I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

To my sons in the future... a revenge letter.

Dear L, H, & A2,

H & A2

L & H
I love you guys.  You have so many wonderful traits and when we are in public I am so proud to call you  my sons because of all the compliments I get and how well-behaved you are.


I want you to be prepared for something.  It will happen after you graduate from high school and you sleep in my home.  Shortly after you fall asleep, I will creep into your room very quietly.  I will set the alarm on my phone with the most annoying sound I can think of.  Then, at random intervals throughout the night I will set the alarm off and laugh to myself as you grumble and attempt to ignore it.  I will get a kick out of the fact that you seem beyond annoyed and exhausted.  Then I will stroll back to my own bed.

Why, you ask?  Because you did it to me.  There was no rhyme or reason behind it.  You weren't teething, you weren't sick, you slept in a bed in the same room with me until you were a toddler.  You would just wake up screaming for no good reason.  I would pat you and put you back to sleep, then maybe get in another hour before you woke up again.  Sometimes you would end up sleeping in bed with me because I was just too exhausted with the whole up and down thing and refused to do it anymore.

I had to wait a good three years until you were able to comprehend, "go to your room and leave me the heck alone."  That's three years of my life that I won't ever get back (the younger two will have overlapped a bit, but L had the whole three years to ruin my sleep all by himself.  I was lucky enough that with my daughter, who is the oldest, she started sleeping 10-12 hours straight through the night when she was around 6 weeks old!

And if you eventually have children of your own, I will revel in your droopy eyes, the circles underneath them and your scraggly appearance.  Because I'm that kind of person.  And I'm okay with it.

Love always,

*And for those who are pointing out the sleep I will lose by tormenting my sons with my plan, the nice thing is that once my children are older I can sleep anytime I want.  I can get a good night's sleep, I can nap, I can doze off while driving.  I'm willing to sacrifice in order to get revenge. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My 24 hour #Facebook deactivation experiment

Now, this is not a tale of woe, but it may sound like I'm hosting a pity party and that you are invited.  This is more an eye-opening experiment that I conducted that I wanted to share the results.

How hard or easy would this be for you?
Yesterday was my birthday.  As you all know, Facebook reminds everyone daily of which of their friends is having a birthday that day.  Several months ago (maybe almost a year) I took a weed whacker to my friends list.  It wasn't because I was mad or felt slighted in any way, it was because I didn't even know 80% of the people I was "friends" with.  I was trying to build a large friend base in order to promote my social media presence for this blog.  But I started to get frustrated with the fact that I couldn't share personal details or information because I didn't want strangers to know as much of my business as I was willing to share with the people I actually know and would publicly recognize as "friends" (although we all know that not all of our Facebook "friends" are people we really want as friends.)

So, I weed whacked it from probably 1500 to 95ish.  I've since added maybe 20 and started a Facebook page for this blog so I could keep the more personal things to just my "friends."  Now, back to the birthdays.  I'll let you in on a not so secret secret that I'm "friends" with some people who I would say hi to and maybe have a short chit chat.  So I don't tell everyone happy birthday even though Facebook tells me it is their birthday.  I do tell the people who I actually like and would probably hang out with if they asked me to.

So as part of my experiment, I deactivated my account on Tuesday night and planned to reactivate it this morning.  I wanted to see how many people would remember my birthday without Facebook telling them.  Now, if someone is only really "friends" with me because of Facebook, I don't fault them for not knowing, because they wouldn't even have any way to tell me aside from Facebook.  But there are people who have my number or follow me/friend me on other social networking sites. 

And guess what... TWO PEOPLE.  Yes, TWO PEOPLE remembered my birthday (aside from the requisite cordial "happy birthday" from two of my siblings, but that doesn't count because we aren't even friends on Facebook- plus they have it easy in remembering because it's our mom's birthday too.)  So, a whole TWO PEOPLE that I consider friends remembered my birthday and texted me to tell me.  Sorry to one person who doesn't count because my husband pointed it out to her the day before and she didn't know.  I do appreciate it though because she offered to watch my kids so I could do something... but I didn't.  Instead I cried myself to sleep at 8pm and had frozen chicken nuggets for dinner.

The experiment taught me a lesson on friendship, but also taught me that although it was a task, I was able to go a day without Facebook.  The only thing I missed was during downtime when I was trying to get one of the kids to sleep or when I was waiting at an appointment, I would usually kill time seeing if anything interesting was going on with anyone or sharing memes.  Other than that, I didn't miss it at all!  I think I could easily do without my personal account, but it's a nice way to kill time.  I don't even really stalk anyone, so that is another reason it would be easy for me to do away with.

In case anyone wants to respond, here's a prompt: what do you use Facebook for the most?  How long do you think you could go without it?

