United States of Motherhood: June 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dog sitting and Crazy Haired Puppies

I've been watching this cutie for the last 10 days through Rover.com.

Juno, a Maltese Poodle blend puppy has been a riot!  So bouncy and spunky going after our dog-despising 11 lb cat when she only weighs 4 lbs.

She came to use sooo clean and I was feeling guilty yesterday about how rough around the edges she was looking.  Ahem so insert itty bitty dog into a utility sink and....

She looses half her volume and her fluffy pom pom of a tail turns into one that would make the nastiest of rodents proud. Her fluffy body turned into a pink naked mole rat worthy 'doo...but with thinning hair from a very very bad perm.  

Luckily, like anyone of the female mystique, her saving grace was a blow dryer.

So funny...from wet drowned rat to pooooooof!!  

Thank Goodness...I thought I broke her by getting her wet. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Letting Go of My Shadow: I'm Not Ready

Someone is still not feeling well.  He will only eat if I almost force feed him blended food in a syringe. 

I was in tears last night.

I am in years now.

 I think we are getting close and I am not ready. He did get up for a few minutes today and there was a tail wag...

He's been my shadow for almost 15 years since rescuing him from a Fairbanks Alaska animal shelter. I'm just not ready...but I'm starting to think his sad eyes are telling me we are close. 

My heart is breaking...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Busy Bees and Stress

Busy bee...I feel you.  

So much to do and no time to do it. 

I abhor this time of year. 

So stressed. Breathe...

Learning Curve: Rhymes with Applemore

Guess who this kid is supposed to be for his School of Rock Presentation? The hair is the big hint!!

We pulled this together in ten minutes before school since this was the first I heard of the need for a costume.  Probably a good thing since I tend to to overdo these things as a mom.

One less thing I let slip as a mom...and that's okay! Yes, indeed after the third child, there is a learning curve!

Just don't ask why we had a leopard skin coat hanging around the house...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest Post: My Husband's Beau Raines' Take on the Affordable Pantech Discover

Hey friends:  My husband Beau Raines wrote a post on a pretty awesome and affordable  Pantech Discover phone and I thought those of you in the market for a gift for a father, grandfather, or other loved one for Father's Day might want to check it out. As y'all know, my CG (computer geek) is a bit of a techie, so his explanation would be a whole 'nother ball of wax than what I would write. Amazon stud with Mechanical Engineer degree vs. Political Science degreed social media addict & blogger...Go figure!!

Enjoy! Original post on his blog here.

Automation to stop texting and driving

I've been on a big kick to leverage automation in my life lately.  I've been using If This Then That as a way to trigger actions based upon events (primarily email I've received).  I wrote a script to download some reports every week, so I don't have to spend the time to do it.  I've spent the weekend working on a software project to monitor and respond to activity on a certain social network.  This post will go online on a schedule; I wrote it Sunday night. But more on these things later.

I also spend a lot of time on the road - not travelling, road warrior style, but commuting. However, my commute is pretty pleasant for two major reasons. First, it's not that long, just a little over 30 minutes and second, I ride a van pool.  While I do drive, I don't drive everyday, so I get a good break from the stress of the road.  However, when I'm a passenger, a day doesn't go by when I don't see someone talking or texting on their phone.  On average, there is a car crash once every 5 minutes due to a driver texting!

I've had the opportunity to use a Pantech Discover from AT&T, the first AT&T smartphone designed to help prevent texting while driving. It comes with the AT&T Drive Mode application, which automagically kicks in when the phone is moving faster than 25 mph.  When it is active, most apps are blocked, most callers are sent straight to voice mail and text messages get an auto-reply message with out any notifications.  You can white list a few phone numbers (so that your spouse can call you) and you can allow a music and a navigation application.  Any other applications are met with a screen indicating that Drive Mode is active.

In my case, I'm a passenger a lot, so I've discovered that it is pretty easy to turn it off - simply hitting two on screen buttons.  But if you're driving, it makes you think that much more "Is it really that important to check my phone right now?"

