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« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

January 2008

January 30, 2022

What Do You Really Value?

Today we're featuring guest blogger Carol Muse Evans, publisher of Birmingham Parent magazine in Alabama. When I read her publisher's letter in the January issue, I asked to use it as a guest post here because I thought it would speak to a lot of parents the way it spoke to me. Thanks, Carol!

Each year, I and many others write a list of New Year’s resolutions that are often abandoned before the ink is dry. But this year, my resolutions aren’t about losing weight (though I need to), exercising more (ditto) or other frivolous causes. I have more lasting things on my mind.

I’m more reflective in 2008 — perhaps I’m feeling my age a bit, readying for my empty nest in a few years since I now have teenagers, and just realizing that life is a little shorter as the obituary page becomes a bit more familiar each day I open the newspaper.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but I am trying to live more like I would want to, and want to be remembered for. It seems books I read, movies I see and sermons I hear are moving me in that direction. Perhaps it is God who is leading me down this path.

This year, my list is more important than ever to me, and I’m going to try really hard to make it. Here are some of the things on MY resolution list:

•    I want to right wrongs. For those I have hurt inadvertently or purposefully, I want to try to make it right. While I cannot make people forgive or forget, I want to try to bring resolution in areas when I need to.

•    I want to get over being bitter about things. Old relationships, old hurt, old business dealings gone wrong and even old school-day pains. I want it gone, out of me.

•    I want to reunite with old friends and relatives with whom I’ve lost touch. We get so busy, we often let relationships, particularly long-distance ones, go.

•    I want to let my house get a little dirtier and have more fun. I want to give up trying to have the perfect life and really have the perfect life — by spending more time having fun with my family. I want to do things I’ve never done — like snow skiing, taking that ballroom-dancing class, etc. — and enjoy life.

•    I want to help the less fortunate. Many of us just think of it during the holiday season, and while that’s important, I want to remember those who are in need ALL year long and do more than I’ve ever done before. God has blessed me, and I want to pay it forward.

Ultimately, I hope by doing the above that I’ll be the best example to my children. I hope they’ll think more about the truly important things in life because they see Mom finally doing it. And that would mean everything.

Happy New Year!

January 27, 2022

Nothing Lasts Forever...

It was comical to see my husband's and my attempts to sit down and watch a movie this weekend. Normally, we rent a DVD, pick an evening, and watch the movie. No biggie.

But this was a crazy week. We had had the DVD, "Away from Her," sitting around the house all week, but we seemed to be watching the film in 20-minute dribs and drabs when we weren't busy picking up our son, Matt, and taking him places — or falling asleep!

If it had been a lesser movie, we probably would have said "Oh, forget it" after the second re-start. But we found ourselves being drawn back to it despite frequent interruptions.

This beautifully written, heartbreaking film, about a couple who has been married for 40+ years and who now faces the wife's slow decline into Alzheimer's, will stick with me for a long time. It jolted me from my to-do list and reminded me that this stage in my life — filled with baseball games, swim meets and piano lessons — is but a phase that will be over all too soon. (Just ask Matt, who can't wait to grow up and who knows exactly how many years and months it is until he starts college!) And I'd better appreciate and enjoy it.

Sometimes it's easy to complain about all I have to do, about all my obligations and concerns. But I know that someday (I hope, at least), I'll be looking back on all this craziness with fondness and happy memories. Someday, I hope, Randy and I will look back on a long and happy marriage. We're already  almost to the 15-year mark, and I try not to take that for granted.

Because anything can happen to any of us at any time. And a disease like Alzheimer's is such a thief.

Rent this movie. I can't guarantee that it won't be tough to watch. But I can promise it will leave you with a lot to think about, and appreciate, in your life. And as busy as the lives of today's parents are, that's a gift we need to give ourselves more often.

