Saturday, May 17, 2008
The study promises to be very enlightening, if not disturbing; and, it evidences two very apparent realities:
1) Childhood obesity is a health crisis that has reached the level designated as an "epidemic", and it can no longer be ignored.
2) The editors and writers of The Washington Post are clearly loyal readers of my blog.
Also check out a fantastic comment under the previous post addressing parents in denial about the subject, posted by the ever knowledgable and fabulous, Nurse Julie.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Childhood obesity is clearly a growing epidemic in our country and one look at the skyrocketing rate of diabetes in children is evidence enough. Triggered by less activity, more sedentary interests (television, computer games, etc), and poor eating habits, childhood obesity is a health crisis that will only result in more health problems into adulthood.
So why the denial from parents?
1) No one wants to see their children in a negative light. My own daughter has mastered the art of tantrums and though her last molars came in over 6 months ago, I am still inclined to believe it is teething....wisdom teething?
2) Since obese children usually come with obese parents, admitting the problem in your kids is having to admit the problem in yourself. So, the next time I start to fume over having to wait for anything (impatience is my greatest vice), perhaps I should consider the little students around me watching my every action.
I am not discounting the very real occurences of medical conditions that slow metabolism, resulting in weight problems. Cushings Syndrom and hypothyroidism are two very real conditions that lead to seemingly uncontrollable weight gain. Emotional, psychological, and behavorial issues are also commons causes, much like those that result in bulemia and anorexia.
Though most obesity is the result of poor nutrition and limited exercise, the first solution is to face it head on: admit the problem and then take proactive steps to correct it. There is no shame in struggles, just shame in the decision to do nothing about them.
For more information on childhood obesity, check out Alliance for a Healthier Generation at:
Which is why I must.
I will come clean with all the details this Monday as I need to spend some time planning for my future. You see, by divulging this information, I am ensuring my own inevitable temporary relocation (aka the "doghouse").
Look for it Monday....and then throw me some bones.
5) If you devote a good deal of your blog to the promotion and praise of Jimmy Dean foods, a palate of sausages will magically appear on your doorstep. Did I mention to anyone how much I love lobster and Chteau Latour?
4) No matter how much you need time away to recharge, after the first few hours even the most wearied mothers begin to long for the embrace of her children.
3) No matter how many questions my children ask in regard to my past, the answer will always be one of the following: (1) Since I was an English major, I never really left the library, (2) Don't you have homework to do?, or (3) Well, I was no Aunt Jeannie.
2) Even though the way in which I enjoy a good wedding has changed tremendously over the years, I still can't resist a free meal, a good DJ, and cake (my God, the cake!)
1) Despite dropping numerous hints and devoting an entire blog to good Mother's Day gift giving, your husband will still manage to choose something from the wrong list.
*Oh, and where did the term brownie points come from? Is this some kind of girl scout reference, or is there an actual game where, by earning enough points, you win brownies? And, if it is the latter, where do I get that game??
My husband and daughter both love this clip, while it gives me the overwhelming urge to stab my ear drums with a pencil.
FYI: Yes, that is actual horse manure; and no, her mother has NOT adapted to life on the farm.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today marks the joyous celebration of Mike and Amanda's fourth wedding anniversary. I still remember their wedding, and given the countless weddings having taken place among the Heritage Valley Posse over the course of three years, that in itself is a miracle.
I remember practically sitting on John and Pat's lap as we watched them exchange their vows in the sweetest, most intimate chapel. I remember their glowing faces, her gorgeous dress, and the beautiful cocktail hour on the terrace. I remember eating a little, dancing a lot, and maybe even having a cocktail or two. I remember feeling so happy for this promising couple who I was still just getting to know.
It's amazing how some weddings stay with you...Kevin referencing the Gilmore Girls at Pat's wedding, losing my shoe at Kim and Craig's, Vida smiling the entire day at hers, just starting to show in my first pregnancy at Liz and Jason's, and of course, Beth and Sean's reception, where John picked me up on the dance floor ...along with my dress. Nice.
I love waxing nostalgic...and thanks to pictures, videos, and, ahem, blogs...I do now more often than ever.
So here's to the Then vs. Now: WEDDINGS
1) I actually thought seriously about what I would wear.
2) I arrived at the church well before the ceremony to start taking pictures, and I'd linger after to try to steal some more shots over the photographer's shoulder.
3) I tried to come up with something meaningful to write on the card, a card I'd spent 20 minutes in Hallmark picking out.
