United States of Motherhood: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

It's a #EATCLEANNOHOWABOUTEATICECREAM Kind of Monday #Coffee

And hashtag writing to reveal my shame seemed so appropriate....

 #Seattle #NOTpaleo #yum #coffee #coffeeporn#coffeelover #coffeeaddict #caffeine #java #espresso #pnw #coffeetime#coffeebreak #coffeeporn #coffeecup #cupofjoe #coffeelovers #coffeemug#coffeeholic #coffeegram #ICECREAM #IScreamforIceCream #EATCLEANNOHOWABOUTEATICECREAM

Friday, March 27, 2015

On Swimming Daughters, Tampons & Pads, oh MY: Staying Active Always & Separating the Men from the Boys #FitToPlay #ad


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FitToPlay #CollectiveBias





Today we are talking about women's issues.  Women's physical issues.  You know that time of the month.  Aunt Flo.  The rag. Our monthly visitor.  The one that leaves a crime scene in our pants? The Red Menace.  Yep, that's the one...coming like a perry fairy in the night leaving us with women's flu!

Still clueless?  

Those that have the red badge of courage know exactly what I mean.  The CRIMSON tide! Some might even call it shark week.

Sooooo...Anyone of the male persuasion still here?  

 Heh! Yep, I hear a certain group of teenage swimmers and friends of my teen daughter and son have been reading along on this blog.

So fair warning guys?  


It's going to get bloody in here, so stay at your own risk.  You may learn FAR more than you ever thought about Mother Nature's monthly gift.

So euphemisms aside, let's call it what it is: Our period!  Menstruation to be more exact where we bleed from our vaginas every 21-28 days.

Well, that's if you are lucky.



Not so lucky teen me!

In our family, it's a CURSE. A debilitating, life-threatening one at times. One that eventually ended in surgery for me as well as many family members.

Let me take a step back: I grew up in a family with five daughters.  FIVE.  Add the occasional foster sister and my mom, and you could have up to half-dozen synced periods in one house.  Oh the joys for my dad and one brother.

Oh the tampons we went through...Good times! 

Growing up though? I thought nine day periods and changing super tampons and overnight pads every half-hour were normal. I dealt with it as most girls do however it turned into a nightmare when I was in the Army.

Totally an introvert in the Army


In the field?  Guys take a knee and take care of business.  No need to shower. They can go literally weeks and weeks.



Not so easy for women, especially when you are out four days and there is no latrine in sight.




It was tough, but there was no time to slow down.  I hid it well under camouflage.




No biggie--camouflage hides more that just dirt....

Just suck it up and drive on!!  

 Then I had a daughter.  A lovely, lovely daughter!!





The curse came and it came hard!




As in we reluctantly put  a child of twelve on birth-control-to-manage-it hard.


Did I mention she is a swimmer?


Yep, EVERY day, seven days a week 2-3 hour practices at a time--sometimes twice in one day she is in a pool. My friends? Periods are tough on all of those swimmers, but she inherited my curse.  So having the best product out there for active, athletic girls is what we do. We want her fit to play, or ahem swim, every day. There is no time to slow down for competitive swimmers.

Sure, it's embarrassing to get out at practice to take care of business.  My heart has gone out to girls at meets, taking their mark on blocks with the worry their monthly condition might be exposed.

As a swim mom, I have seriously stood behind girls to shield them, "Just in case, Mrs. Raines." I am pretty cool like that. Heh!





I have subbed for moms on swim meets when girls start their period for the first time and taught them late into the night how to use tampons.  I have had swimmers I have never met at swim meets come to me in  a panic in tears hoping I had a tampon.





Honestly PERIODS suck for everyone, but for swimmers in tight suits, it is often a horror.


A horror they try to hide at all costs. I've heard of girls that actually take a week off a month from practice, limiting their athletic potential.




That's what is cool about these New Playtex® Sport® new combo packs of tampons/pads or tampons/liners you can scoop up at Walmart. They have you covered on the way to practice and during dryland with their new Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings and Body Shape Panty Liners, as well as varying tampon absorbencies when you are in the pool.




Seriously, she can give leakage a one, two punch! New Playtex® Sport® Combo Packs come with Tampons and either Pads or Liners, offering two kinds of Sport Level Protection™ to keep her comfortable and dry no matter what the activity. Pack your combo in your gym bag and be ready for running, crossfit, swimming, or whatever her coach has her doing that day at practice.

Speaking of coaches, honestly, ever coach my daughter has ever had has been male, but amazingly understanding and open about female physical issues. We are lucky.  That is not true for most men, I know.

