Posted in Health, Parenting, quarantine, raising kids

Online School versus Wearing a Mask All Day

 

 Girl Writing on the Sofa

https://www.everypixel.com/image-1112566296841457387

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. My next WIP is going well and I can’t wait until it’s done. I really like this story, too.

But enough about that, I’m back today to talk about the issue of school in the fall. Right now, we must let the school know if our kids are going to be riding the bus, so they can set up routes and figure out how many kids they’re going to be transporting.

 

https://www.everypixel.com/image-5868038422952107777

I’m talking with my kids and my oldest is fine either way, but I’m not. There are so many unanswered questions. My oldest tells me if there’s an outbreak at the school, they’ll  immediately shut it down. That worries me. I don’t want my kids to get sick, so I’m leaning toward online school. I have a feeling we’re going to end up in that position any way.

In conversations with my kids, they aren’t looking forward to wearing a mask all day, but I don’t know of any other way to protect them. There are so many things we don’t know about the virus. I keep hearing rumors of fevers lasting for months and long-term damage to the lungs and heart. The thing with sending them to school is there’s more of a risk for them to be exposed to this virus.

 

Medical Mask - Coronavirus - Free Photos

https://www.everypixel.com/image-16846227259641020229

 

Right now, I don’t know what the school has planned. We haven’t been given those details yet. The thing is we have to figure out how much of a risk there is in sending the boys to school versus online schooling. I know that online schooling eliminates the risk, but I’m worried about the isolation factor.  We are human after all, social animals. How is this virus going to affect their social development in this time in their lives when learning social cues is so important?

 

There are no easy answers, that’s for sure. What are your school districts doing? How do you feel about it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Public Service Announcements, raising kids

Predators in our Society

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. We’re in the dog days of summer and I love it. It’s finally that hot, muggy weather we all know and love. I’ve been running outside in the mornings because it’s cooler and I prefer running outside to running on a treadmill. I get time outside plus I’m exercising. Win. Win. I’ve also started a new WIP. I’m very excited about this one and it’s going smoothly right now. 😊

 

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about a couple of documentaries I watched in the last couple of months. The first one was “Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich” and the other was “Athlete A.” The first one needs no explanation, but the second one was about Larry Nassar and his sexual abuse of gymnasts who came under his care.

 

In both documentaries, you see first-hand how sexual predators work. Whether the abuser is setting up the victim to be trafficked or he’s setting them up to be abused by himself the pattern is the same. They choose a vulnerable kid, ply them with gifts, and promises of a better life. When they’ve got them hooked that’s when the abuse starts.  In the case of Jeffery Epstein. He’d pick vulnerable girls and promise them money, travel, and training so they could have a better life then he’d get them out onto his island.

In the case of Larry Nassar, he would ply the girls with candy and gifts in the rough world of gymnastics, then under the guise of physical exams, he’d sexually abuse them. He was in a position of power and he abused it.

It took a lot of courage for these girls to speak up and report him. Can you imagine how the parents must feel? They believe they’re giving their daughter this amazing opportunity and they send her to this camp where she’s molested.

 

Athlete A Poster

This just goes to show you, you can’t trust anyone with your kid. Parents weren’t allowed out to the camp where the abuse took place by the good doctor. That’s a huge red flag. When kids are isolated away from their parents, they’re vulnerable.

We as parents must make sure our kids are safe. Remember, these predators don’t go after kids whose parents are involved in their lives. They go after vulnerable kids, and what better way to make a kid vulnerable than to separate them from their parents. Predators take jobs that give them easy access to victims. For example, camp counselors, day care workers, and even teachers. So, when a camp or an organization denies you access to your kids, it’s a huge red flag.

Larry Nassar

Also, when the organization doesn’t do anything about your accusation, it’s time to pull your child. In my opinion, in the case of the “good doctor,” he should have been suspended as soon as the accusation reached the president of the organization. The fact that Steve Penny took so long to act is another huge red flag. That doctor should have been suspended until a full investigation could take place.

Steve Penny must be held accountable for his part in continuing the abuse. It upsets me that he dragged his feet. How much effort does it take to replace the doctor?

 

Portrait of Steve Penny 2012

These documentaries are infuriating and eye-opening. The victims in these situations cease to be real people to the abusers They are pawns used to meet the abusers needs. Steve Penny is also an abuser because he enabled the doctor to have access to the girls after the abuse was reported. He needs to be held accountable, too.