When I'm driving, my phone sits in a cup holder and now, it just sits there silently. No temptations to answer it, no temptation to increase my risk of car crash 23 times!  The phone just does its thing automatically, one less thing to think about.  That is what I really love about automation - things just get taken care of.

As with any technology, there are a few watch outs.  My wife is more likely to text me than to call, which can be problematic if she wants me to pick up something to make for dinner on the way home from work - I won't know to check the message until I'm at home, already having driven past the grocery store.  She's on my white list, so I know that if the phone rings while I'm driving, its someone worth pulling over for.

Unless you manage that white list well, you are allowing the phone to make the decision for you, rather than see who is calling and decide if you're going to stop to take the call. I do like setting contact photos so I can quickly see who is calling and make a decision if I'm going to answer or not.  They can listen to my radio while I put in my headset and turn on blue tooth.

I have fairly good self-control, unless small pieces of chocolate, easy to pop in your mouth are involved, so its easy for me to just let the phone ring or beep that someone texted me.  I've got some personalized ring tones which make me grin, so its alright to listen to them.  But if you're someone with less self-control or a new teen driver, this automation is just one more decision point - is it worth it to answer the phone.  Its far better to have your phone remind you that it can wait, rather than the State Patrol telling you.

Over half the states have laws restricting or prohibiting the use of mobile phones and in some of them, its a primary offense that you can be pulled over for.  So even if you think you're a good enough driver and your reaction times aren't impaired (sounds a lot like a drunk driver argument, doesn't it?), you're still at risk.

Automation is meant to make your life simpler, so that things are taken care of and that you can be present in the moment.  And when you're behind the wheel, that is where your focus needs to be.

Ralley Team 2007
One of my Ralley Crew is now a driver himself!

I've been overall impressed by the Pantech Discover.  At only $49.99 in all AT&T channels, it's a great bargain. Its running Android 4.0 (which is a big step from Froyo on my old phone) and has a large, crisp 4.8" screen.  With the recent addition of LTE coverage in my area, I actually didn't realize that I wasn't on wifi at home for the first few days - its that fast.  Its processor is quick, so you can take care of everything you need to do and not try to squeeze it in while driving.  With the 12 Mega pixel camera and a battery that lasts me well into the evening, you'll be seeing more pictures of my dinners rather than just breakfasts!

Disclaimer: My husband received a phone to review and return  for this post, but the opinions are his.  Some of the factoids were provided by AT&T, so he had to do a little less research. But come on, we all know that driving distracted is dumb and  It Can Wait!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Health/Fitness Journey and Giveaway : Bestowed.com and Eating Clean Through Injury

You all know I have had a major lifestyle change this last nine months.  At times, it is a struggle, like today as I sit here with a lingering back and hip injury, unable to workout.  However, just because fitness takes a pause does not mean clean eating ends.  I can continue my progress -- thirty-three lbs. lost today-- through diet.

In fact, I think eating Paleo and very clean has been the key.  

As most trainers including mine have said, "You cannot out-train a poor diet."

My pantry shows the transformation the best:

So I was pretty excited when Bestowed.com approached me to check out their monthly subscription service of healthy food you'll love.  You see Bestowed.com carefully curates their products and sends their customers new stuff every month. it's a subscription service that offers consumers a personalized way to discover, sample, shop and learn about the best nutrition and lifestyle products on the market. Heather Bauer, the founder, is an author, Registered Dietitian  and also the founder of a diet and weight loss counseling center where thousands of people have learned how to safely lose weight and keep it off for good. The result is that they only work with only the best brands. 

"Every product that we feature has been thoroughly tested by our team of experts and must meet a rigorous set of standards. Brands do not (and cannot) pay to be featured! Our decisions are based solely on a products' ingredients and nutrition, and how it fits into an overall eating regimen. We also consider things like where a product is made and the packaging that it comes in."

So it was akin to Christmas day when my package arrived.  What would be inside of it?? 