However, we are hoping to achieve that for my sons.  Want to hear one of proudest mommy moments?  Let me share it from a couple years back:




Ummm I've raised an impressive young man. At 17, his little sister convinced him to buy her feminine hygiene products while I convinced him to buy chocolate chips for those cookies I mentioned below after his lifeguard's shift today.
Yes chocolate and tampons!!
He said he barely escaped being seen by some teen girls he knew from high school at the self-check stand. ‪#‎bigbrotheroftheyearaward‬


Yes, we are an open book in this family and I could not have shouted louder how proud I was that my teen son went tampon shopping for his sister.  She texted him a picture of what she wanted and he got exactly the right brand, size, and absorbency.

Yes, my son's future girlfriends, wife, and daughters will all be so thankful.  That's what a real man does--supports the women in his life. And those women?  They should not have to slow down, limit their athletic potential, or really be embarrassed.



In the meantime, pretty sure we will be texting him this to bring home next time:


Teens & Tampons oh my!!  What a great brother!

So here is the deal.  We as women all deserve to remain carefree and comfortable in our active lifestyles. My job has always been to teach my daughter that we can and should stay active despite our period.

Never let your period get in the way of your active lifestyle!

Another pro tip?  Heh! This mom may no longer have a period ((thank the gods)), but she still has ahem a little problem when doing those Crossfit workout.  Oh lordy can double under and box jumps do a number to my bladder.



 So I will be borrowing those Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings and Body Shape Panty Liners from my daughter. They're  designed with an anti-leak absorbent core that pulls fluid quickly into the pad and locks it inside. The ultra-thin pads with wings keep your pad in place and the ultra-soft, cottony cover provides comfort while you work your hardest in whichever activity you choose. Playtex pads have a sport level protection™ design to comfortably fit your active life:

  • FlexFit™ - Designed to twist and turn with your body, providing sport level protection.
  • Odor Shield™ - Technology designed to neutralize odors before they start.
  • Qwik-Dry™ - Pulls fluid quickly into the pad and wicks moisture away, keeping you dry and fresh.
  • Super Absorbent Core - Locks fluid away


So my question to you, what will you teach your daughters, nieces, and the young women in your life?  And how will you train the young men in your life to treat women's periods? 




Leave me a comment below?



NEW! Playtex® Sport® now available in Pads, Liners and Combo Packs at Walmart's Every Day LOW Prices! Now Sport Level Protection™ pads, liners and combo packs with Flexfit™ design to twist and turn with your body. Don't let your period get in the way. PlayOn!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's Spring Tomorrow: Five Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Smartphone @att #ATTSeattle



It's the first day of spring tomorrow.  Yep, we will all start buzzing around to clean our homes.  What about our phones?
Today’s connected devices serve as virtual closets, storing our emails, photos, documents and apps.

By keeping your technology tidy, you can help improve battery life and performance.

AT&T has some tips to help them ensure everything they own is cleared of clutter, including the one item that’s almost always with them: their smartphone. Check out the following spring-cleaning tips for a spic and span smartphone:




1.)    Delete unused apps: Even though you may not be actively using an application, it can still run along with other apps. This can silently drain the battery. Close or quit those unused apps, and if you no longer use the apps, delete them. Unused apps can clutter your screen and distract you from discovering what you need. Keep your screen clean and create folders to group similar apps. 

2.)    Polish your passwords: These days, our smartphones not only pose as communication devices, they also play the roles of banker, shopper and business partner. Nothing can prepare your for another successful season like password protecting your phone and resetting your profile passwords. Wipe away your chances of being hacked and clear your device of poor passwords. Mix it up and choose a combo of words, numbers and symbols. 

3.)    Be battery efficient: Just like you remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room, it’s good to remember to turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS on your smartphone when these functions are not in use. This can improve the phone’s battery life, too. 

4.)    Sync your smartphone: Not only will syncing your smartphone save you massive amounts of space, but it will also save you loads of grief if something happens to your cell. Organize your device and store what you don’t need daily in a safe place. Consider using a cloud-based storage service, such as AT&T Locker. It offers customers an easy and automated way to store, sync and share photos, videos and documents in one convenient place. This cloud-based app is free to download, and the first 5GB of storage is also free. 

5.)    Clean your screen:  We take our cellphones with us everywhere — from the gym to the dinner table — and along with them any bacteria they may have picked up. Use a wrung-out disinfectant wipe or spray a paper towel with disinfectant to sanitize your smartphone.



Jump start your clean routine this year and spruce up your smartphone before spring has sprung!




