Thursday, June 30, 2011

The "S" on your chest

When the “S” on Your Chest Stands for STRESS
(How it effects your children and ways to handle it!)

By Camille McDaniel, LPC, NCC, CPCS

Wife, Sister, Friend, Aunt, Employee, Employer, Bottle Warmer, Diaper Changer, House Cook, Tear Wiper, Taxi Driver, Comforter...

There are so many titles that moms have today, it’s no wonder a little stress (or A LOT) may fall your way. I frequently meet moms who set rather high standards and goals for juggling all the titles they posses, in order to make sure everyone else is happy. After all, that’s what moms do right? Hmmm. When they are not able to meet these monumental goals, they are disappointed and stressed.

Stress can come from many sources, in addition to constant high expectations of yourself. If by chance you are a mom that doesn’t have a strong support system to lean on then you may experience increased amounts of stress.

The University of Rochester completed a study. They followed 169 diverse children for 3 years. The findings of their study were published in a journal called Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The researchers discovered that continuous parent and family stress can increase strep infections and other illnesses in children. It also appears that children effected by chronic parent and family stress experience and increase in their natural killer (NK) cell function. NK cell function is the part of the body’s immune system that prepares to kill germs that don’t belong, unlike adults, whose function is decreased with chronic stress.

So maybe chronic stress is good for my child since the immune system increases those natural killer cells right? Well let’s put it this way, using the heart as an example. When you get into a situation that frightens you, your heart may start racing, pumping blood to all the organs needed to help you flee danger. However, if that heart doesn’t stop racing, over time it starts to exhaust it’s strength and wears down. That is true for the immune system functions too.

So how can you turn the S on your chest from STRESS to SERENITY? Well let’s try these 5 steps for starters:

Step 1 Secure a Support System - Some of you may have great supports but others may not be able to identify their supports as easily. Friends, Family, Siblings, Online Friends, Social Groups, Religious Groups. Identify YOUR supports.

Step 2 Say No - It’s wonderful to be the person others can count on. It’s nice to volunteer when you see there is a need. However, it’s not really helping YOU if you are not being truthful with yourself about whether you really have the time and strength to do the task. Saying no should not be seen as a negative. If you are continuously stressing yourself out because you say yes, even when you really don’t have the time and/or resources, then it’s time to try a little “no”.

Step 3 Take Time Out During the Day- Daily, you should have “Mommy Time” to allow your mind and body to rejuvenate. Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, the world will not stop if you take time for yourself but you and others can suffer if you don’t.

Step 4 Encourage Yourself - Positive self talk can have a great effect in regards to emotional well being. “I am doing a great job with the skills I have” “I didn’t get it right today but every second presents a new chance, let’s see what I can do differently tomorrow” “It’s ok if I don’t get things done like ____________, my pace works good for me and that’s ok” “Being a mom is no simple task and I’m doing it! I am some kind of awesome”.

Step 4 Face, Hair, and Dress - Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, taking care of your appearance can actually help you feel better about yourself. Tailor it to your style. Try a little lip gloss or lip stick. A different hair cut or style can help. Do your clothes make you feel good about you? Whether it’s the playground or the workplace take pride in your appearance and boost yourself up a few points.

Step 5 Laugh - It’s a simple little exercise but laughter has great healing and relaxing power. Essentially because it releases endorphins, a hormone that acts as a natural pain and stress reliever. Laugh at yourself, get a good comedy dvd and watch it, call one of your supports and act silly, get creative and laugh.

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Camille McDaniel, LPC, NCC, CPCS is a Licenesed Professional Counselor and founder of Healing Psychotherapy Practices of Georgia, LLC in Kennesaw, GA

Visit her blog:
Journey Building My Practice

Become a fan on Facebook:
Healing Psychotherapy Practices of Georgia, LLC

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WW: A gift


Amelia begged to buy Daddy a present at the store.

She said he needed something sparkly.

Daddy is thrilled with his new magic wand:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Field Trip

Leaves crunched underneath our sneakered little feet. Birds sang from treetops and clouds. Fuzzy gray squirrels scampered here and there as the terrifying herd of 2nd graders tromped through the woods.

We chattered and giggled throughout the day, trying to listen to the nice man in green as he explained various phenomena of nature. We gawked at the animals in habitat enclosures, especially enjoying the funny little otters as they splashed and chased and dunked.

We slouched comfortably in large padded theater chairs, waiting for the planetarium show to begin. Our eyes twinkled with the reflections of stars from the domed ceiling. We marveled at constellations, hoping to spot them in the real-life sky later that night.

Before the teachers led us back to the vans, we were set loose in the museum and gift shop. We crawled through the kiddie cave a few times and touched some starfish in the touch tank. Then we made a beeline for the gift shop. Our dollar bills were crumpled and warm in our little sweaty hands, awaiting a chance to become something more.
Most of us got the same thing. It was tradition. Astronaut Ice Cream. Melt-in-your-mouth blocks of sugary goodness. Somehow back then, we didn't realize that it had the consistency of Styrofoam. It was exciting and fun and special.

Nowhere else in East Tennessee could you get such an exciting treat.

We loaded ourselves back in the vans, munching away on our prized treats. By the time we arrived back at school, there would be nothing left but foil packages and a few tiny crumbs of freeze-dried Neapolitan.

This memoir recalls a school trip to Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee. This annual school trip was always fun - and always ended with astronaut ice cream. If you are ever in this beautiful part of the country, take a drive up the mountain to one of the largest city parks in the country. A mini zoo showcases deer, wolves, skunks, birds of prey, and more. Dozens of hiking trails (including my favorite, the loop around the lake) can keep you exploring for hours. The planetarium is well-known throughout the area and always provides an interesting show. I haven't been to Bays Mountain in a while, so hopefully all of this is still there. Either way, it's worth it. A fantastic park for an afternoon adventure. (I heard there's a new zip line adventure for the summer!)
- - -

Write a memoir post about a memorable school trip.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What storm?

I attended a lovely event tonight at the Atlanta AVEDA store in Lenox Mall (co-hosted by the lovely ladies behind The Blogrollers).

Once again, I was able to connect a few real-life faces with blogs and Twitter handles. I also...

--Learned a lot about AVEDA products
   (did you know they are extremely eco-friendly?)

--Received a fabulous hand treatment massage
   (try it! hand massages are offered free just for browsing the store.)

--Got my face "done"
   (AVEDA employees are happy to do yours too - just ask!)

--Tasted their popular hot tea
   (caffeine-free, sugar-free, and delicious!)

On the way home, I battled a severe thunderstorm. I leaned forward over the steering wheel and squinted my eyes, trying to see something in between the fast swish-swish of wiper blades. I blindly followed the brake lights in front of me, occasionally dodging giant pools of standing water. Sometimes hitting them as well, sending tsunami-like sprays over my vehicle and at least six feet in from the curb.

I eased my SUV over into a middle lane to avoid some of the flooding. I stopped at a red light and took a moment to look around. Did a double-take: there, in front of my car, was an open-top red Jeep. Two young guys inside. Shirtless and laughing as the rain pounded their shoulders and drenched everything around them. Seemingly unmoved by the claps of thunder and flashes of lightning. They didn't drive like they were in a hurry. They didn't seem the least bit frazzled. I couldn't help but wonder if they got caught in the sudden weather - or went out on purpose?

Tonight, the girls at the AVEDA party were not the only ones having fun. Those guys made me laugh.

If only I could be that free-spirited. Look for me on the sidewalk the next time it rains... maybe I'll throw caution to the wind and prance around, drenched. Laughing.

(But I will not be shirtless.)

- - -
You can follow AVEDA on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.
- - -

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet weekend

Ode to my favorite days of the week!

W is for Waiter. Mama doesn't cook on weekends.   

E is for Eager. Always looking forward to a fun family activity! 

E is for Economy. Mama is going shopping.

K is for Kitchen. I try to stay out of it. Except for art projects and Play-Doh.

E is for Endearing. Nothing turns me to mush like quality daddy-daughter playtime.

N is for Nature. Parks, playgrounds, and picnics. Time to get outdoors.

D is for Daddy. He is home with us. All day long. For two days!

You know what would make weekends even better?
Three days.


Friday, June 24, 2011

I've been there

Everyone's life has its ups and downs. Periods of joy, eventually knocked aside by times of distress.

If you are in a time of joy, embrace it. Let your entire being melt into it. Don't take it for granted. Don't let the distractions of the modern world take away your best moments.  

If you have been sideswiped (or hit head-on) by trauma, sadness, or strife, breathe. Take time for yourself. Allow your own needs to be in the forefront, even for just a moment each day. How you handle a difficult time now can determine what sort of time you may face down the road. Even when an immediate stress is gone, the effects can remain.

The past year challenged me. It challenged my family - both immediate and extended. We faced a traumatic situation unlike anything we had ever known. We trudged through long, dark days with blinders on. No time to look around, only time for perfect, narrow focus. We did what we were "supposed" to do. At the same time, I was in the midst of a personal fight. A battle against inner voices of doubt. My 2 1/2-year-old child tested every ounce of strength and patience I had. I feared the worst; I feared that I somehow created a bad kid. To top it all off, a pressure-cooker job situation took away (or so it felt) my one constant cheerleader.

It is funny how one can feel utterly alone when, in fact, personal space has become extinct.

Several months ago, if you asked me to describe my life three words?


A small portion of my logical brain knew this was not right. I have an honest, hard-working husband. A smart, bubbly, beautiful little girl. Family who would appear on a moment's notice if I let out a plea for help. A nice home. A stable and flexible job. Friends.

But despite the reality of how well I had it, I could not climb out of that dark hole. All because I let situations eat at me. I allowed myself to get worn down, to get angry, to slip into depression.

Sure, I could act like everything was fine. But the truth? I battled bad feelings for most of the past year. And only now, do I feel like I am winning. 

I am winning because...
I unlocked the prison cell.

I am winning because...
I can give myself fully to the bright moments.

I am winning because...
I finally became honest with myself.

I am winning because...
My attitude adjustment is blatantly evident in the behavior of my child.

I am winning because...
I am happy again.

Depression is a very real and very common illness. It can cause physical pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, weight gain/loss, and even anger. If you feel like you are stuck and cannot see the light in your days, seek help. Talk to friends or family. Force solitude upon yourself. Reinforce the link between your heart and your mind. Write, sing, dance - whatever helps. If you still feel like you are drowning, professional help is always available.

It is not failure to ask for help, only if you refuse to make a change.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art expressions

In the eyes of a child,
Every project is a masterpiece.

In the eyes of a child,
The fridge is a hallowed gallery.

In the eyes of a child,
Glue is a mystical force.

In the eyes of a child,
Buttons become jewels.

Glitter transforms into fairy dust.

And stickers are badges of honor.

We nourish their bodies with healthy foods and build their strength with exercise. Art and creativity play an important role in growing their minds too.

What creative activities do you enjoy with your kids?

- - - -
This post inspired by Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop. The prompt was to post a photo from this week and write a poem about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Wish

Wish I was here!


I could use a quiet morning on the beach right now.

- - - -

Want a summer treat? Don't forget to enter the Rufus' Roar and ice cream giveaway! Ends 6/28. Simply leave a comment on this post: Monster In The House

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monster in the house

My little girl is a monster!

A pretend one, thankfully.

She has been practicing her "rooaar!" ever since reading the new children's book, Rufus' Roar.

Rufus is a very large red monster. He is gentle and always polite, but whenever he speaks, the humans only hear his "rooaar!". When he sets out for a treat to calm his rumbling tummy, Rufus quickly finds himself in lots of trouble. All because of a teeny misunderstanding.

My three-year-old daughter loves books, but many fall to the bottom of the book bin if they just can't hold her attention. The bold and colorful images and emotion-filled story of Rufus captivated her from the start. It was wonderfully age-appropriate for her, but may also be enjoyed at much older ages when they can read for themselves. We read Rufus' Roar together three times that afternoon. And we've read it daily ever since.

I'm pretty certain Rufus will stick around here for a while.

Rufus' Roar is the creation of James Novy, an award-winning cartoonist and art director out of New York City. It is his first children's book.

See Rufus now:  Rufus' Roar is available for purchase on his website, Both a print and downloadable PDF version are available. You can also learn more about Rufus and find fun FREE activities for your kids like coloring pages, T-shirt iron-ons, and Shrinky-Dink charms. An iPhone app is in the works, and I can't wait to see it!

*Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Samantha!*

Second winner is Rachel H. Congrats to you too!

You could WIN Rufus and a treat!
Two winners will be chosen:
  • Grand prize = A copy of Rufus' Roar and a $10 ice cream gift card (so you don't get yourself into trouble like Rufus!)
  • Second winner = A copy of Rufus' Roar

- - - - - -
The fine print...

I received a free copy of this book to review (and two to give away). All opinions are 100% mine. Ice cream gift card will be winner's choice: Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, or McDonald's. Entry period for the giveaway is 6/20/11 through 6/28/11 (10:00 PM EST). Grand prize winner and the additional winner will be selected via Entries will be verified - so don't say you did something if you didn't! If I cannot contact the chosen winners within 48 hours, new winner(s) will be selected.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Daddies in my life

Happy Father's Day!

Extra-special thanks and wishes to the two dads in my life...

My dad (who makes a wonderful Granddad too!)
"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope."
  ~Bill Cosby

This quote makes me laugh, because I distinctly remember picking out soap-on-a-rope for many, many consecutive Christmases. Dad, I hope you liked them!

And Amelia's fantastically fun Daddy
"Daddy can't be a princess, but he is my very favorite prince"

- - - -

Re-visit my poem "If at first you don't succeed", a tribute to the never-ending support of good Daddies.
- - - -

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bump Rockin'

I am not currently pregnant. These are pics from 2007/2008. Don't go starting any rumors!

I have had so much fun reading all the Rockin' the Bump posts this week. It's only fair that I show you mine.

My first bump photo - totally rockin' the cuteness:

A bump update - and my favorite maternity shirt. Looks like I was still rockin'!

Is that a beached whale? Oh no, it's just me. January 2008, about 26 weeks pregnant.

Even my adorable nephew rocked a bump in my honor! Impromptu soccer field pic:

As April approached, I wasn't rockin' as much as I was... well... waddling. Here I am, checking into the hospital the night before my induction. My bump became a mountain!
About 29 hours later, I met my nine-pound baby girl.

Thanks to Twitter friend @ShellThings for such a great link-up!

Take a trip over to her blog, "Things I Can't Say". If you've never been, I guarantee you'll have a new favorite!

Scholarship Opportunity

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I can't imagine my little princess going off to college. I also can't believe she is already three years old. Potty-trained. Intelligent. And, well, a bit bossy. The light of my life is growing up, and I can barely keep up.
She will be in college before I know it.

I remember the excitement I felt during those last two high school years. Independence, new experiences, and new friends were just around the corner.

My parents were probably less thrilled. College came with a pretty hefty price tag.

Today, I am thrilled to be able to help spread the word about  Parent’s Choice Infant Formula Savings Sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes, created in partnership with PBM Products, LLC, a Perrigo company, will provide one lucky winner with a $10,000 college scholarship in the form of a College Savings 529 plan.
The Parent's Choice Infant Formula Sweepstakes was launched on June 15th and will run through August 1st, 2011.
More information, rules, and an entry form are available by clicking HERE. It is never to early to start saving!
Parent's Choice Infant Formula is Walmart's private brand formula. It is available exclusively at Walmart locations and on the Walmart website.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mama says

Trying my hand at fiction again for The Red Dress Club! This post is pure fiction. It is not about me, my past, or anyone I know. Nor does it represent pageant enthusiasts as a whole.
- - - - - -

I don’t like that sound. That hissing sound from too many spray cans in one place. I don’t like the smell. Fumes, Mama calls them. Just fumes. Nothing to worry about.

I cannot remember a time without the fumes.

Fake tan. Hairspray. Body glitter. Even more hairspray.

I am a five-year-old beauty queen.

Despite being six months away from Kindergarten, I am already considered a pro. My Hello Kitty bedroom is full of ribbons and trophies. I was two years old for my first pageant. My walk is sassy and confident. My smile is white, bright, and big. My hair? Even bigger. Mama has a passion for hairspray.

Mama has a passion for pageants. She is always pushing. Practice more. Stand up straighter. Don’t squint.

I never asked to be a beauty queen.

Mama told me I would be a beauty queen. She always said it was something she couldn’t do. She always said it was important. It was what I was meant to do. Because I’m pretty.

No one asked me.

Today is my best friend Audrey’s birthday party. She turned five on Thursday while we were at school. Our teacher, Ms. Linda, gave her a birthday hat and we all sang “Happy Birthday” during snack time. We had cupcakes for our special snack that day – pink cupcakes with sprinkles on top. My birthday was last month. Mama didn’t have time to send in a special snack, but at least I got to wear a birthday hat.

I did not have a birthday party. We had a pageant that weekend. Instead of playing with my friends and eating cake, I pranced and posed and shimmied. Mama said it was a really special weekend – such an important competition for me. She sculpted my hair into a big poof and snapped a hairbow on to hold it in place. The hairbow pulled and hurt a little. I wanted to cry, but Mama told me there was a price for beauty.

I wish I could have had a party.

It was hard to fall asleep last night. Thoughts of Audrey’s birthday party swirled through my mind. But when Mama shook me awake early this morning, she was wearing her big button proclaiming “Pageant Mom. I (heart) my daughter!”. It was good I hadn’t had breakfast yet, because my tummy did a sad little flip. That button could only mean one thing; we were going to a pageant. Mama smiled and picked at my hair. She always complains that I sleep on it funny. I cried – silently, because Mama doesn’t like the sound. How could she forget about Audrey’s party? Mama said parties are for babies, we have a good chance to win today. And why would I want to miss that?

Crying makes my eyes puffy, so I had to stop.

In the car, we listened to my song six times. Mama said I will sing better tonight after the hot tea. I think hot tea is gross.

We crossed the state border and arrived at the civic center by 11:05.

Audrey’s party started at 11:00.

I wonder if she’s having fun?

- - - - - -

This week's prompt:

Write a scene in which a physically beautiful character is somehow impacted by that trait.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy's Girl

Father's Day is coming up!

Here's an excessively cute blast from the past!
Daddy's first Father's Day.


Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, June 13, 2011


When I was 17 years old, I fell into the boyfriend trap.

I slipped away from my friends and spent every spare moment with my love of the year.

After the novelty of the new relationship wore off, I opened my eyes. I opened my eyes and saw my friends off to the side, enjoying each other’s company. Laughing. Chatting. Planning weekend activities. Activities that no longer involved me.

There was no Facebook in the mid 1990s, so I turned to the most popular high school “social media” at the time - I wrote a note. A simple note on lined paper torn from my 5-subject World Geography notebook.

    Let’s hang out this weekend! I miss you.

I folded the note precisely and slipped it to my friend as we exited the classroom. We parted ways for different 6th-period destinations. My heart skipped a beat; I did the right thing. I vowed to get my friend back.

When the final bell signaled the end of the school day, I searched the halls for my friend. I was antsy to connect with her as soon as possible. What fun activities would we get ourselves into on Saturday? I could hardly wait. But I did not find her.

Disappointed, I made my way to my gray metal locker, dialed the combination lock, and yanked it open. Yellow paper fluttered to the floor. Yellow paper, which had been previously stuffed through the upper slats in my locker door.

It was a note. Or, more accurately, a letter. Three full pages of handwritten words on slightly crumpled yellow lined paper. I flipped to the back – it was from her! Happily, I skimmed the words.

Then my heart plunged to the pit of my stomach.

My eyes widened with astonishment.

