Thursday, May 31, 2012
We never know what is going to happen to parents, siblings, or even ourselves. Two years ago, my sister-in-law had a dramatically life-changing accident. She is only in her 40s, but caregiving is now a front-and-center part of her life. It is not easy to think about medical scares, accidents, and aging, but it is important. We should have a plan for the big "what ifs" in life, because educating ourselves now is a whole lot easier than in the stress of a difficult situation.
I've partnered with Genworth Financial to bring you a guest post, highlighting one of those "what ifs" turned reality. This is not my post - for all who know my mom in real life, she is fine!
But these words really make you think...
But last Friday she forgot. I got a call from the school. I left work and ran over to get my daughter. I called my mother from the car. She had no idea she was on carpool duty.
I’ve been so busy that I’ve forgotten things (my keys, my wallet, to call a friend, to brush my hair). And yes, I’ll admit it, when my daughter was an infant, I even left the house once without her – but I only made it as far as the driveway.
But there was something about my mother’s forgetfulness that didn’t fit with the routinely harried forgetfulness that is so recognizable to all of us. When I spoke with her, she had no recognition of what day it was and what she was supposed to do. Even more unsettling was the call I got back from her twenty minutes later when she remembered.
Obviously, she was incredibly distraught. And it has occurred to both of us that we might be entering an unfortunate period in her life when age and forgetfulness collide in the terrible thing that is Alzheimer’s disease.
This week we have a number of doctor’s appointments scheduled. I certainly hope that Alzheimer’s is not the final diagnosis. But even so, she will age and one day she will need care. I am working mom, and it’s already a stretch to find affordable childcare.
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Post brought to you by Genworth Financial
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Photo from our Hawaii vacation, September 2006.
Our reward after a long drive along the Road to Hana.
Monday, May 28, 2012
"We have a right to control how much we want the world to know about us.
These are fundamental to our personal autonomy.
Our children deserve the same protections."
At first, this column really hit home - and hurt my feelings. Am I an awful mother for blogging and posting about my child? Am I a big, mean, nasty dictator stripping her of her rights?
I do not think so.
On my personal account, where I share the most information and photos, I know all of my Facebook friends. I have selected every setting possible to ensure those friends, and only those friends can see what I post. I check those settings frequently to catch any changes Facebook has decided to sneak in.
I post a lot about my daughter, because the Facebook friends I care about are family and close friends with children of their own. To be honest, I may not have survived the first few years of motherhood without Facebook as a sounding board and support mechanism shared with other parents whom I respect and love. I am a better mother because I found support when I needed it the most.
With my BalancingMama Facebook page and this parenting blog, I have set clear limits. I do not post certain kinds of photos of my child. I never discuss details of my marriage or share stories that intrude on someone else's life. I will not write any details about my job, employers, or coworkers. I try my best to hold close any information that would allow a stranger to specifically pinpoint our location.
Do I write a lot about Amelia? Yep.
Do I share a ton of photos of her? Of course!
But do I ever share anything that I think would damage her? That would keep her from getting a job in the future? NO.
Does the big Facebook ad machine have ways to get and share my information? Yes... in a way. But as an advertising professional who actually buys Facebook ads, let me tell you: I do not know how to obtain any personal information about specific individuals. Can I target by interest, children, age, college? YES. But do I have any way of knowing who exactly fits within those categories? Names? NO. Are there ways to do so? ...maybe? Not in the simple ad buying tool Facebook has for the regular, legitimate advertisers. Internet privacy, cookies, and ad targeting sound scary to many, but from the actual advertising side, it seems like most people just do not understand how it really works.
When she gets a bit older, I will show Amelia this blog and my Facebook pages. If she asks me one day to stop sharing so much about her? I will shut down in an instant. Her privacy is absolutely important to me and I will give it precedence. When it comes her time to choose, I will respect that.
In the meantime, I will keep on sharing. But as always, with discretion.
Parenting bloggers - what do you think?
How do you balance privacy and sharing info about your lives?
Thanks to Purex, I have two coupons for a free bottle of new Purex Triple Action detergent to share with you. Pop on over to the BalancingMama Facebook page and "like" or comment on the post there. I will pick a winner on Tuesday evening, May 29. I will try to contact you immediately, but make sure to check back to see if you won!
And if you don't win, you can still get coupons and deals from Purex on their Facebook page. Here's a $1.00 off coupon!
