Saturday, May 17, 2008

Childhood Obesity: A Follow-Up

If you live in the DC area, or don't mind accessing newspapers online, the Washington Post will be running a five part series on the national epidemic that is childhood obesity. According to the Post, a whopping one in three children is considered overweight by the medical community, which means too many of our children will be facing certain health complications in the near future.

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.

And...

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.

Quote of the Weekend

"Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all."--Oliver Wendell Holmes

Picture of the Weekend


Hoping to find seashells, sand crabs, and even a sting ray,
the girls were content to find something they enjoyed most of all:
a day with their dad.
Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com


Friday, May 16, 2008

Interesting Fact

According to a recent study, 40% of parents of 6 - 11 year olds who are deemed "obese" by the medical community believe that their children are, in fact, "about the right weight".

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?

My guess...

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:

http://www.healthiergeneration.org/?gclid=CNjzgpvEq5MCFQguHgodSDzt4w







Because The Truth MUST COME OUT!!!!!

I have been debating whether or not I should blog about this unbelievable story for some time now, and every grain of reason in my soul is telling me not to do it.

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.

The Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Have Learned This Week:

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.

A Gift for Nancy


After spending long hours wondering what I could give my mother-in-law to really make her happy on her birthday (and earn myself some additional brownie points* as well), I settled on giving her the one thing she has always wanted:


To spend one more day with her "Johnnie" at age 3.





*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??

A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Every Friday morning, CNBC plays the following clip to give everyone from investment brokers to international financeers their dose of peanut butter and jelly. That's right....this clip is presented to a target audience representing a bazillion dollars as well as the primary interests of the global economy.

My husband and daughter both love this clip, while it gives me the overwhelming urge to stab my ear drums with a pencil.

You decide.....


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


To my favorite mother-in-law,


Dear Grammy: You make forty look fabulous!


Love: Eddie Haskel






Quote of the Day

"My mother gave me a bumblebee pin when I started work. She said: "Aerodynamically, bees shouldn't be able to fly. But they do. Remember that."-- Jill E. Barad

Picture of the Day










With days devoted to chasing butterflies and bunnies,
it was clear that the little miss had adapted well to country living;
however, her Center City roots
still managed to show themselves from time to time.


FYI: Yes, that is actual horse manure; and no, her mother has NOT adapted to life on the farm.



Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Then Vs. Now

Though my usual Thursday segment of "Then Vs. Now" has been fulfilled thanks to the archives of Parents magazine, an opportunity has presented itself to make an additional comment.

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

THEN:

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.

NOW:

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

Sharing The Love


If you are like me, a significant amount of valuable storage space is currently being overwhelmed with baby products no longer used. Bassinets, bouncy chairs, exersaucers, and endless toys that are just going to waste now that your children are on to bigger and better things.



As I stared at my little man's bassinet last night, getting all emotional over the passage of time and the fact that he actually enjoyed some consistent sleep once in a blue moon, it occurred to me that someone else may be able to take advantage of this barely used bedside sleeper. My son is not little peanut and, consequently, by the time he was three months his legs were practically hanging over the side.


And then it occurred to me: in the interest of avoiding ebay, Craig's list, or a yard sale, I could use the blog to help someone else out while doing a little spring cleaning for myself. This would not be a marektplace where items are auctioned off, just an opportunity to post some products to share with our blobal* community.


The above is the aforementioned bassinet. Almost new with original bedding that was never even touched sinch I always had a crib protector over it. along with a sleep positioner. It is cream with a pale green bow, and it sits on a stand with optional wheels as well as the ability to detach the bassinet like a moses basket and move it easily from room to room.


If you or someone you know may be interested, shoot me an email and we'll work out a way to perform a pick-up.


Also, if you have something that is hardly used and would like to put it out to others on the blog, email me a picture or description to:




**Add this one to my blogging dictionary:


blarma - (n) The occurence of blogging about a subject (usually in deprecation) and then having it happen to you

blobal - (adj) combing our blog community with the word global; pertaining to anyone who typically gives this a read

slogging - (v) slackiing on my daily blogging


In Case You Did Not Believe Me...

This is one of my all time favorite lines from a movie...and, it must be said, that if I had legs like Kermit in this scene, I'd never wear long pants.



Then Vs. Now (continued from an earlier post)

Parents magazine is openning its archives of advice given for pregnancy and parenting to show how much the times have really changed.

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

Quote of the Day

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother." - Lin Yutang

Picture of the Day


After months of trailing the elusive "Hershey Park Hijacker", authorities finally apprehended the leading suspect at his mother's house.


Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Then Vs. Now

Parents magazine is opening up its archives to share the advice they used to give on common pregnancy and parenting related topics to show how much the times have truly changed.

For example:

On Breastfeeding
* "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

On Husbands

* "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.

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up

I have a legendary story that involves Mother's Day, sanitation, and throwing my husband under the proverbial bus.

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.

Consider This Video Clip Day

So, I may have officially overwhelmed you with videos today, but I simply could not miss a serving of Jimmy Dean; and I am still waiting to hear from bride apparent, Megan, to let me know how those sausages turned out.

Make sure you watch until the end....



I'm Overdue For A List

The Top 10 Reasons The Muppet Show and respective films mean so much to me:

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.

My Favorite Scene


I wasn't kidding....I really do have this scene memorized. I love it...especially when Rowlf the dog talks about his typical day, which involves finishing work, reading a book, having a couple of beers, taking "himself" for a walk, and staying away from women.

He's a dog!

Pure genius....



Because It's Time

Shout out to Al, wherever you are.

It's time to face your demons, brother.



Is It Really Necessary?

When it comes to the genius of Jim Henson, few have done more for this genre of television and film to capture the hearts and minds of big and little kids alike. I consider the original Muppet movie among my top 10 favorite movies of all time (I'm not kidding) and can still, to this day, quote the entire scene with Kermit and Rowlf the Dog commiserating at the bar after Miss Piggy walked out on our little green friend.

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.



Quote of the Day

"Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young." ~ Author Unknown

Picture of the Day


There is simply no better way to end a day at the beach,
than with a sun induced nap along the shore line.

Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday's Craft


All A-Quiver Caterpillar - Great to do after reading Eric Carle's The Hungry Caterpillar

Materials:

Black pipe cleaners

Construction paper -- black, lime green, orange, yellow

Glue

Small 12"" rod / stick / ruler

String

Wiggle eyes


Directions:
1) Cut six 4" circles from orange paper.

2) Cut six 3" circles from green and yellow paper.

3) Cut one 1-1/2" circle from black paper.

4) Create a foot pattern and trace 12 times on black paper, cut out.

5) Glue two feet on each green circle. Glue green circles on orange circles. Glue yellow circles on the other side of orange circles.

6) Run body pieces through Paper Crimper so that the end with the feet goes through last.
7) Glue wiggle eyes on one body piece. Glue small black circle (nose) on same body piece as eyes.
8) Wrap chenille stem around finger or pencil to curl.
9) Glue on face.
10) Punch a hole at the top of each body piece.
11) Run 12" of string through each hole.
12) Attach to rod.

Because I Can't Stop Now

Truth be told, I don't think I've ever eaten a Jimmy Dean product....


The Inevitable Conversations

There was a Jewish proverb once shared with me by my good friend and college roommate, Danielle, that has always bothered me a great deal:

"As the daughter does, the mother did."
The idea here is that no matter what you may have done in your life, there is a good chance your mother either did it, or thought about doing it. This, for me, is disturbing on so many levels:
1) I can't imagine my mother having a crush on a boy like I did in high school, let alone doing keg stands and occasionally defying her parents. I can't imagine her talking back to my sweet grandfather, coming home past curfew, or even (gasp) kissing someone other than my father.
2) Though I probably fall somewhere soundly in the middle between rock star and saint (okay...closer to the rock star end), I cannot imagine my own daughter pulling some of the same shenanigans I did. There is no way I'll tolerate back talk (at least, when she's a teenager....it's a work in progress right now), nor will I tolerate parties without adult supervision, profanity, or anything else that I, myself, have at one point done.
Double standard? Absolutely!!!
Taking all of this into consideration, the inevitable is bound to occur: at some point in her formative years, my darling daughter will start to ask questions....questions I am not so sure I want to answer.
Do I come clean with all my past missteps and use it as a teachable moment? Do I lie to avoid losing authoritative ground and good modeling? Or do I go with a generalized scapegoat (e.g. A wise person learns from their mistakes, a wiser one from the mistakes of others....).
I am not sure what I'll say...I'm only sure that I will not be ready for it.
Needless to say, there was a fantastic article addressing this very subject in the weekend magazine of the Washington Post. Brought to my attention by the most fabulous woman and mother, Samantha, it discusses the fact that everyone has a past and determining how you are going to account for that past when questioned by teenagers is one of the many great conundrums of parenting.
The must-read article, "Maternal Truths" by Liza Mundy can be viewed at:
Finally, to put it all in persepctive, think of the most shameful thing you did in your younger years, and then imagine both your mother and child doing it.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At least for now, I am content trying to explain how babies come out of their mommy's belly buttons.