4) I would linger at the cocktail hour with no regard to time, or what I was eating or how much I was imbibing.
5) I'd chat on endlessly about things that really didn't matter much, while continuing to eat and imbibe.
6) I would consume every dinner morsel on my plate with no regard to calorie or carb.
7) I would dance as long as my legs (and perhaps my liquor) would allow.
8) I would stay until the last possible moment and then unsuccessfully convince my husband to follow the stragglers to another stop to keep the night going.
9) I would return home to a long night of sleep, with no regard to wake-up time or looming obligations the next day.
1) After realizing that I have a wedding the following day, I rummage through my closet to find some semblance of a dress that still fits, bears no spit-up, and does not require extensive ironing.
2) After a list of directions is prepared for the babysitters (one of the two sets of grandparents), I throw on make-up, pretend not to notice my neglected eyebrows and nails, and say a silent prayer that I will discover magical undergarments that will lift, separate, and conceal all of my "problem areas".
3) As we rush out the door, I give kisses while trying to dodge sticky fingers, and we peel out of the driveway like two fugitives heading for the border.
4) 5 minutes from the church and two minutes to the ceremony's start, it occurs to me that I have neither card nor gift.
5) The ceremony itself is a blur caused by the two mile run we had to manage after arriving late and not being able to find a reasonable parking spot.
6) I actually crouch down in the pew to call home and check on the kids.
7) As the bride and groom process out, I take twenty pictures to make up for lost opportunities, only to realize later that I forgot something kind of important: film. No matter...time to call home.
8) We hit CVS between ceremony and reception to grab a card and some cash (who can remember a checkbook?). Dividing the chores, John hits the ATM while I grab a card that looks like it is for some special occasion and, again, only realize later it is for a Bar Mitvah. (I then try to write something funny like "With a couple like you, every celebration should be in your honor" and try to pass off the bad card choice as intentional. I call home.
9) I spend the cocktail hour counting shrimp to stay within my diet's restrictions, all while a single glass of wine goes right to my head due to a somewhat empty stomach. I try to call home but have a hard time figuring out how to dial.
9) By the arrival of dinner, my feet, unaccustomed to wearing heels, have now ballooned to the size of the bride's bouquet as my gut is starting to spill out of my undergarments (aka scuba gear). I'd call home, but the ability to breathe seems to be a requirement.
10) I dance like a cross between Elaine Bennis and Annie on barbiturates as my swollen feet make every step a step closer to certain death. Thankfully, I close my eyes to manage the pain, which saves me from having to face the looks of horror from other guests viewing my spasmodic convulsions.
11) I convince my husband it's time to head home before the cake as my will power is now gone with my sense of pride, and we return home to be in bed by 9.
12) The kids are up at 6.
Congratulations again to Mike and Amanda...and special thanks for including me in your posted wedding pictures. I am now going to burn that dress I have been hoping to one day squeeze back into. Send your own congrats to Mike and Amanda through her site at: www.amanda-inthetrenches.blogspot.com
On Baby Names
* "Persons with attractive names are usually better liked than the ones whose names have unpleasant connotations." -- January 1967
* "What do the initials spell? Sebastian Anthony Pratt would not be a good combination of names." -- January 1967
* "Most popular names of 1967: Robert, Mark, Stephen, Linda, Sandra, Susan." -- January 1967
Maintaining Your Looks
* "Your Own Wonderful Look: The changes taking place in your body evidence themselves in your physical appearance, and require a flexible beauty regime. Plan to devote more time grooming." -- January 1964
* "Getting Back into Shape: Don't ask [your girdle] to do all the work your muscles should be doing. You can prevent that sagging tummy even after a whole passel of babies if you are firm with your muscles...." -- June 1965
On Being a Good Housewife
* "Your Husband: Take a little time to consider the things you can do to make his life a little easier while you are away [in the hospital]...(1) Write out a telephone list (2) Leave him a week's supply of clean underclothes and shirts (3) Stock the refrigerator with food (4) Arrange for a maid to come in one day while you are in the hospital (5) Most important, remember to let your husband carry the baby home from the hospital." -- February 1968
* "As a rule, the major care of the baby will fall to the mother, and she will be so busy as a mother that she may forget to be a wife. Unless father is a very well adjusted personality, he is going to resent this neglect. Not only will he be resentful towards his wife, but he may also harbor subconscious antagonism toward this third person that has invaded their happy home."
-- May 1965
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
* "If you are nursing your baby, you must drink a quart of milk per day." -- March 1964
* "A Man's Point of View: As men we must admit that breasts do make lovely sweater decorations. However, as doctors, we remind you that their primary purpose is a source of food for babies." -- March 1967
* "Breastfeeding mothers have higher blood levels. They are more energetic, feel better, and are more fun to live with and be around." -- March 1967
* "Thank heavens for husbands! Not only are they nice to have around the house, but they come through in times of crisis with the calm, rational objectivity a woman sometimes needs so desperately." -- April 1965
* "Many husbands can't bear the thought that they can't bear the child.... A man, with the strength and muscles of an ox, can't see his petite wife bearing this burden.... The fragility of her appearance rouses the protective instinct in her husband -- an instinct nurtured by mixed feelings of pride and guilt." -- June 1965
* "Father is more of a novelty. He is only seen in the evenings and on weekends". -- January 1967
On Coping with Postpartum (aka The Baby Blues)
*"Overcoming the baby blues is not an easy task, but you can do it if you adopt the right attitude toward the problem and develop persistence." -- February 1970
* "Begin your scheduling by setting aside times of the day for your own quiet.... Listen to records, read a novel, experiment with makeup, make a cocktail dress, do beauty exercises, or take a nap yourself -- but don't wash the dishes!" -- February 1970
-------I think my two favorites are the idea that fathers are really just a novelty and that "making a cocktail dress" will lift your spirits.
However, I am not sure I should post it for public consumption.
I may need to be convinced.....
***And if you think you already know the story, only my mother and a cashier named Oksana know Part II.
Make sure you watch until the end....
10) The show illustrates that there is room enough for everyone: even a monster named Gonzo who falls in love with a chicken.
9) Miss Piggy taught me everything I need to know about how to be a fabulous woman: confidence, style, and a mean right hook.
8) Thanks to that adorable frog and his rainbow connection, I will never eat frog legs (and, trust me, I'll try anything once).
7) While riding his large, red bicycle, Kermit the Frog was almost flattened by a steam roller that crossed his path. Having just barely escaped certain death, he responded, "Phew, I was almost gone with the Schwinn." They just don't write comedy like that anymore.
6) In so many ways (particularly the self-deprecating ones)..I am Fozzie Bear.
5) Amidst a turbulent political climate, coupled with a precarious foothold on global diplomacy, it really takes a guy like Crazy Harry to put things into perspective. Explosions are always the answer.*
4) There is no character more relatable to the constitution of a two year old than Animal (in fact, I think my own child may have taken some cues from his dining habits)
3) If there was ever any doubt that true love exists, Kermit and Miss Piggy give us all hope...even if they are a frog and a pig, respectively.
2) I consider Waldorf and Statler my soulmates in cynicism (see clip below).
1) Some people have been known to say that my husband bears a striking resemblance to Beeker (though, you did not hear that from me).
*************As for the explosions comment, if you are reading this and are a member of the FBI, CIA, or Homeland Security, please know that the above comment is only meant as entertainment with no real merit (or comedic value) and should not be considered a real, actual, legitimate threat.
He's a dog!
However, Fraggle Rock, another Henson creation, was not exactly a big hit with me. Though it ran for 5 seasons on HBO (back when the HBO ensigma used to scare the beJesus out of my friend Al who, fearing it would actually come out of the TV and get him, would head for the hills every time a movie was about to start), I don't ever think it quite captured the childhood imagination, social commentaries, and overall likeability as the Muppets did.
Unfortunately, the Weinsteins disagree with me. So, Fraggle Rock will be made into a major motion picture:
Just like the series, the film will be populated by a mix of human
characters and Fraggle Rock puppets. .Pic will take the core characters Gogo,
Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red outside of their home in Fraggle Rock, where they interact with humans, which they think are aliens. The show premiered on HBO in 1983, ran five seasons and was broadcast in more than 80 countries. It posted strong sales recently when the first three seasons were released on DVD.
Strong sales through a recent release of DVDs???
Two words: college kids
If you were a fan of the show, congratulations and enjoy the clip below; as for the rest of us, lets keep our fingers crossed that Alf is not next.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
1) Cut six 4" circles from orange paper.
ABC News recently aired a story about 3 year old Rhett Lamb who is physically unable to sleep. Since birth, Rhett has never been able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time, resulting in severe irritability throughout the day and utter exhaustion for his parents.
Though initially passed off as poor sleep habits and an overly anxious mother, the passage of time with no improvement in sleep resulted in the discovery of the true, albeit rare, cause: chiari malformation.
According to Marie Savard, an ABC medical consultant, the condition occurs as follows:
"The brain literally is squeezed into the spinal column. What happens is you get compression, squeezing, strangulating of the brain stem, which has all the vital functions that control sleep, speech, our cranial nerves, our circulatory system, even our breathing system."
This week, doctors will be performing surgery during which a bone around his brain stem and spinal chord will be removed, providing decompression with more space and, hopefully, relief from these horrible symptoms.
There was a video that accompanied this story, which included an interview with the boy and his parents. The interview revealed desperate parents and a very unhappy boy who would not stop moaning and swatting at his mother. It is a truly hard to watch, and my heart really goes out to this family.
I will certainly post a follow-up post when news of the surgery's success becomes available....and I will stop complaining about my own little man's struggle with nighttime sleep.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Warning: You really don't want to have this one stuck in your head all day.
We stayed on base at a hotel right on the beach and that was pretty amazing too. The beach was perfect, as was the pool; though, we did not get to enjoy the latter since the Navy SEALS were using it for training....isn't that always the way?
Anyway, if you were the child of a bedouin, mirgrant worker, or a serviceman, your idea of home never had anything to do with an actual house, consistent hometown, or even familiar faces. Home is where your family is...and that is why this weekend was almost perfect.
Keeping it from being absolutely perfect, my husband remained home with the little ones (yes, his Father's Day gift will be significant) so I could make the quick trip down. But the rest of my family was in full attendance. My brothers rarely share the same hemisphere, let alone the same state, and so this was a perfect Mother's Day gift for my own mother.
I'm not sure what it is about family get-togethers, but I never feel more like myself when I am surrounded by the people I have known all my life. No family is perfect, no family always gets along, but I am no one without them.
Much like the web site devoted to the Worst Names, I think a list should be generated of the most unusual names (aka What were their parents thinking?). I once read an article that examined the recent trend in unusual baby names, especially when it comes to girls. The authority consulted suggested that parents often feel the need to choose outlandish names to make sure their child stands out from the pack. A extra special name somehow equates to an extra special child. These need for recognition may also account for the wacky names often chosen by celebrities (that or a little thing called reality that so many of them have departed from).
During a trip to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, I overheard a mother call to her son, "Abacus".
Not only is this an unusual /awful/ unusual name, it certainly puts quite a bit of unnecessary pressure on the kid to do well in math. And what happens when the kid fails Calculus (derivatives still give me nightmares)? The pressure of fulfilling your namesake, coupled with the certain bullying the little guy will be enduring on the playground should be enough to make the parents rethink their need to pick a "special" name.
If you have chosen an off-the-wall name for your child and would like to defend it, feel free to do so in the comments section. Also, share any other wacky names you've come across and maybe we can create a top ten list of our own.....
Also, cracked.com has come up with a far better list of strange baby names, with Pilot Inspektor ranked at only #19th! I guess you can't argue with names like Blanket, Audio Science, and Tu Morrow....
Check it out at:
Sunday, May 11, 2008
God said, 'Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.'
The child further inquired, 'But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.'
God said, 'Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy.'
Again the child asked, 'And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?'
God said, 'Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patie nce and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.'
'And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?'
God said, 'Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.
''Who will protect me?'
God said, 'Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.
''But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.'
God said, 'Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.'
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, 'God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name.'
God said, 'You will simply call her, 'Mom.'
***Special thanks to Kristine (Wylie) for sending this one along....
Grandchildren occasionally soften them, or provide more material for unsolicited advise or judgement.
Happily, I have never experienced that.
My mother-in-law redefines the definition.
She never intrudes, interferes, or judges (or, if she does, she is really good about keeping it from me).
She has a great sense of humor, boundless energy (quite a commodity for a grandmother of four active little ones), and a warm heart.
She loves her children, lives for her grandchildren, and devotes herself to her own mother.
She is a great friend, supportive sister, and devoted wife.
She is a phenomenal storyteller.
And though she may have been a "neighborhood hook" years ago, she is a timeless beauty.
She is a blessing.
5) When it comes to discipline, it really does not matter if you spank, scold, or softly censure, so long as you are consistent and always let them know that they are loved soon after the lesson has been learned.
4) Even the best moms lose their cool; don't beat yourself up for the mistakes you've made, just look at each day as a new chance to be the mother you'd always imagined.
3) Pride is foolish; ask for help when you really need it.
2) Don't assume doctors know everything, they don't. Ask questions and trust your instincts.
1) Look at motherhood as the most important job in the world. Since someone's well being lies mostly in your hands, there is really nothing more significant that you'll ever do.