KIND Healthy Grains Oats & Honey Clusters
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds
OLOVES Hot Chili Mama Olives
EBOOST Packets
GNU Foods Hi-Fiber Minis
Nektar Honey Crystals 
$25 iTrain Gift Card

I loved it all!  Now wait , you say?  Is KIND granola Paleo?  No, it is not, however neither am I 100% Paleo.  I allow myself treats.  Indulgences as a fellow Paleo friend tells me to call them.  Self-deprivation is enormously challenging and has always ended up in failure and disappointment in the past. So I allow myself an occasional treat--yes granola is a treat--and I am reassured by the minimally-processed quality  of these products for me and my kids who are definitely NOT Paleo. 

So for $19 a month I get something fun for my family to try out that I can feel good about feeding them.

So How Does It Work? 

Join Bestowed and get 5+ healthy (and yummy!) products to try each month - each one hand picked by nutritionist and author Heather Bauer.

How it works:

  • Select your membership type (monthly or annual), then click Join!
  • Our boxes ship to arrive on the 15th of every month
  • Shipping is included in price!
  • We currently ship via USPS within the US only

Membership Options:

  • Monthly Membership - $19 billed monthly, cancel any time
  • Annual Membership - $209 billed annually, transfer any time

 I am super excited to be offer you a discount code for a trial run. Yes, $5 off for everyone who signs up for their first box using code 5OFFBSTOWED01 !!  

Yep, so that first box would be only $14 including shipping.  Remember you can cancel at any time so it's great peace of mind to try something out new.

 Even better: What if I were to tell you I am giving away a 1-month subscription.  Sweet, eh?

Just tell me your family's health and nutrition goals in the comments below to be entered to win.

Disclosure: I was provided product /service to review, but received no other compensation.  As always, opinions are 100% my own.  

    My Poor Seb: Life is Not Fair

    Someone is having a rough week.

    Last night I heard him tumble down the flight of front stairs into the darkness. It was a very painful process to get him back on his feet. 

    Today trying to jump up the two porch steps at a run, he missed and slammed his face into solid concrete. 

    He's bleeding from his lip and nose. He is bewildered and hurt. He keeps shaking his head and wobbling around on his spindly, arthritic legs. 

    I hate what time has done to him...but through it all his tail still wags. 

    He is my shadow. My best friend. I wish I could save him more from life's hurts. 

    My poor Seb.

    One of Those Weepy Mom Moments: One Paper Calendar Away

    Days drag slowly on huffs of exasperation while years fly by in a gasp.

     That quick breath is the essence of motherhood.

    I sent my youngest off to school and it hit me--only one more week of elementary school EVER left. 


    Motherhood drips so-molasses-slow like the grumbling head and dragging feet sent to clean a neglected bedroom .  Then?  

    With the ferocious speed of the wind blown in by the door left ajar by an excited child crowing to find you and blasting to your knees to proudly display their latest (insert lizard, frog, snake, bunny, rock, stick, good grade, boy troubles) to you. Moommmy, Mom, Mama...

    One day you are bemoaning helping with yet another project procrastinated--wishing away another "listen to my speech for the fourth time" routine. Then suddenly you are at their last middle school presentation... 

    ...wanting more!

    One day you have a frustrating grubby toddler getting prints on your walls-- and eliciting smiles nonetheless.  Then you turn away, and a young man appears. 

    You rub your eyes.  

    How did I slumber through this? Concentrating on the minutiae while never truly seeing the man in front of you until just this moment?

    Where did the time go?

    Your smart fifth grader has days left before he never again can claim grammar school.

    Your shiny-eyed 8th grader will take her first steps into the large and intimidating high school years.

    After days of frustration and nagging about finals, you realize your firstborn leaves the nest soon. 

    12 months too soon.

    One paper calendar away...

    "Happy Tuesday, my friends!! What's in your cup?"

    "Happy Tuesday, my friends!! What's in your cup?"

    What is Wrong With Love?

    Wiping my tears, taking a breath now...

    I completely lost it at 2:55 .. lost it!! Please share this love story and let everyone know that this is WRONG.

    Being separated from whom you love?

    I've had to do it once for my husband's Army deployment. It ripped my heart out.

    Now imagine what this couple has gone through over the years. WRONG.Wiping my tears, taking another breath now...

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