And You Thought You Were Tired

For those of you who complain of complete kid exhaustion, here's a news item to make you feel a little bit better about your own sleep deprived circumstances.

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.


Because It's Tuesday...

Special thanks to one of my favorite moms and greatest contributors, Susan, for the following entertaining clip....


video

Quote of the Day

"There's a lot more to being a woman than being a mother, but there's a hell a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect." -Roseanne Barr

Picture of the Day


If anyone would be so kind as to refer a veterinarian,

because this kid's got some sick puppies.


Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Monday, May 12, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS!!!


Congratulations to our dear friends, Matt and Leah Jachym who will be expecting their first child (and the end of life as they now know it) on January 10, 2009!!!


And in the words of Vince Mauro in the words of Marlon Brando as the Godfather, "May your first child be a masculine one."


Mother's Day Eve...


The first annual celebration of Mother's Day Eve was a rousing success...largely due to my brother's highly capable skills in mixology.


I'll be submitting my proposal to Hallmark immediately.

For Those of You Who Loved Parenthood

One of the more memorable scenes from the movie....and a personal shout out to my dear, dear nephew Paul, whose vehicular conversations this weekend bore a striking similarity to this scene.

Warning: You really don't want to have this one stuck in your head all day.



Celebrity Mommies


The following image was taken of has-been and self-proclaimed desirable mother, Tori Spelling, as she left her baby shower.


Yes, her baby shower.


Clearly full with child, you might wonder why I feel the need to point this out. The answer is simple: this is her second child.


Now, please do not mistake my apparent discontent, I realize how important it is for W-listed celebrities to maintain their publicity. Times must be hard on a young mother who is the heir to a $300 million dollar fortune. She really needs others to buy things for her growing family.


My heart really goes out to her. Perhaps I should introduce her to another paragon of humility and altruism....does anyone know the area code for the Bronx?



The Votes Are In...

Aside from Cabbage Patch Kids, Madonna, and OP shorts (did you know they are making a comeback?....see your local Wal-mart for the new line), the movies of the 80s were arguably the greatest contribution made by a decade that is also responsible for acid-washed Z.Cavarriccis, Michael Bolton*, and Members Only jackets. Though John Hughes and the Steven Spielberg were responsible for 99.9% of these films, a few others, directed by lesser known artists, managed to capture our hearts...and our fondest theatrical memories.

Last week's vote was devoted to our favorite parent-themed movies, with solid first and second place results.

The winner by a clear margin was Parenthood. Steve Martin, whose film Father of the Bride II tied for best pregnancy movie, wins again with this classic, hysterical, and frighteningly realstic portrayal of families struggling to cope with their ever evolving relationships. Steve Martin is at his best in this comedy, though Keanu Reeves actually manages to steal a few scenes for himself.

Coming at a respectful second place is Mr. Mom. Not only is this movie funny and memorable, it is also completely new to me as I watch it as an adult. When I was young, I remember loving the story lines involving the vaccuum cleaner and the Wubby; but, with adulthood, I have come to have a completely different appreciation for the movie's more mature humor. This was also the case for Parenthood, The Toy, and a handful of others.
Following in a distant third and fourth is Three Men and a Baby (whatever happened to Steve Guttenberg?) and Baby Boom, a movie I think about every time someone mentions trouble with their well. The first may have been overshadowed by the urban legend that a diminutive crew member hanged himself during one of the scenes (the image of which can apparently be seen in the film), while the latter still enjoys a strong rotation on USA.

The shame of last place, with no votes, goes to Look Who's Talking. I remember laughing out loud at this movie, though nothing in particular really stands out. Kirstie Allie and John Travolta also fail to enjoy the same positive public sentiment that they once did, which may have a lot to do with the fact that no one voted for it.

On to the next vote....








Every Mother Needs A Holiday

Though not exactly an extended vacation, I headed down to Florida this weekend to help celebrate my beautiful goddaughter Gracie's First Communion. The weather was wonderful, the occasion lovely, and the complete night of uninterrupted sleep....well, glorious.

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.

Profile of a Parent


Name: Julianne, Mommy, Mama, Ma, Julie, Jules


Mother of: Abigail (12), Paul (10), Andrew (3), Charlotte (11mos).


What You Did Before You Were Someone’s Mommy: We were married young and moved to Okinawa, Japan 2 weeks later. So, I toured, lunched, shopped, took a few classes and shopped and lunched some more. To pay for my lunching and shopping I taught English at the Ryukyu University and to a few Japanese housewives, it was a total blast!