Here's the trailer from the film:

January 24, 2022

Hey Kids (and Parents)! Cancel a Catalog and Help Save the Earth

What's better for the Earth than recycling unwanted catalogs? Not getting a mailbox full of them in the first place. This morning on the Today Show, I learned about a new website that is making it easy to just say no to unwanted catalogs.

In an effort to help the environment, elementary-school kids at The Park School in Brookline, Mass. — with the help of catalogchoice.org — canceled 4,175 unwanted catalog subscriptions in a single month. That's a lot of trees and energy saved!

My 12-year-old son, Matt, just saw the movie An Inconvenient Truth in his 6th-grade science class, and it made a real impression on him — and sparked some interesting dinner-table conversation. It's so easy for kids — and adults — to think that there's not much one person can do. Well, the individual kids at The Park School certainly did their part, and it added up to something meaningful.

I'm going to start collecting our catalogs and asking Matt to go to this website to request that they stop coming. (You are asked to type in the catalog code when making your request, for easier identification.) That's one small thing our family can do to help.


January 22, 2022

Blog of the Week: "My Three Kids"

I first met fellow writer Julie Weingarden Dubin online, years ago, back when I had a terribly sexy e-mail address along the lines on "677653@compuserve.com" (remember those days?) and we were both on a Compuserve-sponsored writers' board.

Some things don't change. Julie was a wonderful writer back then, and she still is. But now she has three little ones and a LOT more to write about! Woman's Day magazine lucked out and recently brought her onboard as a weekly blogger, and "My Three Kids" was born. Every Tuesday, Julie tackles subjects ranging from back labor to first haircuts. Check out her blog. I think you'll like it a lot.

January 18, 2022

Zoned Out

As a mom who endured six years (egads!) of driving through our elementary school's drop-off zone before my son headed to middle school this year, I can attest to the fact that the parent volunteers there work tirelessly, day after day, politely encouraging parents to keep the zone moving and working hard to keep kids from being whacked at the kneecaps by their parents’ vehicles.

Dexter Ford's wonderful article, "Zone Master," appears in today's Easy Reader magazine, published  in the Los Angeles area. [Gotta love the cover art (left), too.] I have to share a taste of it with you, to entice you to check out the rest:

Every school morning at 8, give or take, you can find me standing, like a grizzly bear in cargo shorts, at the hilltop cul-de-sac where 13th Street meets John Street. Expensive cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs, dozens of SUVs, climb like caterpillars up 13th Street, waiting their turn for me to open their doors, yank backpacks, science projects and cellos out onto the curb, and shepherd their giggling spawn into the schoolyard, hopefully without sustaining blunt-force trauma.

That last part is more of a challenge than you might think. If you have kids, and you enjoy scaring yourself, you should come up to The Zone some morning and watch...


To read the entire article, click here.

January 17, 2022

Twinkies, Anyone?

To follow this mom's weight-loss journey from the beginning, just click on "Weight Loss" on the "Categories" list at right and scroll down.

Jean Fain, a writer, psychotherapist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, has created a terrific, short You Tube video discussing mindful eating — and staring a Twinkie! She makes some very good points. Check it out here.

Speaking of mindful (or not) eating... The other day, I just HAD to have pizza for lunch. Wanted it. Craved it. Ended up having three pieces, while reading a magazine, and shoving it in. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I can't say I really ate it mindfully. Perhaps if I had been paying more attention, just one piece of pizza (with a salad -- what a concept!) would have made me feel satisfied.

I'll keep that in mind for next time.

It's Weigh-In Day (A Day Late!)

To follow this mom's weight-loss journey from the beginning, just click on "Weight Loss" on the "Categories" list at right and scroll down.

Well, Wednesday was supposed to be weigh-in day, but a big work deadline kept me from blogging. I DID jump on the scale, however. I thought I'd include my weight loss from the Woman's Day blog to show how it has gone over time — and to show what happens when I stop blogging and get "cute." The pounds come back!

