United States of Motherhood: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Devastated


I received some devastating news today that is going to rock my family's world.  

I can't go into it in depth, but would really appreciate some positive vibes coming our way.  

For now, I keep reminding myself: 

"Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Can Boys, Undecided on Spiritual Beliefs or Agnostic, Be Boy Scouts? #BSA



Ok, help a mom out?  I'm trying to figure out what to do!

My youngest is showing a strong interest in Boy Scouts.  To be honest, before their policy change on gay scouts, I never considered it for my kids.  This decision was a difficult because I grew up with Scout: My Dad was a Scout Leader, there were always Scouts in our house and I saw the skills and positive traits which they were taught.  Heck even my husband is an Eagle Scout.  So now that the BSA has started to lighten up on the discrimination, I am opening up to the idea.  I still have reservations though when I hear stories of Eagle Scout troop leaders being discriminated against for their sexual orientation.

Here is the issue: We aren't religious and it's pretty unclear whether my kids even believe in a god. 

 I feel spiritual beliefs are very personal and should never be shoved down a child's throat. I've left that for my kids to discover for themselves and as yet, my youngest is on the fence. He's not an atheist per se, but also not a strong believer. I'd say agnostic if I had to put a label on it.

So does that automatically make him ineligible for Boy Scouts? My husband and I have discussed this and besides a strong ethical system, we understand a belief in god is required.

Are we wrong? 

Sure we could fudge this belief, but that seems antithetical to the whole point of the  integrity and character building premise of BSA that we want to instill in our son.

For now, my son is asking me daily about scouts...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

WTF & Ahhh ALL At the Same Time: What is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response #ASMR


Ahem.  This is somewhat embarrassing. 

 I went down a rabbit hole in the internet last night.

YouTube to be exact and I happened upon this underground community called ASMR.

It started with this video and after a few seconds, I raised skeptical raised eyebrow after eyebrow as this cute blond  whispered.

Was this some weird fetish porn for sad lonely men on the internet?? Bizarre. But having work deadlines to finish, of course I was intrigued... Ha! Thank you ADHD.




What was this?  Then it happened.  I got it!



What they called the tingles, suddenly happened again and again.  I was in a trance.

Holy crap. What was this?

One YouTuber with about a HALF MILLION views said this:

"Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response refers to the pleasant tingly sensations that you can feel on your head and scalp when someone is brushing your hair, massaging your scalp or whispering in your ears.
Sometimes also called 'brain orgasm' or 'braingasm', ASMR can be triggered from the comfort of your homes via my channel dedicated to relax you, destress you, help you sleeping, give you pleasure and attention that you want. Moreover, it will educate you and motivate you to live a more expansive life and to feel more. "

So my friends? I fell asleep. Woke up and watched some more.  So I am curious.  Do you get the tingles?  Apparently not all people do.

Bizarre, but addicting.



Fo those of you who still don't get it?  Check out these guys.  They will crack you up and make you feel better if you aren't ASMR talented. Heh!



So am I alone with my tingles and skepticism and WTF-edness and embarrassment all wrapped up in one?  It's like getting a head massage, but not having to pay for the spa treatment.




Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the Universe: Why I AM NOT Ranting About The Nail in My Tire?


The world is so funny. We woke up to a flat tire today. Nail! Completely FLAT. Ouch.

So why am I laughing and not ranting?

Rewind...

Funny story! My neighbor, who is moving, showed up on my door step two days ago.  She  insisted I take FOUR brand new expensive tires she had from her Expedition that they sold.  She had tried to sell them with no luck. She even tried to donate them, but the charity would not take them.  So she was going to have a junk truck take them Wednesday.  Then she remembered me.  So two afternoons ago, we loaded them up in her kids' red wagon and rolled them three houses down.

Today?  We loaded one up on our car!

Isn't the universe funny? It supplied us with $300 tire we really really could not afford, with college tuition looming, in a jiffy and turned it into father-son bonding moment on how to replace flat tires.

So that nail in my tire?  It made me smile.  Call it God.  Call it Kharma.  Call it universe. Whatever works for you. Thanks universe! You are rocking it!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Got ADHD? Someone You Love Has ADHD? Need new perspective? Watch THIS! (VIDEO) #ADHD


I do not often share that my two sons have ADHD. Nor have I mentioned that after having them diagnosed and treated with much success?

 I came to the realization that I was looking in the mirror. 

 Doctors have agreed my symptoms are there, but typical for me?  I never followed through with specialists and diagnosis... and yes, medication.  Sigh. I need to work on it.  It's so difficult to be a parent of ADHD children when you can barely manage yourself.

Still I get them and hopeful some day, they will understand and get me. 

So I happened upon this video and I found it encouraging:



"Yes, ADHD is a difference in cognition, not simply a disorder. We are attention different, not deficit."

Do I need fixing? Do my boys need fixing?  Not sure.  I do know we struggle with deadlines, timeliness, and following through...

High school for me was a struggle.  Missing school.  Forgetting deadlines. Extreme disorganization.  Yet, I also excelled in classes I loved. AP English. History. By the time, college rolled around, I found ways to cope. I would book sound proof music rooms in libraries to study in to minimize distraction and noise. I constantly doodled to keep my hands engaged which seemed to make something click in my brain and help me absorb lectures. I had a handle on it and was VERY motivated.

Then when I became responsible for three other human beings and not just myself?  Basket case.

For the record all three of us do not have the hyperactive, sometimes disruptive type.  We have the attention-deficient type.  So we slip under the radar. We hide in the back of classrooms.  We just glaze over.

We are forgetful, but yet we can hyperfocus for hours. 

We are impulsive. We have this irritating ability to "zone out" even in the middle of conversations. We struggle to complete the simplest of tasks. I have to write down ever step of the simplest crossfit wod on a board or I will forget it. Our listening skills are pretty fantastically bad and following directions often seems impossible. We lose vital things daily such as books, keys, wallet, phones...DAILY!

When I despair, I love when I find out about others that are successful...and have ADHD.  JetBlue Airways CEO and founder David Neeleman is famously frank about his ADHD:


 "One of the weird things about the type of [ADHD] I have is, if you have something you are really, really passionate about, then you are really, really good about focusing on that thing. It's kind of bizarre that you can't pay the bills and do mundane tasks, but you can do your hyper-focus area." He spends "all my waking hours" obsessing about JetBlue. The rest of his life, Neeleman says, would be a "disaster" if not for his wife, who manages their home and children; his accountant, who pays the bills and tracks his finances; and his personal assistant, who sends him his schedule every day and steers him from appointment to appointment, keeping him on track."

Again?  Hello mirror. 

My family life would be a disaster without my engineer husband who drones on about calendars, pays bills, and keeps on top of appointments. He finds me (and the boys) exasperating I know.  Still?  He loves us. Heck I even cling to him at social media events and wrangle invitations for him because he helps me remember names, hear conversation (yes my attention issues also are coupled with hearing problems), and helps me stay focused.

Speaking of focus? I love social media passionately and can hyperfocus on that for hours, but hitting deadlines for blog posts is a struggle. I have about thirty half-finished posts in my dashboard.  My entire family makes fun of me because at any given time I have 40-50 tabs open in my browser.  I tab from one to another...

Another positive? From an MSN article on the Upside of ADHD:

"People with ADHD "may instead be our most creative individuals, our most extraordinary thinkers, our most brilliant inventors and pioneers," writes Hartmann in his 2003 book The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child (Park Street Press, 2003). He posits that the people with ADHD may carry genetically coded abilities that once were, and may still be, necessary for human survival and that contribute richness to the culture."

So ADHD? Good qualities and stumbling blocks. Should we embrace cognitive diversity? Or should we fix it?



I will leave you with some eye candy... Heh!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Travelers Beware & Six Month Validity Rule: Valid Passports Don't Mean You Can Fly


This is my form of a PSA inspired by my friend Cristi at Motherhood Unadorned. Travelers please take heed:

Source: Flickr


Right now?  I am feeling terrible for my friend Cristi whose family was turned away for a flight at the airport on their way to a family wedding in the Philippines yesterday. 