Personalized Picture Book #Giveaway from @PutMeInTheStory #BookMagic

My little guys sharing a book.
Here I go again, gotta saddle up and jump on my soapbox: I'm a huge proponent of childhood literacy and I think that when a child learns to love reading when they are young, it will continue throughout their lives and they will continue to enjoy reading as adults.  There are so many positive things that come from a love of reading and so much knowledge to be gained from books.

It makes me so happy to see my kids reading and the fact that my infant and toddler love to sit down and look at books brings me so much joy because they became curious on their own, but they learn so much just from their curiosity and interest in what words match pictures and what the words mean.  It makes me sad to think that there are some kids out there who never get to experience the magical feeling of a good book.  I'd love to see it become more common to see a book in a child's hand than an electronic device... perhaps and unattainable dream.

With the love of reading and the magic of the experience in mind, Put Me In The Story personalized books allows parents to have some of their favorite book characters include them in their fun adventures by adding your child's name and image into the books themselves.  This will make reading all the more fun because they can use their imagination and see their name on the pages to pull themselves into the story.

Personalized books would make a great gift, and right now Put Me In The Story is hosting a giveaway to bring some #BookMagic to your family's holiday this year!

Prizes (Drawn December 6th):
  • ·         Grand prize: $500 shopping spree on Put Me In The Story
  • ·         50 winners will receive a free personalized book of their choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How much do you know about Alzheimer's? Take action and help prevent! @alzregistry #endALZnow

Last Wednesday I attended a webinar about Alzheimer's that was put on by Banner Health.  What I knew about Alzheimer's could have fit in a thimble.  I think many of my fellow attendees felt the same, even though when polled, 100% of us said that we knew/had known someone personally that had been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's.  I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about it and how far science has come in prevention research.

Graphic courtesy of alz.org.
Banner's Alzheimer's Institute is committed to developing a new standard of care for the many individuals who have been affected by Alzheimer's.  Through innovative and groundbreaking research, they are becoming better able to understand the environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to a person developing this disease.  An important thing to note that I was completely clueless about was the difference between Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.  I could be wrong (it's happened once or twice), but I believe my paternal grandmother suffered from dementia at the end of her life.  From what I remember (I believe she passed in 2005) her quality of life became very sub-par and she was unable to take care of herself at all.  She was a resident in a long-term care facility with 24 hour nurses on staff.  Her memory was very bad at the end as well and she couldn't remember from one day to the next who or what she had talked about.  Her short term memory was very bad.

So I learned that dementia is actually an umbrella term for Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.  Each has its own specific symptoms and diagnoses.  Some people believe that Alzheimer's is just a normal part of aging, but it is not.  It is a disease, which like other diseases, has a science behind it with a mystery waiting to be unlocked.  The Banner Alzheimer's Institute is very much committed to prevention and treatment (and hopefully one day, a cure.)  They collaborate internationally as well, to learn from and teach other scientists around the world about new developments in the search for a cure and methods for prevention.

Advances in genomics have helped to further research and bring about new ideas about prevention.  But what I really want my readers to walk away with is the idea of how to help.  Researchers need to conduct trials, but they can not do so without the help from many, MANY volunteers who want to help further the cause.  There is an Alzheimer's Prevention Registry that is a growing online community of over 44,000 members who are passionate about combating the disease. The website allows you to sign up for information and ways that you can help, including alerting you to studies that might be going on in areas around you.

By signing up, you are not donating your body to science, you are not committing to rigorous testing, probing questions or lifelong harassment.  It's all voluntary, you offer what help you want or none at all.  The idea behind it is that by finding out more about those related to someone who was diagnosed by Alzheimer's Disease, scientists may be able to find a common genetic characteristic that can predetermine those at risk and eventually prevent it from occurring at all.

So, have you had someone in your life that was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?  I'm curious what percentage of my readers have.  How much do you actually know about the disease?  I haven't even touched the surface with information about ALZ.  If you know someone, feel free to take a look at the registry.  Looking doesn't hurt anything and maybe you will see that registering is a good thing and that the more research scientists are able to do, the closer they can come to a cure.

*I was provided an incentive for my time on this post.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What happens when you're the only one in the room who knows what a #meme is?

I just had to share this...

Friday night I was sitting in my living room along with my friend and my husband while our hoodlum children played together.  Said friend had brought McDonald's for her kids and had some cheeseburger left.  My cat snagged the bun off the top and I jumped on the opportunity to say, "She haz cheeseburger!"  

They both just stared at me blankly...

I turned to my friend and said, "you know what a meme is, right?"  

She said, "no."

I looked at my husband and he said, "I know what a meme is, but I don't know what you're talking about."