Starting weight: 142 (May 1)
End of week 1: 139
End of week 2: 137
End of week 3: 136
End of week 4: 135
End of week 5: 134.8 (started using a digital scale)
End of week 6: 133.2
End of week 7: 132
End of week 7: on vacation; no weigh-in
End of week 8: 132
End of week 9: 131
End of week 10: 130.4
End of week 11: 130.6
End of 12-week blog: 127.2 (July 31)

No dieting or blogging for five months or so…

Starting weight (back on the wagon!): 131.4 (OK, I gained 4.2 pounds since July. Probably not so bad, given that it was the holidays recently.)
End of week 1: 130.8

Not exactly a big drop, but it's going in the right direction! If you're doing this along with me, please leave your comments and let us know how your weigh-ins are going. Let's do this together!

I'm going to commit to doing one thing differently this week: Drinking a lot more water. Care to join me? Let's see how much of a difference it makes.

P.S. I also walked for an hour today with my buddy, Ellen. Need to do more of that, too!

January 15, 2022

These Wacky Note Cards Make Saying "Thank You" Fun

Last month we talked about how to make thank-you notes more fun for kids to write. Well, I just came across a website that has the most adorable personalized stationery I've seen in a long time.

The cards aren't cheap: $35 for 25 notes plus envelopes. But they're darned cute for thank-you notes to grandparents and other special people.

Fabulousstationery.com was advertised in Blueprint magazine, which is part of Martha Stewart's empire. Not being a big Martha fan myself, I had never picked up the magazine before. But when you're bored in the doctor's-office waiting room...

I was surprised by how many articles caught my eye. And the ads aren't all for matching shrimp forks! Check out these cute notecards. It's not too late to write those holiday thank you notes!

January 12, 2022

You'll Poke Your Eye Out!

The next time your kids complain about having to wear eye protection during sports, show them this:

More than 40,000 people a year suffer eye injuries while playing sports, according to Prevent Blindness America.

For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports.

The good news: Almost all of these eye injuries can be prevented by taking the following steps:

    ° Wear proper safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball.

    ° Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.

    ° Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.

    ° Know that regular glasses don't provide enough protection.

Of course, if the entire team wears the proper equipment, that goes a long way toward making protective gear cool. So talk with your child's coaches about this important safety issue.

January 09, 2022

Hey Mom — Check Out These Reader Tips for Dropping The Pounds

Well, gang, apparently I’m not at all alone in getting on the scale, post-holiday, and being a bit taken aback. I received so many great comments so far on this topic that I thought I’d summarize some of the tips for you here (and they're all tips that busy parents can use, so there go our excuses!):

°    Julie Curtis has found that running with her dog for just 20 minutes a day has helped her lose weight. We can all squeeze in 20 minutes of exercise, right? (OK, on most days.)

°    Fred enjoys listening to Jillian Michaels (fitness coach on “The Biggest Loser”) on her radio show and has started following some of the exercises on her website.

°    Shape magazine writer Dara Chadwick, who blogs at Fit in Real Life, talked about the importance of doing JUST ONE THING — drinking more water, eating more veggies, whatever you feel will make a difference. That I can do. (And check out her blog post about the bag of chocolate chips. Boy, can I relate!)

°    Lisa Iannucci suggested taking older kids with us to the gym as guests. I didn’t even know you could do that. Her gym allows this for kids age 13 and older. Definitely something to keep in mind.

°    Heather turned us on to Ellie Krieger’s new website. I'm jazzed about Ellie's new site for an additional reason: I'm on it! Just saw her site for the first time today — and there was my photo, with the before and after pics taken by my 12-year-old son! Too funny. After I had done my Woman's Day weight-loss blog, Ellie had asked if I'd write a short testimonial for her about how well the advice in her book worked for me. I was more than happy to do that.

No, I wasn't paid a dime. This was just something I wanted to do. So there's no conflict of interest when I say Ellie is the real deal. Her advice has definitely helped me drop the pounds — while still preparing meals that my kid wants to eat. No small task.

Thanks, folks, for these great tips. Please keep ‘em coming!

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