Yes, family packed up. Countdown for her excited kids finally over.  Get to the airport? Annnnnd?  No go.  I  learned something new as did she the hard way: 

Did you know even if with unexpired passport with 5 months left, you cannot fly to the Philippines?   
You must have 6 months left on your passport.

What foolish nonsense is this? I would have assumed if I had five months on my passport and I was going for a week trip, I would be covered...and I would be WRoNG!

Several people pointed out to me on Facebook yesterday that this is standard. However, if you are not a frequent traveler or do not travel internationally (like I haven't), it's a GUT PUNCH. Just like Cristi, I would have never have known. I would have shown up clueless at the airport just like her family did. You would never realize an unexpired passport isn't good enough.

People know to check for immunizations/visas, but would anyone realize an unexpired passport is actually not valid in the eyes of some countries?? 

Source: Flickr
From horror stories online on same issue, it's clearly not common knowledge.

Yes, my friends, a lesson learned the brutal way.  From my Facebook comments yesterday, what is common is getting turned away like Cristi or stranded. 

I heard of someone's son  traveling to the UK (no six  month rule) then getting stranded on their connecting flight to Amsterdam (different rule) for a job interview.


So what is the deal? 

According to the US Passport Help Guide:


"What is the 6 Months Validity Rule? 

The Six Months Validity Rule is imposed by foreign countries, and not by the United States. It simply means that your passport should be valid for more than six months before you would be allowed to enter a foreign destination. This rule is imposed by some of the countries we have listed below.

Countries with 6 Month Validity Rules
• Albania
• Angola
• Bahamas
• Bahrain
• Belize
• Bolivia
• Botswana
• Brazil
• Brunei
• Burma (Myanmar)
• Burundi
• China
• Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
• Ecuador (including Gal├ípagos Islands)
• French Polynesia
• Guyana
• Honduras
• Indonesia
• Iran
• Iraq
• Jamaica
• Kenya
• Kiribati
• Kenya
• Kiribati
• Laos
• Madagascar
• Malaysia
• Mauritius
• Mozambique
• Namibia
• New Caledonia
• Nicaragua (currently waived by bilateral agreement)
• Oman
• Palau
• Papua New Guinea
• Philippines
• Saudi Arabia
• Singapore
• St. Lucia
• Taiwan
• Tajikistan
• Tanzania
• Thailand
• Timor-Leste (East Timor)
• Trinidad & Tobago
• Turkmenistan
• Uganda
• Ukraine
• Venezuela
• Vietnam
• Zambia

If your passport is about to expire it is recommended that you renew your passport nine (9) month before your passport expires. This would give you enough time to apply for a U.S. passport with the passport office."

Furthermore, there are some countries that require 9 months or more left on your passport. Going to Cuba?  You better have a year left! Yes, apparently there is no point to expiration dates and it all depends on the whims of each country.  

Still?  I could see double and triple checking for places like Cuba and Iran which require visas with known political strife, but the Philippines and popular island tourist spots might throw people for a loop. Someone else mentioned on Facebook her niece was stranded in Costa Rica a few years back. Yep not on the USPHG's list.

Even more bizarre, you have to have a certain number of pages blank in your passport even if you are five years from expiration?

Ridiculous. There should be some international rules that an expiration date is an EXPIRATION date. Common sense, riight?

Now even if her husband could get his passport emergency renewed, Eva Airlines wanted FIFTEEN thousand dollars for her family's flight changes to delay the  couple of hours needed! 

 Anyone have a spare 15k just squirreled away to burn?

Source: Flickr
I would also think airlines, when they book your tickets, should have some responsibility to inform you of this requirement and require proof of unexpired passport, so no one gets stuck with 15k in change flight fees, riiight??

Nope, at least not EVA Airlines. They took to responsibility and had no flexibility for Cristi's situation. From what I learned yesterday, QANTAS airlines does check passport validity in their system when someone buys a ticket for an international flight and some most travel agents appear to as well. Luck of the draw.... 