My hands began to tremble.

This was not what I expected.

My friend? Was not delighted to receive my optimistic little note. Her response? Three pages of frigid accusations. Her words held no affection. No wistfulness for our past adventures. No acknowledgement of our former closeness.


I was stunned. I was hurt. Her words, floating through the corners of my mind, knocked the wind out of me. My pulse raced. My eyes darted around the emptying high school hallways. Tears wet my eyes as I observed other groups of friends happily chatting as they crossed the threshold towards the sunshine and eventually, to their cars.

I held it together long enough to arrive home and race up to my room. Only then did I let myself feel the sharp-edged pain of her words.

I cried. I called my boyfriend – no answer. I clung to my fuzzy brown bear, trying to find comfort in his warmth.

Maybe we can work this out.
I took a deep breath and picked up the phone. I dialed her number.

“It’s me,” I managed to squeak out. “I got your… note.”

First, silence.

The dial tone felt like a sharp smack in the face. The utter coldness broke my heart. This was someone who was once a very close friend… could there really be no affection left?

I distinctly remember this event as one of the most difficult in my teenage life. I can still feel this day. We patched our broken relationship over time, but it was never the same. I doubt she ever fully forgave me for putting a boyfriend ahead of our friendship. Nor could I ever shake the sting of her written words.

We became polite acquaintances.

The boyfriend? Long gone.

- - - - -
These days, as Amelia clings tightly to my hand in the midst of social situations, I should be glad. At least she hasn’t left me for a boyfriend yet. I hope my painful lesson can somehow keep her from suffering a similar collapse of friendship. I always remind her, “good friends are treasures.” And we thank God for all her friends in our nightly prayers.

- - - - -

Prompt: Choose a time when either the abundance or lack of affection (either by you or someone else) stands out, and show us. Bring us to that time. Help us feel what you felt.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The clingy kid

Alright people, I am ready to make a confession.

I do not like to play.

I get painfully bored playing preschool games. I do not enjoy sitting on the floor. I can only change the 3" tall princesses' clothes so many times before I have a pounding headache. Play-Doh? Just makes me antsy about the mess.

I do not like to play.
Gasp! What a horrible mom.

I guess I should say, I do not like to play, but I do it anyway.

I am a busy work-from-home mom. I work for an advertising agency. I also blog, tweet, take care of the house, do laundry, run errands, and cook meals. I also take time out each day to play with Amelia.

Granted, it may not be for long. 30-45 minutes of undivided attention from me makes her day. I find a way to stop what I am doing and let her take the reins. During this time, she directs our play. Sometimes, if my schedule looks clear, we go out to a playground or indoor play center. I encourage her to venture out, to have confidence playing alone. I will also find moments to join her. To interact. To cheer her on as she climbs a tower or chase her as she runs and giggles. I admit, I do not love it. But the joy on her face breaks down my walls and forces a smile. Those moments are priceless.

Eight or nine times out of ten, do you know what happens?

We meet "the clingy kid". A kid, usually much older than my own, whom is so enamored by a mom in the mix of kids, he/she becomes my shadow. Many times, this kid will approach and ask,
     "Will you play with me?"
A question posed not to 3-year-old Amelia, but to 33-year-old me

Here is another confession...

I completely avoid this kid.
Gasp! How terrible!

I do not want the responsibility of entertaining someone else's child. I generally answer with, "I need to watch my daughter today." And the clingy kid? Usually follows me for a few minutes (or more) before finally turning away.

Maybe this is wrong of me... but I don't. like. playing.

I do what I can - as happily as possible - for my own child, but entertaining one I've never met? Just goes a step too far. However, the clingy kid tugs at my heartstrings. I wonder, why is this little guy/girl craving attention? Do they get undivided attention at home? Are they crying out for parental involvement? Trust me, I am not that cool. Why ask to play with me?

Maybe they are simply lacking social skills? 

Why does this happen so often?
Do you know the clingy kid?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Annual safety reminder!

As I sit at the pool, visit the waterparks, and lounge by the beach this summer, I will cringe countless times.

I will avert my eyes - and say a prayer - as I watch children dive, headfirst, into shallow waters.

I cannot even express how much this bothers me.

Before last summer, I never thought twice about it.

For those of you who don't know, my sister-in-law suffered a terrible fall on July 8th, 2010 and is facing life paralyzed from the chest down. We spent countless hours (months) at the rehab hospital with her.

100+ people are at this one facility on any given day.

In the summer months, many of the youngest injured patients are there due to improper diving.

Diving into pools that are not sufficient depth for diving. Diving into the ocean, not realizing a sandbar was underneath. Diving off a pier into seemingly deep waters. Falling haphazardly into the water after jumping or being thrown in by an unsuspecting adult.

More than 850 spinal cord injuries occur from diving-related injuries each year. The majority of these result in quadriplegia - paralysis of all limbs.

Please, think twice about how your kids play this summer.
And the next.
And the next.
And the next....


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Wellness

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

What do you think about "generic" products?

Me, I love them! I am definitely a store-brand kind of girl. Especially when it comes to health & wellness products; you can usually check the active ingredients and immediately see there is NO sacrifice for the money savings.

I just returned from a vacation to Arizona. The desert dryness and breezes wreaked havoc on my eyes. I quickly stopped into a Walgreens to buy their store brand Sterile Rewetting Drops for soft contact lenses. At $5.99 for a full half-ounce, these were the best selection for the money. And the quality was great! My eyes were very thankful.

I have used many Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products over the years, and they have never let me down. They are a great value and contain the same active ingredients as the major brands. Did you know these products also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee? But wait... there's more! Each purchase also benefits the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™. Great value and socially-conscious. I like that!

**You can win!** Several bloggers are giving away Walgreens Gift Cards right now! If you win, you can stock up on high quality, great value products for yourself! Check out the current giveaways by clicking here: giveaways


Visit Sponsor's Site

I'm OK, you're OK

Once again, the blogosphere has connected me to a fantastic person. I am so happy to have recently connected with Onesie Mommy. She left a touching comment on a recent post - so touching, in fact, that I had to post it myself! Check it out HERE.

Tonight, I am honored to have a guest post published on the Onesie Mommy blog!

I have only one child.
She is over age three.
Am I an anxious mess because I do not have a second child yet?
Nope. This is how I like it.

Please visit my guest post HERE.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Toy

Why is my home overflowing with toys?


All she needs is a rock!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Got (Gummiberry) juice?

I miss Saturday morning cartoons.

Before the time of all-cartoon cable networks, prior to a Disney Channel subscription in my home... those were the days when children across the country longed for Saturday morning.

Saturday mornings had a purpose; these days held a higher level of excitement than any other throughout the week. It did not matter that I was awake past my bedtime the night before, or that I was battling fatigue from hours of summer swimming pool play.

I got out of bed as soon as my eyelids fluttered open. 

I headed straight for the television.

Snorks.  Smurfs.  Pee Wee's Playhouse.

My favorite of all-time? Sandwiched between Snorks at 8:00 and Smurfs at 9:00, was Disney's Adventures of The Gummi Bears.

25+ years later, I can still sing the theme song verbatim.

Dashing and daring,
Courageous and caring,
Faithful and friendly,
With stories to share.
All through the forest,
They sing out in chorus,
Marching along,
As their song fills the air.

Gummi Bears!!
Bouncing here and there and everywhere,

High adventure that's beyond compare,
They are the Gummi Bears!

Magic and mystery,
Are part of their history,
Along with the secret,
of Gummiberry juice...

- - - - -
I wonder which theme songs Amelia will remember when she's in her 30s? Little Einsteins? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Maybe the Backyardigans or Fresh Beat Band?

Today, Saturday morning is just like any other morning.

Disney Channel. Nickelodeon. Cartoon Network. PBSKids.

There is such a vast selection of shows every morning of the week, maybe she won't remember any of them?

That breaks my heart just a little bit.

- - - - -

Another fabulously fun memoir prompt from The Red Dress Club! partner:

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