On Home Owners Associations: Yes or NO? #HOA



Cracking up. Anyone who has ever dealt with a HOA will get this.
Our HoA is on a roll with letters and $50-100 fines sent with ((gasp)) "photographic evidence" of visible garbage cans (a sliver of a can seen behind a bush) that have been there for a decade without comment, visible moss (yes this is freaking Seattle-we haz moss), and basketball hoops on the street in a family neighborhood where the average household has 3.9 kiddos.
Luckily we have been spared, but last summer I also was sent photographic evidence of "weeds," in my front yard with no actual weeds in the picture. We ignored them as they sent it three times. Finally I figured they must be confusing legit plants with weeds?
What I find creepy though is the thought of someone driving around with a camera, creeping on my home, and taking pictures.
Yes, we bought into a nice neighborhood and it's nice not to have cars parked on lawns, RV's and boats not parked on streets for weeks, and no pink houses, but come on!

Thoughts on HOAs? Love 'em or leave 'em?

On The International Food Blogger Conference and Cooking With Pot: Whoa! #IFBC




In the last few years as a blogger, I have started to really enjoy conferences and branching out with networking. One of my favorite conferences is the International Food Bloggers Conference held the last few years in my own backyard, Seattle.

It's small enough to not lose yourself, but large enough to find important contacts that fit my blog.







As conferences go, it is pretty inexpensive and it has been a huge return in investment as it connects me to local and international brands such as Sur La Table and Isernio sausage as well as with other food bloggers.




And?  It's fun.



This year, my friends?  IFBC has leveled up that fun and excitement:

Sheri WetherellIFBC Attendees &Alumni

WARNING: we know this session isn't for anyone, but we're the first blogger conference to address this controversial subject: 
POT. Yes, marijuana, and the role it is playing in the food industry.
This year, we will offer a session on Cooking With Cannabis. Washington is now one of three states that allows recreational marijuana use (Oregon’s legalization is pending), and cooking with cannabis is slowly emerging as a legitimate culinary pursuit, and a lucrative one at that.
Many in the food world are curious about cannabis’s place in cuisine beyond the stereotypical pot brownie. Join Executive Chef Jeremy Cooper as he takes you on what is sure to be an unforgettable culinary adventure (don't worry, you'll leave the session with all your faculties intact! Or not.).
‪#‎IFBC‬



Oh holy holy crap.  So glad I got my ticket the week after last year's conference. Something tells me they will be selling out soon.

Excited to be on the forefront! See you there? I'd buy ticets soon since pretty sure Sheri is a mastermind and the conference will be filling up fast!



On Marriage & Cheating With Superheroes: Avenger's Age of Ultron New Trailer


Oh my lawd,  YES!  Yes, yes, yes!  This Marvel mommy just squeed her pants. Need another peak at the latest Avenger's Age of Ultron trailer? Here you go!




When Tony Stark jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the villainous Ultron.

Can this not come any sooner? May 1st cannot soon enough!!  Hello!! Only forty-three days to go!


 Heather+Robert Downey Jr. Foreves!



WAIT, YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT MY HUSBAND? No worries at all there.


My husband totally understands my Iron Man and RDJ obsession...



Well that and he'd foresake in a flat second me for an afternoon with whatshername...





 We have an understanding when it comes to superheroes!




And he'll always be my "superhusband" even if he is confused that Captain America is better than Iron Man.  So delusional, righht?





Want to keep up with the lastest on Avengers:

Like THE AVENGERS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avengers

Follow THE AVENGERS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/avengers 

Visit the official website: http://marvel.com/avengers


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No Solicitation: No Means NO Especially When I Am In My PJ's



Ugh.

Unexpected knock at door just led me to panic in alarm over whom I forgot was coming over.

Sprinted upstairs to get out of PJs.

Yes I know it's almost noon!!

Only to come down to find Jehovah Witness crap left on my doorstep.

Grrrrr...


This coupled with the the guy with meth teeth soliciting for donation for his men's halfway house when my youngest answered the door a few days ago?

Nope!

Time to buy that "No Solicitation" sign.

I have resisted the NS sign because I don't want to scare away neighborhood kids selling wreaths and cookies, but I am so sick of religion being pushed down my throat or scary, rough-looking people being bused in to pretty much aggressively panhandle in my neighborhood.

This means you garden guys, roof replacement guys, painting guys too: Just give it a rest!!

I took this dilemma to facebook.So many suggestions!!



While another friend Gail Gedan Spencer of Go Go Gail sent this beauty:







I was thinking something along the lines of this:





Too wordy? Oh wait, I forgot to say all UPS guys bearing gifts are always welcome! Heh!

Any other suggestions on how to keep unexpected and unwanted visitors at bay?

 I am open!


Bed Head & Fancy Luxury SUVs: How Did You Embarrass Your Teen Today? @GMC #GMC #Terrain #Denali



I'm such a cliche!

Yep, this was me driving my kid to school in my PJs and cave girl hair. Heh!

But hey, at least I'm driving in style with the GMC Terrain Denali they loaned me for the week to test drive, right?

Bed head and fancy never go outta style. Off to embarrass my kid at drop off! Weeee!

So how do you embarrass your kids?

On Nutella: Proving I Once Was an Addict




Umm who knew I was part of a class action lawsuit for ‪‎Nutella‬? 

Not me. 

So think, think, think what should I do with this $7.15 from Nutella?

...

...

Buy MOHR evilly gewd Nutella you say? 

OK! You twisted my arm...heh!




Seriously though we used to be a two Costco jar of Nutella at least once a month family before going Paleo.  It's been a while.  That said, I wonder if this is some insidious marketing campaign because I really don't remember joining this lawsuit and now all I want to do is just buy Nutella with it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How Social Fabric Helped Me Get My Blogging Groove Back #SoFabUOTR #cbias




My friends? You may have noticed in the last year or two, I significantly slowed down on my blogging to concentrate on social media.  Health , family , finances, and a whole plethora of issues made me choose brevity and engagement over length posts. 

I think at one point whole months passed without checking in here.

I will admit blogging became less fun. There was less engagement here while there was more feedback and honestly more financial opportunities in social media...desperately needed financial opportunities.

Then I partnered with Social Fabric last summer when times were particularly tough asmy husband lost his job.

What is Social Fabric?


Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million. SoFab is run by Collective Bias.  You may have seen the #Cbias hashtag as you read blogs.  If so, feel good knowing  you are supporting the blogger's hard work and family behind the blogs you love through compensated posts that fit her/his viewpoint and lifestyle.

Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers.   Collective Bias was named one of America's 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.


Ahem Back to ME?

Thanks to SoFab, I had deadlines on posts pretty regularly and guess what? 

Somewhere along the way, I got my groove back. I'm excited to blog a little more regularly. 

To be honest, I used to LIVE for  comments--it was my payment and my fuel to write-- and then like everywhere, people commented less, visited blogs less,and lived on facebook and instagram more.


Comments are a blogger's equity.

I don't expect the comments I used to get and perhaps those comments will never be back. However, want to make a blogger smile?  GIVE us feedback!  Comment!  

I get that you don't comment as much because I am just as guilty.  

However, I crave the days where I would read the same 20-30 blogs religiously. The days where we would support each other, having never met in real life. I miss my blog feed reader and honestly when Google Reader died, I pretty much stopped reading and writing with the passion I once had.

You know what? Screw that! Google messed up, but I let that happen.

Honestly, I even stopped calling myself a blogger and preferred social media influencer. I am now trying to reclaim that blogger title again.

To that end,  I am reclaiming this blog to write more and care less if comments or pageviews happen. Sure it is still a business and this mama has three kiddos to put through college, but  I am writing more for myself. 

 I am back and I have Social Fabric to thank for that. 






Speaking of Social Fabric, I was pretty excited to hear Social Fabric was holding an On the Road conference to inspire and teach local bloggers on April 18th here at Seattle's Crowne Plaza Downtown in Seattle.  

SoFabU on the Road will be an unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them a part from the rest. The conference features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they're learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills. Events are open to all bloggers and influencers! 


They’ll also have networking, brands, a city-specific Adventure, and other learning opportunities. They are limited to 50 attendees so they expect this conference to sell out!

Guess what?





I bought tickets for the Seattle SoFabUOTR immediately and pushed it on all the local social media channels.  I am excited to hear more Seattle locals are coming. 

We bloggers don't get together enough period.  Seattle blogger seem particularly bad about this which is a shame.  

Let's fix that.

So if SoFab University is an option to you as a blogger or someone who is thinking about blogging?  I highly recommend you go.


Not able to make Seattle? Besides here, SoFabUOTR  will also be in the following cities:



January -- Los Angeles
Feb – Miami 
March – Phoenix 
April – Cincinnati 
April – Seattle 
May – Dallas 
June – NYC 
July – Chicago 
Aug. – Minneapolis 
Sept. – Atlanta 
Oct. – Bentonville 

Disclosure: As a SoFab Influencer who signed up for the Early Bird discount, I agreed to promote the event by writing a blog post and sharing on my social channels.  As always, I give you by unfiltered opinion. Stay tuned for an after conference review as well. I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine and mine alone.



Many thanks to the Social Fabric sponsors for off-setting conference costs:











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