They got Eva Airlines.

Travelers beware! You would think the airline would have informed them first and then helped them out--not rape them with last minute flight fares-- but sadly no. So he will miss his brother's wedding. Her daughter will miss being their flower girl.

HEARTBREAKING!!!

Something is really broken with travel at the international level and also at the airline level with their lack of responsibility.  I see it like this:


Source: Flickr
Imagine buying an annual Costco membership. Now imagine being told that you will be a member for a year, but belatedly informed you cannot actually use your card for entry and purchases the last 3 months? 

On top of that, those cases of toilet paper and nuts you bought online from them? 

Yeah if you renew your membership immediately, they'll sell them to you for an additional FIVE times the original price?

If not, they'll keep most of your money since you should have know your annual membership you paid could not be used the last 3 months? 


Yeah would anyone think that's okay?

PLEASE SHARE so nobody else gets throat punched at the airport by missing a family wedding, an important job interview, or gets extorted a small fortune from the airlines? Pretty please with airlines peanuts on top?


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why? Why? Why! #FAIL




#FAIL 

Of course my kids had left for school, there was none under the sink, & someone thought it was okay to leave 1/2 square. 

Arrrrrgh!  

#toiletpaperkarmawillgetyouonedayifidontgetyoufirst 

#whywhywhy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Marathons & Discounts: Rock 'N' Roll #Seattle Marathon I am Coming on Hard @RunRocknRoll #RNRSEA


So this was me smiling yesterday...before running 5 miles. 

Yeah, remember two months ago I was going to start training for a half marathon? 

Yeah...'bout that? 

Injuries, sick dogs,and basically life distracted me from my Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon and 1/2 Marathon goals. Yesterday I realized I had exactly two months to fix that load of excuses!

 Umm gulp only 2 months away?!


People, I need to start training...hard!!! I've only  done a handful of two milers in the last few months and, of course, crossfit.


I reached out to my community and got so much great advice. I read it all and then I got my kiddo involved. I decided to push past my two milers and straight to a five mile run and what happened?  I surprised myself.
  

Finished!! This was my first five mile run since I got pregnant in ROTC at Cal...18 yrs ago!!  Woot! 

Thanks to my reluctant running buddy, we made it in 48:25 which was a 9:40 pace with plenty of hills. Well,  except the last mile when he blazed off and left me in the dust. 

As a 12 yr old, It was his 1st five mile run...EVER!! 

So my pace was not great, but not embarrassing either. Ever a glutton for punishment? I went off to do 500 meter sprint rows, 3x5 135 lb. back squats and thirty 80 lb snatches. 

Today, my friends? I am feeling a bit creaky especially in the knees... Okay a lot creaky!  I can't decide whether I should run the creaks out or rest.  Time to consult my running friends again.







Want to know more? The Rock 'N' Roll Marathon series can be found nationwide and internationally.  I counted over 30 cities! Likely there's one near you. Stay tuned as I have a marathon entry giveaway coming soon!! In the meantime, ready to sign up now?  Use my discount code "SCOUTSHONOR"  valid for $10 off any half or full marathon until June 15th, 2014.  



Want to watch and take it all in for a bit? 


Follow me on Twitter @scoutshonor and on Instagram @unitedstatesofmotherhood . 
Then  on Twitter and Instagram, look for @RunRocknRoll and the hashtag  #RNRSEA .


We got this!! Join me!




Disclosure: I was provided free entry, merchandise and products as compensation for this post and future weekly posts.  I approached this company for this partnership because I had heard glowing reports of their events.  As always I only review and cover products and events I love or want to try out and review them honestly. Love it or hate it, you'll hear about it. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

ON MARRIAGE: My Husband is Fired...Again!



My husband is fired.

When your wife of almost 18 years is eating a pint of ice cream with bed head still in her PJ's at 4 PM in the afternoon and someone knocks on the door?

You say your freaking wife is asleep, indisposed, sick, not here, whatever.