How do you feel about the situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, quarantine, raising kids, Reading, social media

Quarantine: Week Two

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My family and I have gotten through another week of quarantine and we haven’t lost our minds…yet. I’ve been putting my story together and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ve written this story differently than my other stories and I really like how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So far, my family and I have stayed healthy, so the quarantine is working for us. It has also brought us closer together with late night Uno games and binge-watching Netflix. I love hanging with my kids.

 

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

But this quarantine can be hard on people who don’t have a family. People who live alone can become depressed and lonely. So, check on your friends who live alone, send them a text to make sure they’re okay. This is a time to stay connected even if we can’t get together.

There’s a variety of ways you can stay connected in this trying time. Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and make sure everyone is okay. There’s also program’s like Skype and Zoom where you can video chat with your friends. At the very least, you can pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another way to fight depression is to stay busy. I’ve been working on my book, so it doesn’t register that I’ve barely left the house in two weeks. Hubby has a couple of major projects going on around the house that’s keeping him busy and the boys have their video games where they communicate with their friends. I’m letting them have more screen time because playing video games is another way to fight depression.

They’ve been reading every day and their school has a website set up where they can do some assignments. I think it’s great, but I’m not forcing them to do it. I believe they’ll be just fine when they get back to school. The school must adjust to the students needs and I believe they will.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

So, that’s how were dealing with the quarantine, working on our own projects and having more family time and staying in touch with my single friends. How about you? How are you combating depression in this crazy time when you can’t leave the house? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Parenting, Public Service Announcements, raising kids, Teen

Human Trafficking: Crimes against our Teens #2

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy work week. I did manage to get some writing done and I also got a couple of days of running in for the week. I skipped yesterday, though because I was in the zone with my writing. Anyway, enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about keeping our kids safe.

Photo credit: yooperann on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Last month, I received an e-mail from our school informing us that there had been a suspicious vehicle reported at one of our bus stops. Now, I take my kids every morning to the bus stop for just that reason. I’ve watched enough of shows like “Discovery ID” and “Forensic Files” to know how these predators work. They pick a kid and learn his schedule and wait and when he or she is vulnerable they grab them. So, I get up every morning and get those kids to the bus. I make sure they get on.

Photo on VisualHunt

We must be this vigilant now. Human Trafficking is big business. According to this article, Human Trafficking   your child is worth $300,000 a year to a trafficker. That’s a lot of cash. What exactly is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.

How do these traffickers work? Well, they start out grooming your child. They pick the ones who are needy. For example, if the child doesn’t have an authority figure in their lives or they come from a broken home and don’t have many friends. This predator comes into their lives and befriends them, gains their trust, makes all kinds of promises to solve their problems. Then when they’ve got him or her hooked, they start exploiting that trust and the trafficking starts.

Photo credit: dualdflipflop on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

How do we combat this?

We fight this by being involved parents and vetting the people our kids hang out with. If there’s an adult that’s giving them special attention, maybe even buying them gifts, this is a huge red flag. If you’re involved in your child’s life, they’re going to back off because they won’t get your kid to depend on them like they need to, so they can exploit them.

These human traffickers are everywhere. They’re teachers, politicians, coaches, priests, and school counselors. Be aware of the people in your children’s lives. The traffickers won’t waste their time if you’re an involved parent. They target the kids who they feel they can exploit. Right now, it is the second largest criminal enterprise in Michigan. So, let’s put a stop to this and keep our kids safe.

Photo credit: m_shipp22 on VisualHunt / CC BY

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any ideas how to protect our kids? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Related Posts:

Human Trafficking: Crimes against our Teens

Posted in raising kids, sports, Teen

CTE and Football

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and writing.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about a documentary I watched over the weekend and since the Super bowl was last night, it seems appropriate. The documentary I watched was “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.”

 

click here to see trailer Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was a talented football player who went pro and played for the New England Patriots. He also went to prison for murdering a friend of his. Can you imagine going from making forty million dollars and living in a mansion to living in a jail cell?

Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

I can’t imagine that. It makes me wonder how Aaron went from a pro-athlete to a murderer. After a second trial in which he was acquitted of a second murder, Aaron committed suicide.  During the autopsy, they determined that Aaron had CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that appears in people with repetitive trauma to the head. It’s found in military veterans, football players, and boxers. The symptoms of this disease are mood swings, violent outbursts, impulsive behavior, and poor judgement among other things. Now the reason I bring this up is because I believe CTE played a major part in why Aaron Hernandez killed his friend and finally committed suicide after two lengthy trials. He was only twenty-seven years old when he died.

The question I ask, is it worth it? The money and the fame, is it worth ending your life at the age of twenty-seven? My youngest wanted to play football and I discouraged it because I was afraid he’d get hurt. This was before I had even heard about CTE. I’m glad I did. I’d rather have him around for the long-haul than for him to go through what Aaron Hernandez did.

The damage to Aaron’s brain was severe. There are four stages to the disease and Aaron was at stage three. Stage four is the worst where there are Parkinson’s-like symptoms and dementia. According to medical professionals, Aaron had the worst case of CTE they’ve every seen in a twenty-seven-year-old.

 

The NFL needs to address this issue either by how we play football or by finding ways to protect the players so they can live long and prosperous lives. I don’t believe the NFL caused this disease, it’s the way the game is played, but now that they’re aware that it exists, they need to protect the players, don’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Family, Health, raising kids

Why is Childhood Obesity on the Rise?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy weekend of kids, writing, and housework. I can feel the energy changing because it’s getting close to the holidays. I know it’s getting busier which means I’m going to be frustrated because I won’t have as much time to write. Boo. But it’s always like this during this time of year, so I just have to suck it up and get through it.

But enough about that, today I want to talk about our country’s weight issues. I wrote a post a couple of years ago titled “Is our Food Industry making Us Fat.” At the time I had just learned that food manufacturers had added sugar to much of our processed food so we would like it better and buy more of their brand. This added sugar adds calories, thus making us gain weight.

Photo credit: ubiquity_zh on Visualhunt / CC BY-NCCo

I also learned today that our portion size has grown through the years. I call it portion distortion. Many fast food places have made their portions bigger. For example, a portion of French fries twenty years ago was 2.4 ounces and two hundred calories. Today, the portion size has grown to 6.9 ounces and six hundred and ten calories. This is the reason Diabetes is on the rise and our children are obese.  Even if you’re exercising, there’s a good chance you’re still taking in too many calories.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

I don’t eat fast food very often, but there are times when I use processed food for cooking. For example, canned tomato sauce. Did you know there are two grams of sugar in a fifteen ounce can? I know two grams doesn’t sound like much, but why in the world are manufacturers adding sugar to tomato sauce? Because sugar is like cocaine to our brain. It turns off our over-eating inhibitor, so we eat more, and it is addictive. Doesn’t this sound like what the tobacco industry did to cigarettes? They added nicotine to them so people would become addicted and keep buying their product even though smoking causes cancer and heart disease. They didn’t care. Am I the only one who sees a trend here? To learn more about the negative effects of sugar consumption click here . Negative Effects of Sugar

Sugar does not cause cancer, but it does cause us to be overweight which is a precursor to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. So, while the food industry isn’t necessarily causing these diseases, it certainly isn’t helping by adding sugar to our processed food.

Photo credit: @bodil on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

What can we do? We’ve got the food industry working against us. First, we can stop eating fast food. I know, it’s hard to do when it’s convenient and we just don’t feel like cooking. However, we must get back to the basics where we cooked our own food. We need to get away from processed foods and fast food. Once we do that, food manufacturers will change their products because they want to keep selling it, and fast food joints will offer healthier alternatives. Wouldn’t you agree? Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about our food industry? Do you think they’re making us sick? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Related Articles:

Is Processed Food Poisoning Us?

Is our Food Industry Making Us Fat?

Is Our Food Industry making us Sick?

An Insidious Epidemic: Childhood Obesity

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Mentors are Gold for your Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, let’s home it’s not an optical illusion. 😉

Photo credit: Clio CJS on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about being or finding mentors for our kids. I can make suggestions to them until I’m blue in the face and they won’t be motivated to try my suggestion, but if another adult whom they respect makes the same suggestion. Bingo. They’re all for it. I don’t feel bad about this. The reason this happens is because I’m their mom and I love them no matter what, so I’m always going to see the good in them, but another adult who notices a spark… well then it must be true, right?

I stumbled on this concept last year when the tennis coach asked my youngest to join the team. He had never expressed an interest in tennis, but just the fact the coach asked him to join was a huge factor. His father and I had been trying to get him to join a team because he’s very athletic, but every sport we suggested he didn’t want to participate in it. He joined the tennis team and enjoyed it so much that he’s planning on doing it again this year.

 

Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

So, when a friend complained to me about how her son was nominated for the National Honors Society at his school and he didn’t want to do it because he had to do thirty hours of community service, I decided to test my theory. I suggested to her  she have one of his teachers encourage him to join. She did and now her son is taking the steps necessary to join the National Honors Society.

Photo credit: National Library of Australia Commons on VisualHunt.com / No known copyright restrictions

 

Teachers your kids respect are gold. If you can have them help you with your child, do it. The teens years are tumultuous to say the least and I’m not ashamed to say that our teens need all the help they can get. So, don’t underestimate the influence teachers have over your kids. It doesn’t take much. Just a suggestion or a request from one of them is all it takes. Teachers do make a lasting impression on our kids. There’s no doubt about that.

 

Photo credit: blondinrikard on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

However, it doesn’t have to be a teacher, it could be a coach, a scout leader, or a favorite uncle or aunt. It takes a village to raise your kids and finding them a mentor who believes in them is a great place to start.

How about you? Do you have any ideas that will help parents through the teen years? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! I need all the help I can get! 😉

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Stay at Home versus a Working Mom

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while. Life sure has been busy. 😊  Next week is back to school for my kiddos and I’m just as bummed about it as they are. Summer was way too short this year. At the end of July, we had a great vacation up north. I love that area and it was awesome to get away and relax, and I got a lot of vacation writing done. I love that!

Photo on VisualHunt

However, enough about that. Today, I’d like to reflect on the difference between being a stay at home mom and a working mom. Both are hard work and stressful, but I believe being a stay at home mom is harder. Why? There are many reasons.

Photo credit: Diamond Farah on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

I’ve found that since I’ve been back to work, I feel better about myself. Delving deeper, I realize I’m getting many more positive affirmations from my co-workers and my boss than I did when I was a stay at home mom, but it’s not only that. It’s nice to have co-workers to chat with. Being a stay at home mom is isolating and it’s rare to get any acknowledgement of the hard work you do. I loved being home with my kids, but there were times when it would’ve been nice to have another adult to talk to.

Another reason being a stay at home mom is harder is because you’re not bringing home a pay check. There’s the guilt of not helping provide for the family, but I feel I made the right choice even if it was sometimes a struggle. I have a great relationship with my kids, and I wanted them to learn the value of relationships and how they’re more important than money or possessions. I hope I accomplished that. That being said, I do enjoy bringing home a paycheck again. I’d forgotten what that little piece of independence felt like and boy is it sweet.

Photo on VisualHunt

Also, I get a break from my job. I get to go home after eight hours and hang with my family. A stay at home mom never gets a vacation. Even when she goes on vacation, she’s usually taking her family with her. She is on twenty-four/seven for at least the first five years of her child’s life.  Once they start school, she gets a little bit of a break and believe me she deserves it.

There are usually no positive affirmations either. No one says thanks Mom for cleaning the kitchen three times a day, or for picking up the toys in the living room three times a day. Stay at home moms tend to forget to take care of themselves. They put their needs last. So, it’s no wonder that sometimes they get a little depressed.

Photo credit: cuantofalta on Visual huntCC BY-NC-ND

I remember those years. I was exhausted the entire time, but oh the memories…it was definitely worth it.  So, when I look back would I do it all again, even though there were days of loneliness and major exhaustion? Absolutely.

I miss my kids every day when I’m at work. I want to hear about their day the moment they get home from school, but I also want to send them to college, so they don’t have debts to pay off when they’re done. A compromise must be made, and this is the time to do it. They’re enjoying their independence and pulling away from Mom. This is to be expected, however, I want them to stay my little boys just a little longer.

They still tell me things and when I’m late coming home, they wonder where I’m at and that’s nice, but I miss those baby hugs and the way my oldest used to play with my hair when I fed him his bottle or read him a story. I miss how my youngest was so rambunctious and quick to learn. I remember that moment when he started reading by himself and how we would sit and read an entire book (chapter book) in one sitting, because he wanted to impress me. I remember how proud he was of himself and how proud of him I was.

Photo credit: srsphoto on Visualhunt /CC BY-NC

I was there for all of it. I’m so excited to see the men they will become. They are such great kids. I know life is going to throw them some curve balls. I hope I’ve taught them to be resilient and strong during those times, and I hope I’ve given them enough good memories so when tough times come, they’ll remember those hardships are temporary and good times will be back once they weather the storm.

In conclusion, staying home is the harder of the two. So, if you are a stay at home mom, it’s important for you to take care of yourself and make sure your spouse understands your needs. He needs to give you some accolades and support when you’re having one of those days. Also, you need to take time away from the kids and get adult time. It’s essential to your mental health, but you probably already know that. 😉

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, do you agree with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, raising kids

Protecting your Kids from Predators with Friendly Faces

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of kids, work, and laundry. I’m waiting for summer to begin. We’ve had cold temperatures and rain through most of May after a horrendous winter, so I’m ready for some hot weather. How about you?

Photo credit: CMy23 on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

But enough about the weather, today I’d like to talk about a scary statistic. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s 2000 children a day.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

This is upsetting. The world is such a dangerous place right now. My hubby used to give me grief for being over-protective, but how can you not be? When pedophiles become troop leaders, teachers, and coaches, how can we be anything but over-protective?

For example, look at what happened at Seton-Keough High school in Baltimore Maryland. The headmaster of the school, Father Maskell, and his group of priests and police officers were abusing the students. Reports were ignored. This abuse has been documented in other Catholic churches as well. The church chose to move these pedophiles from one parish to the next, protecting the abusers. This abuse had been going on for years. We can’t even trust priests. (For more information about the abuse at Seton-Keough high school, check out the Netflix documentary “The Keepers.” It’s very well done.)

 

So, how do you protect your kids? In my research, I’ve found that these pedophiles are smart and manipulative. They prey on kids whose parents are stressed out and can’t be as involved as they’d like to be. The more involved you are with your kids the more likely the pedophile will leave your child alone. They prey on kids who come from one parent homes or there’s alcoholism or drug abuse in the family. They find the needy kids. The ones who need a role model in their lives.

 

Photo credit: dickdotcom on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

One sign that your child is being groomed by one of these sick individuals is they’re getting special attention from them. The abuser may be buying them gifts or taking them out to dinner. If this is happening, you need to step in and take control of the situation.  This person is being “nice” for a reason, and it’s not a good one.

It’s sad when you can’t even trust a person for being nice to your child, isn’t it? So, the best thing you can do is to be involved with your kids. The better relationship you have with them, the less likely a pedophile will be able to get their claws into them.

The same goes for abusers who kidnap kids to violate and then discard. These people watch and learn your child’s schedule and when they find them in a vulnerable position, they snatch them up. That’s why I’m with my kids at the bus stop. It’s usually dark because they have to be at school so early in the morning, but it’s also not well lit. I wouldn’t let my kids stand out there by themselves, waiting for the bus on such a lonely road.

Photo credit: Thiophene_Guy on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s change this horrible statistic by protecting our kids the best way we can. Thanks for reading my post, I kind of picked a frightening subject to write about. Sorry about that. I’ll write something a little lighter next week.

Do you have any ideas on what we can do to change this statistic? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Personal, raising kids

Gratitude in the New Year

 

Photo on Foter.com

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s the New Year and I’m excited for what 2019 has in store for me. I have some stories I need to finish and I’m hoping this year is the year for me to do that.

However, I don’t want to talk about that today. I thought today, I would talk about gratitude. There’s a meme floating around Facebook and it states, if you list three things you’re grateful for every day, you’ll become happy.  Let’s face it, we’re all looking for happiness and it’s so elusive. Hidden behind the mundane routine of our everyday lives. It’s hard to find in the morning traffic jam and the bills we have to pay to keep a roof over our heads, but it’s there.

 

Image may contain: text

If you’re smart. You’ll look for it in the simple things, like making your kids their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make sure they make it to the bus stop on time. That’s truly where happiness lies.

I know you’re questioning my logic. After all, crawling out of a warm bed and throwing your coat on over your pajamas to go out in the freezing cold doesn’t sound like much fun. It isn’t, but the fact my kids rely on me to do this every morning makes me happy. We chat for a few minutes as we wait for the bus and they tell me things they don’t mention at the dinner table. I know it doesn’t sound magical, but it is. It is to me. They’re growing up so fast and these moments are becoming fewer and fewer as they develop friendships and become more independent.

Photo credit: RubyT (I come here for cameraderie!) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I’m grateful for those moments. I’m also grateful for the moments when we’re together and they give me grief. They enjoy picking on me. I tell them that’s their way of showing me they love me. They deny it, but I know it’s true.

I’m also grateful for those times when we’re up north and night falls. I stand on the dock, taking in the moon and stars, and my family wanders out to take in the night sky with me. I love those moments, especially because my youngest is interested in the stars and our solar system. We chat for a few minutes about them and take in the wonder of the heavens. We connect in a world where most connections are digital, and it’s such an awesome feeling to connect even if it’s only for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Photo on Foter.com

Wow. I’ve listed three things I’m grateful for and you know what? I do feel happier. That meme wasn’t lying.  I’m going to try this for twenty one days and see if it’s permanent. How about you? What are you grateful for? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!