I'm sorry, Social Media, I've failed at sharing your awesomeness.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Check out the snazzy collector's box and the cool swag!
Even though The Carol Burnett show debuted a couple decades before I did, I have been a huge Carol Burnett fan since a child!  I first learned who she was during my addiction to the movie version of "Annie," where she played Miss Hannigan.  I would catch reruns of The Carol Burnett Show in syndication, and then saw the movie "Noises Off."  I read a biography about her, and yep, I think that constitutes me as a lifelong fan as I still love her to this day!  She was a recent guest on both The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Colbert Report and both served for a great interview that showcased her phenomenal wit and fantastic sense of humor!

But now, I can alleviate my need for a Carol Burnett fix anytime I want because I received a gratis box set of The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection.  And if you have anyone in  your life (or you want to reward yourself) that is an avid fan, this is THE PERFECT GIFT!!  They can take a DVD with them on trips to pass the time, keep some close by their DVD player for any night that they need a good laugh, or they could invite you over and have you watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE with them, only allowing for 5 minute bathroom breaks every 10 episodes.  How fantastic does that sound!! 

Here's some info:

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, one of television's landmark variety shows, debuted on CBS in 1967 and ran for 11 years, receiving 25 Emmy® Awards and five Golden Globes, making it one of the most honored shows in television history. And, TIME Magazine named THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW one of the "100 Best Television Shows of all Time".  Now, thanks to StarVista Entertainment, THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION delivers to comedy lovers and TV DVD aficionados an unprecedented collection - simply the most definitive, extras laden version of the program ever released.

Housed in a collectible box, THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION contains 50 classic episodes hand-picked by Carol herself and more than twenty hours of new bonus features.  Along with a 18-page memory book, bonuses include three episodes from The Garry Moore Show where Carol got her start, including the "Supergirl" episode, where Carol did her Tarzan yell for the first time; rare sketches from the first five seasons of show, not seen anywhere in over 40 years with guest appearances by Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers, Bernadette Peters, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Van Dyke, Shirley MacLaine, Rock Hudson, Vincent Price, Phil Silvers, Joel Grey, The Smothers Brothers, Stiller & Meara, Tony Randall and many others; and a raucous 3-part Cast Reunion with Carol, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner. Exclusive featurettes also include "I Want to Push That Button..."-The History of The Carol Burnett Show"; "Leading Lady--Carol as a Television Pioneer"; and, "Breaking Up Is Hard...Not to Do -- The Ensemble Chemistry and Famous "break-ups" on The Carol Burnett Show", a 90-minute, rarely-seen emotional and revealing interview with Harvey Korman and Conway at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, and over 20 interviews with guests (including Betty White, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis), writers and current performers influenced by Carol (Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler).

Overview of Nemours Reading BrightStart! @readbright #literacy

As someone who has taught remedial Reading at a local community college, I have seen the effects of young adults who have grown up without the necessary tools needed to be successful readers.  And as a parent and reading lover myself, I know how important it is to promote healthy reading habits and that in doing so, children who love to read become adults who love to read and benefit from so many good effects that reading has brought to them.

Some parents may find that as they watch their little ones progress developmentally, they might need a bit of help when it comes to the approach of literacy.  Enter Nemours BrightStart! 
Nemours BrightStart!’s mission is to promote reading success and prevent reading failure for all children, focusing on birth to age 8. Through innovative programs, research, advocacy and partnerships, we design and implement unique and highly effective tools and training that consistently yield life-changing results.
I was offered the opportunity to participate in a webinar presentation for BrightStarts!  Since I am a lifelong reader and want my children to mirror that trait, I jumped at the chance.  I was also compensated for participating, but that was just icing on the cake.  With so many children turning to video games and TV for entertainment, it worries me that parents might forget how pivotal literacy is and that children need to start looking at books from birth and reading should be an activity that parents should share with their children and help them on their journey to becoming good readers on their own.

BrightStarts! website is a great tool for parents (and educators) who would like additional assistance in what works for what age, what to look for when helping their child learn to read, what risk factors to look for, as well as many other helpful expert tips.  There is also an invaluable FREE READING SCREENER for children aged 3-5.  Also on their website are recommended reading lists based on age as well as helpful articles for parents, at-home activities and more.

Nemours Foundation realized the important link between children's health and reading and in 2005, they funded the Nemours BrightStarts! program.  Since then, the program has been used in over 1100  classrooms, 20 states and its tools have served over 70,000 children.  

If you have young children, work with young children or would like to become a literacy advocate, please take a look at their website and the information on it.  There are ways to connect with questions, but the website offers so much invaluable information, there are plenty of starting points to help children build a lifetime of success through knowledge and love of reading.
Try "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" or other one syllable sounds that are simple for your baby to mimick.