76. My mom's sensibility and ability to manage numerous projects at one time

77. My mom's ability to make me calmer just by being there

78. My aunt Teri's strength even though she doesn't know it's there sometimes

79. My cousin Jen's resilience

80. My sister Charity's generosity

81. My friend Kristin's sense of humor

82. My friend Janet's sense of self

83. My friend Brenda's dedication

84. My friend Sue's tenacity

85. My friend Diane's moxie

86. My friend Therese's devotion

87. My grandmother Marion's sense of style

88. My grandmother Evelyn's courage

89. My aunt Barb's patience

90. My friend Amy's enthusiasm

91. My friend Lisa's perceptiveness

92. My friend Nancy's jovial attitude

93. My mother in law Mary's good naturedness and devotion

94. The many who are gifted and willingly share their gifts with others

95. The many who can make me smile or laugh

96. The many who are insightful

97. The many who inspire me to try harder

98. The many who know what it is to be a friend unconditionally

99. The many who know how to listen

100. The many who know how to love in unique ways