Happy Memorial Day and good luck!
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I am a Purex Insider and help spread the word about the Purex® family of laundry products. As an Insider, I receive sample product and incentives in exchange for participating in brand related activities.
U.S. mailing addresses only, please. New winner will be selected if I do not receive a confirmation & mailing address within 48 hours.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
She is so excited that she just can not hear us. We probably sound like the adults in Peanuts cartoons.
Waugh waugh wahmp waugh waugh...
The calendar on our pantry door shows her usual weekly schedule; school days, home with Mommy days, and two weekend days (indicated by a blue heart - our favorite days). We get a bonus this weekend! She has already announced this to two friends and a few strangers.
"Four weekend days! Did you know we get four weekend days?!?"
Cuteness. I am thrilled that this is such a big deal to her. She likes us! She really, really likes us!
Happy long weekend to all! I hope your families are with you - and excited about it - also.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
My girl is growing up.
She unbuckled the lap buckle on her car seat for the first time this morning. She released my hand before we arrived at her classroom. She giggled when a good friend (a boy friend) immediately grinned and exclaimed his greetings to her.
But I don't want her to grow up.
Today is the final day of her school year in the "3s" classroom. She will return next week for summer camp, but without her two closest friends and with different teachers. She will need to find some new best buddies. She will learn new things. Mid-August begins her final year at the school were she has blossomed and been loved since she was only three months old.
I will miss this school family.
A new chapter will be starting before I know it.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
I hope she soon finds that bond again with more adorable friends.
Until then, I'm reminded of "The Unseen Friend." I hope he/she does an extra good job for my girl next week!
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.
Nobody heard him, and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he's sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene'er you are happy and cannot tell why,
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Today, my husband became a 36-year-old. He went to work, took part in some meetings, and came home after 6:00. Now he's off to a softball game, his weekly springtime moment to be a kid again (albeit a little slower with weaker knees...). No big elaborate event today, either. He remarked that he is now more than halfway to seventy years old. And by the way, he finds it is now much more difficult to read up close.
Happy birthday to all the thirty-something's out there!
Let's get together and party sometime.
(As long as I can be in bed by 11:00.)
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Saturday night, three bears were ransacking the garbage bin across the street. Either someone forgot to lock it properly, or the bears managed to break it. We watched from our deck and listened to them grunt and howl. Really fascinating!
And before heading home yesterday, we took a drive through Cade's Cove. Four more bears to be found there!
|In the garbage, cabin across the street|
|Some people get really close. These were two cubs - |
Mama no where to be found... I stayed in the car!
|Love this furry face|
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I joined in the fun last year - see my posted pics HERE.
#SeniorHottie 2012 is back and even better - with categories, judges, and prizes!
Although I would like to pretend my gray hairs, eye crinkles, and those "few" extra pounds never appeared in my life, I still think I have to go with the hasn't changed since high school category. Especially given many of the comments from last year.
I'm told that I "haven't aged a day". My name, Julie, actually means youthful one. Now, perhaps people are just being kind... but you be the judge. What do ya think?
At least, please tell me that my hair isn't quite as wide. I hope I have learned to tame it a bit since then!
|Dreaming of the future?|
|Class of 1996!|
|Formal night on our cruise, March 2012|
|Now I have a mini-me!|
Monday, May 14, 2012
Thanks to a mini family vacation this weekend, I have a couple and can participate! Yaaaay!
Here I am with my favorite girl in the whole wide world - on a celebratory birthday and Mother's Day weekend trip to Tennessee:
|Carousel at Dollywood|
|"Lemon Squeeze" (teacups)|
|Testing our strength on the Lumberjack Lifts|
|Hot tub on the deck - a necessity after a day at Dollywood!|
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Four Cute and Educational Mobile Apps for Pre-Schoolers!
The age when our kids start using technology is getting younger and younger. While it can be a little unsettling for some parents to watch their five year-old learn functions on their iPhones they didn’t even know existed, there is actually a lot of good that can come from kid-friendly technology. Next time you have a long car ride or trek through the grocery store, try out some of these fun apps designed especially for pre-schoolers.