What You Do For Yourself Now: I enjoy going to the gym, walking or running. It's my "therapy". Christine's margarita's are a close second! I also employ a cleaning lady, so I can keep up with laundry! I'm an RN and will be going back to work in June. It will be nice to focus on something else for a few hours per week.


What is your favorite thing about being a mother? Gee, where do I begin? I love hearing my little one calling me in the morning, and nursing her at bedtime, the funny way my youngest son expresses himself and his good morning hugs and kisses, helping my oldest son with homework and watching him become more and more independent, and watching my eldest daughter turn into a young "lady".


What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you had children? How difficult it is to let go.


What would you do with an extra free hour in your day? I HAVE 4 KIDS...LAUNDRY!


Who are your go-to people when you have a parenting question? My mother, the Dairy Queen's mother, and the gal that keeps me informed of all the plastic dangers...Christine.


What is the one thing your child(ren) do that always makes you smile? I love watching Abbie twirl and dance across the kitchen floor when she thinks no one is watching or when Paul plays on the floor with Charlotte, he reminds me of his dad. I also love when I'm walking with my younger children in the side-by-side stroller and Drew puts his arm around Charlotte or holds her hand, it just melts me.

Who is your favorite fictional mother? I'm going to have to pick two characters. Carol Brady is my first choice, c'mon, 6 kids, a blended family, her house was always picked-up (thank you Alice), able to settle sibling squabbles, and quite trendy! Charlotte the Spider is the other. She was self-sacrificing, smart, poised and ready to take on the world.


If you could be someone you know for a day, who would it be? I don't think I'd trade places with anyone.


If you could ban people from doing something, what would it be? Rationalizing with a 2 year old; pointless.


If you could make one mixed CD that would be the only music you could listen to for the rest of your life, what songs would you put on it? "That's the Way" Led Zepplin, "Uncle John's Band" Grateful Dead, "Blue Sky" and "Melissa" Alman Brothers, any Motown or Disco (sorry), "The Blower's Daughter" Damien Rice, "In Your Eyes" Peter Gabriel, anything by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and "Jersey Girl" Bruce (I am the original). I'm sure there are a few top 40, but I'm tired and can't think of any right now.
**Join our parents by sending your answers to the above questions, along with a picture to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

One of my favorite installments...


Baby Names

The results of the "Most Popular Baby Names of 2007" have been released and the outcome looks much like those found in previous years:

Girls:
Emily
Isabella
Emma
Ava
Madison
Sophia
Olivia
Abigail
Hannah
Elizabeth

Boys:
Jacob
Michael
Ethan
Joshua

Daniel
Christopher
Anthony
William
Matthew
Andrew

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:

http://www.cracked.com/article_15765_20-most-bizarre-celebrity-baby-names.html



Quote of the Day

"Don't aim to be an earthly saint, with eyes fixed on a star, Just try to be the fellow that your Mother thinks you are."-- Will S. Adkin

Picture of the Day


The candidates agreed to meet for one final debate in order to discuss the most pressing issue at hand:
Their dissatisfaction within anything that comes in a jar.


Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Sweet Indulgence

A baby asked God, 'They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?'

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....

To My Mother-In-Law

Much like the wicked stepmother, mothers-in-law often get a pretty bad rap. Nagging, interfering, and overall drama are trademarks of the stereotypical mother-in-law who either believes her son could've done better, or should have just stayed home and never married.

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.

To My Mother


At the age of five, I once got into an argument with a little friend over whose mother was prettier. Not being able to fathom anyone better than my mother in any category, the debate was passionate.


At the age of thirteen, I distinctly remember not liking my mother all that much. Though I couldn't tell you why, I just remember thinking she was making life hard for me on purpose. She was often the enemy and even if she had nothing to do with a bad mood, I took it out on her....she and my father were the only ones whose love I never feared losing.


At age 29, I became a mother for the first time and said more than a few prayers that I would be a fraction of the mother my own mother had been to me.


And now at age 32, I call her every morning and think about her throughout the day. I'm jealous of friends whose mothers live close, and I regularly campaign for her and my father to decide that Jersey is a lovely place to retire (no easy task).


She speaks softly, worries endlessly, hugs perfectly, forgives instantly, laughs easily, remembers fondly, advises wisely, listens carefully, gives generously, and loves her family perfectly.


And when I first held my daughter I thanked God that I'd been given the chance to maybe have another relationship that is just like the one I cherish with my mother.






The Last Three Years in Review

The Top 5 Best Pieces of Advice I've Ever Been Given About Being A Mom

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.