You do NOT call upstairs so she frantically PULLS ON A BRA, SNAGS WHATEVER DUSCARDED CLOTHES ARE ON THE FLOOR WITH HER TOE, pulls hair back in a panic, swipes at the ice cream on the corner of her mouth and comes downstairs horrified.

Yes, there was an open door AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS between me and my closet. My daughter-- my PJs, silly teen movie & pints eating co-conspirator-- giggled as I was cornered LIKE AN ANT UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS..

Seriously Beau Raines? You. Are. Fired.

Husbands out here not wanting to be fired? Take note--this applies to your wives, sisters, and daughters too!

Ahem: As for you Beau Raines?  I will be taking applications again, but they better include back rubs, chocolate, and lots of Honey-Do lists!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ignore the Freaking Scale, Please?




This? 


This is why you should ignore the scale & listen to your body...


...and crossfit & eat paleo! Heh! 


I started my health & fitness journey in Costco-size Kirkland capris...X-large & squeezed on like a sausage. 


Then I lost 35 lbs & went down to large. 


Today my pants kept falling down during wall balls and burpees....after indulging at Disneyland for 5 days!! 


I thought I was being silly to buying medium goals pants at Costco today,but guess what? 


THEY fit. 


And according to the dang scale? I weigh 3 lbs more than when I bought the larges. Hmpffffph! 


Just shows you muscle weighs more than fat and just because the scale doesn't budge doesn't mean the inches aren't melting off.


 I'll take a smaller size over a number on the scale any day of the week! I guess  it'll be time soon to buy some small goal capris??? 


Squee!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Easter Basket Ideas for Teen Girls That Won't Break the Bank: I Gotcha!


So your kids are older and aren't impressed with kites and sidewalk chalk, but don't want to let the fun end?  Yet you don't want to stuff their basket entirely with sugar, dyes, and preservatives?

Yeah, I so get it. I got you!

As a mother of two, I have some tried and true items that won't break the bank for teen Easter baskets:



Set of two microfiber towels in Easter Egg colors for less than $6 each. Roll them up in some cute ribbon and half your basket is full.  Perfect soft, absorbent towels for the beach or for year-round swimmers.



Oh hello!  Your teens don't have a back up phone charger??  Oh man is that needed on long car trips to see grandma!   Oh the horror of teasing and bickering that occurs with dead phone when they could be instagramming and snap chatting their friends duckfaces, right? So I got my daughter one of these awesome little phone chargers for her Christmas stocking, but they are perfect and come in brights and pastels perfect for someone's basket.  A bit of a splurge at $19, believe me when I say so worth, "a full charge or 9 hours of additional talk time to your iPhone (5, 4, 4S, 3G & 3GS) and on most other phones, a full charge or 90+ hours of audio playback." They come in pink, blue, silver, or black and even have a flashlight my daughter uses.



Nail polish, people.  Always a pleaser and you can never have too much as a teen girl! I love this set with it's six pastel colors for only $8 and free shipping, it's a steal.  Perfect to wrap individually in Easter cellophane goody bags and stuff baskets with, right??


Friendship bracelets for way cheaper than you would even find at a fair or at the beach steal.  YES, six bracelets for less than a Starbuck's latte!




Eos lip balms are always a hit. Buy one or buy a set! Perfect little eggs shapes for the basket!


Finally, these princess cut sterling silver cubic zirconia beauties I also put in my daughter's Christmas stocking. Yep, no joke these one carat each sparkles are one penny right now plus $7 shipping.  Perfect for a little Easter basket bling and definitely does not break the bank. 

My advice? Buy some fun stuff, throw in a  couple Cadbury eggs or a chocolate bunny, and sit back and be the hero in a basket you can feel good about with less sugar and junk. 

I promise they won't even notice. 


Have any tips of your own?  Let me know in comments.  I'd love to hear them!!

Never Forgotten, My Love Seb




Sebbie's ashes were just delivered from the vet. I held it together until he left, but am sobbing right now. 

My poor pup. He is so missed. 

I put him next to our beloved Grendel's ashes in a place of honor in the living room. 

Never forgotten...

#heartbroken

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