1. Dora’s Skywriting ABC’s Most of us know Dora the Explorer, and now your child can take her along for the ride. Dora’s Skywriting ABC’s promotes literacy skills. It is designed to teach kids to recognize letters and sounds and learn to write the alphabet. The first step to learning how to read is to discern the sounds in words. This game will help your children associate specific sounds with letters and begin to make connections about how things are spelled. It includes tutorials with Dora, tracing uppercase and lowercase letters, pictures for reinforcement, and player profiles so your child can save their progress.
2. Fish School Fish School is a fun learning game that promotes learning letters, shapes, numbers and colors. The games are beautiful and colorful in high definition (available on the iPad with Fish School HD). The games are very simple and geared toward pre-school age.
3. My First Puzzles This game is just super cool. It is reminiscent of the oversized block style puzzles made for the pre-school age group, and your child will be able to slide the puzzle pieces together easily. There is a signal every time a puzzle piece is placed correctly into the puzzle and finishing an entire puzzle correctly gets an audible round of applause, which kids love.
4. iWrite Words This is another number and letter writing app that can be used as a nice rotation in your game arsenal for those long car rides. It covers remembering and writing numbers up to 20, the letters of the alphabet, and beginning level words. Make sure you only use this game after your child can confidently identify numbers up to 10, because they will have to follow numbered dots in order to trace words correctly.
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Author Bio: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Blades of grass squishing through my toes
Melons and beans emerging fresh from the garden
Swimming pool splashes mixed with giggles and squeals
Neighborhood parties on the cul-de-sac
Clicking, chirping sounds of hot-weather insects at night
Oceanfront balcony views on a beach vacation
Sugary Popsicles melting, dripping down our hands
Waving to neighbors as we ride bikes through the streets
No school, no homework, no schedules
Those were my lazy, sunny summers, growing up "Tennessee".
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MamaKat's prompt: List your top 10 favorite things about summer growing up.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
I cannot believe she is so grown up already.
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The photos were taken at Sears Portrait Studio. I purchased the CD of our session, and I do have full rights to publish.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
It's been a long time coming. We're so proud of him and all the families who also had loved ones involved in this new and important Atlanta fixture.
Steve took his girls to Family Day last Saturday, for a sneak peek of the parking decks, roadways, terminal, and concourse:
|Pedestrian walkway from parking deck|
|Outside the terminal|
|Outside the terminal, view of the tower|
|The entire project - roadways, bridges, |
parking, new building
Monday, May 7, 2012
Apparently my daughter was not quite as unfazed. This morning, she popped out of bed and hugged me with more enthusiasm than I've seen in a while.
"Mommy! I am so glad you are home! You were out in the loud storm and I was so scared!"
Steve told me that she missed me a tad more than usual last night. He said she asked about me and what I was doing a few extra times. And she stalled bedtime with even more persistence. It turns out, she was truly worried! In Amelia's world, the family should be together in a thunderstorm. We should be inside our house, within arm's reach of one another, listening to the pounding hail against our windows and the cracks of thunder in the skies - together.
At first I brushed off her worry, telling her it wasn't a big deal. But I thought about it some more. And, really? I love that she was concerned for me. I love that family represents comfort. I love that our home is synonymous with safety. I love that togetherness is something she clings to, something that takes a prominent position in her world. I love that she could open up to me, explain that she was frightened and worried.
I absolutely love that I am her mommy.
I get worn down, frustrated, tired, and bored of the monotony life often brings. I wonder if my efforts are pointless. I feel like I give and give and give and do not always receive the same level of effort from others. I admit, sometimes I give into thoughts of what's the point?!?.
The point is, I am the biggest part of this child's world. I know I cannot promise I will be with her forever; we never truly know what tomorrow brings; but I will fight anything that comes my way -
Because a sweet, beautiful, brilliant little girl needs me.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The esteemed display location for the most amazing children's art is, of course, the refrigerator. Kids gleam with pride when their masterpieces are stuck with magnets to the one appliance that is the heart of the kitchen. It is a simple, easy place to display everything - not to mention the family calendar, a coupon or two, baby announcements from friends....
It can get pretty messy.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
This year, I vowed to try again. I purchased only the heartiest sun-loving flowers, begonias and marigolds. So far so good... still alive!
It looks like springtime around here.
|This bush is flowering like crazy this year - smells good!|
|One of my marigolds; still alive!|
|Husband went out and bought this one. Cute!|
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Happy Wednesday! Got an iPhone (or any smart phone) photo? You can link it up to #iPPP here: