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Let me start by saying I adore my mom, better known to everyone in my circle and not just my family as “Mimi.”  Mimi is by far the strongest woman I know; she is my children’s second mother, is always there when anyone needs her,  and willing to drop anything when anyone asks for help,  it’s just her nature.

Her most endearing quality is also what makes her so unique…Her bizarre and eclectic views on life and willingness to share them.  Here is some of the ridiculous shit she says, making us laugh while endearing us to her even more!

” Don’t you dare watch that in my house, it will bring evil with it.”

This by far is my favorite, first learning this valuable lesson in my childhood years. My sister and I wanted desperately to watch “The Exorcist.” Only come to find out if we did the evil spirits would come to invade our house thru the television.

“If you stick your arm out of the car a truck will come by and rip it off.”

This truly terrifying gem goes back two generations. Recently when my cousin came to visit we both discovered our mothers told us this scary “factoid” during our childhood.  When all of us were laughing hysterically, my mother simply said, “what?… My mom taught me that.”  Let me explain something that makes this even more ludicrous, My grandmother and mother both worked in the healthcare field for years, was this a common occurrence? I doubt it.

“Toothpicks are dangerous if you fall you will impale yourself”

I could see how toothpicks could possibly be dangerous if a toddler was playing with them, but we were just “educated” about the danger of toothpicks the other day when my 14-year-old daughter was chewing on one. Again, this goes back to her nursing years.  Was she witness to many toothpick injuries at the hospital?

“Don’t go outside at night, there are feral packs of dogs roaming the neighborhood.” 

Let me preface this one by saying, yes there are probably parts of the country that deal with feral dogs, but my mom lives in suburbia.  When we asked her about the vicious feral dogs she simply said, “I heard them.”   Could this merely be the neighbor’s dogs barking?  We’ll never know.

“I am Indian (native American) because I believe in what they do.”

My daughter came in the house after her Mimi gave her and some friends a ride and told us about my mother’s newly discovered ancestry.  One of my mother’s hobbies is genealogy, and I’m 100 percent sure she has never found Indian blood in our family tree.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that’s not how genetics works.  I prefer top-shelf liquor, does that make me a Rockefeller?  Probably not.

Do we turn into our mothers? I hope so because wherever Mimi goes she puts a smile on peoples’ faces.  Will I eventually tout all of this nonsense?  I’m crossing my fingers because I want to be as eccentric and unique as she is.  She makes no apologies and owns her shit.  I can only hope to emulate her one day.  It may be sooner than later,  I recently caught myself shrieking in horror “no that’s bad juju” when they found an Ouija board and wanted to play with it,  Can you imagine the evil that may have befallen them? 😉

The Ridiculous Sh_t My Mom Says!

 

 

 

How to Survive a Custody Battle

Most likely when you enter into a custody battle you have one thing on your mind…winning,  as did I when I went thru my divorce.  But winning isn’t everything. A custody battle is one of the most stressful live events you can endure, similar to that of a death of a loved one.  At times during my custody battle I wasn’t sure I could survive the stress. I eventually agreed to joint custody of my children because of the stress it was putting on my kids.  I made some mistakes along the way and I often see other parents unknowingly doing the same.

Understand while you read this I am in no way advocating one way or another joint or primary custody.  Especially in cases with abuse or extenuating circumstances. You do what is right for you and your situation.  Most importantly do what is right for your children who will live with this arrangement and the fallout from this divorce/battle for years.  If done sensibly and with the best interests of the children you can survive a custody battle with your spirit and your kids intact and successfully co-parent. I am here to give you a few tips to get you thru a custody battle as peacefully as possible.Surviving a Custody Battle~Tips to get you thru a Custody Battle

  •  Be humble- Realize your child’s love towards the other parent is priority over your disdain for that person. Don’t ever disparage the other parent in front of the children.  It will only distance the child from you in the long run.  In some states legally this is called Parental Alienation and can be used in obtaining custody.  It also will cause irrevocable psychological damage to the child. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  • Do not engage- If a soon to be ex-spouse is in the “redzone” (fighting, intolerable, engaging is unhealthy behavior) document it and hand it over to the attorney.  Do not participate in this behavior it only incites it.
  • Be your best self- Rally for your children.  This is when they need you the most.  You are feeling beat up right now and emotionally low so if that means taking more time for yourself or practicing self-care to be a better parent, do it. Do whatever it takes to give your kids the extra support.
  • Step Away from Social Media- I recently had to  watch couple friends of mine go thru a custody battle in which they both posted daily tirades about each others lack of parenting skills with colorful vocabulary.  The entire time wondering if they we’re not aware that once it’s out there IT’S OUT THERE FOREVER.  Their 9 year old will eventually  see all of that slander.  Don’t do it, just don’t. This behavior will backfire and you will regret it.
  • Ignore Outside Influence- You will receive good advice and bad advice.  You will have bitter friends that have an ax to grind for some reason and will try to influence you, step away from toxicity.  You want people around you that encourage you to be strong, be your best self and be happy. Also realize you will lose some friends.  Some friends go with you, some with the other spouse.  It’s just the way it is, whomever is supposed to be in your life is in your life.
  • Keep clear communication- During the separation it is always wise to document everything especially If you and your ex-spouse are in the “redzone” meaning you cannot communicate without fighting.  Find another way to communicate.  Whether that be texting, email or thru your attorney.  But keep it clear, concise and free of emotion. Always keep the kids aware of where they are going to be ahead of time, kids need consistency.  I created a calendar for myself, grandparents, ex and kids.  Every month I sent one out for everyone that was involved.  The calendar helped immensely and kept confusion and stress to a minimum.
  • Do not play the “Tin Can Phone Game”- Never use the children to communicate with the other partner.  It stresses out the kids, burdens them and exposes them to things they just don’t need to be a part of, especially finances.
  • Be effective productive loving Co-parents- Your children are learning by example. Do not undermine each other “just because.”  If a child is in distress or acting out present a united front, don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing.   Realize the child’s best interest in the situation.  This is especially important at school functions, activities etc.  It always saddened me when my ex and I were in the redzone and our families would sit apart at their programs.  I would see their little faces bob from family to family, and after the programs the kids would have to “work the room” it seemed like. While saying all of their goodbyes.

Of course no two custody battles are the same.  These are  tips to help with avoiding as much conflict as possible. I went thru a horribly messy divorce and custody battle. While made good decisions and bad, I learned some things along the way.  I hope these few things help other people going thru the same battle.

 

 

How To Support the Blogger in Your Life

The number of bloggers in the United States is set to reach 31.7 million users in 2020 so most likely you know a blogger.  It is also likely you have no idea why they chose to blog and how to support them.

Most people get into blogging because they feel they have something to tell the world or teach people.  Blogging may also be a form of catharsis for some, as was the case with me.  Unfortunately,  most bloggers jump into blogging not knowing how much work goes into the daily operations of running a successful blog more than actual writing,  their initial passion.

Besides creating great content, bloggers are responsible for inputting HTML code, marketing, branding, social media, creating graphics, the list goes on and on.  This is why we need support.  Often we’ve found ourselves “down the rabbit hole” of blogging either while writing, inputting HTML code, banging our head’s against walls at analytics, or pitching to brands.  Those are the moving parts of blogging that most family and friends don’t understand.  The necessary but mundane and tedious parts of blogging.

Understanding Blogging

Blogging is a business not a hobby.  Blogs must have a business license and a tax I.d number…mind blown?  It costs money to keep these babies up and running.  If you’re not a computer genius, odds are you hired someone to get it up and running and looking half decent.  You pay a domain/hosting fees.  There are fee’s for basically everything, subscriptions, graphics and especially training.  We did not learn HTML coding or wordpress overnight, Ok maybe some bloggers are tiny geniuses but I am not, and paid for the majority of my knowledge.  Long story short, by supporting our site you are supporting small businesses!

Blogging can be brutal, we get rejected on a daily basis.  We get rejected by brands we have pitched to.  It is a cruel world out there and we are told we are talentless by mean people who have nothing nice to say.   We try not to take it personally but our blogs are our babies.  We put our blood, sweat and tears into our writing and our graphics.

Blogging is lonely.  We often go down the “rabbit hole” and forego social events for our blog success.  Sometimes sitting at our computers for hours on end, until our eyes blur or a family member forces us to get up and do something remotely human and social.  Often we feel like no one “gets” how isolating blogging can be so we just stop talking about it and isolate ourselves.

Page Views-  Blog Views, Engagement and Analytics are the lifeblood of blogger’s posts.  For every brand, affiliate or publication we apply to we have to share our analytics- our follower amounts on all of our social media platforms as well as access to our google analytics.  Sounds intrusive right?…We’ll if we want to make money, people actually have to read our content.  Many agencies, brands, and affiliates won’t even touch a blogger without say 10,000 blog views a month and that’s a low number!  Some ask for upwards of 75,000.  Some days, that seems unsurmountable, hence our sometimes solemn moods.

5 Ways to Support the Blogger in your Life

  1. Subscribe to our blog, share our posts, like our pages and engage.  Again, you are supporting small businesses and It only takes one second of your day.  This truly means the world to us.  It is devastating to us when when we look at your facebook followers only to find out some of our best friends and family aren’t following our pages.  We try not to take it personally but it still stings.
  2. Just be there for us!  As much as we complain sometimes or as tired as we are from inputting HTML or any of the tedious things we have to do on the marketing side of blogging please understand that we love to create content.  We love writing, we love sharing our lives with everyone.  Every blogger out there is blogging to try to help someone.  Whether that is the beauty blogger who is going to help you find the latest “to die for palette,” the gardening blogger who wants to help you grow veggies, or the abuse survivor who will give you the courage to get out because if she could do it you can too.
  3. Support small business and shop thru our affiliate links.  It doesn’t cost you any more than you would normally would and we get a teensy and I mean TEENSY usually 3-5% cut and helps us to offset all of the operational costs.  Just follow the links, it’s that simple.
  4. Be patient when we want to take pictures of everything, sometimes we are struggling with creating enough content. DON’T ASK JUST SAY CHEESE!
  5. Please keep engaging us.   Don’t stop inviting us to do things,  even when we say no.  We are simply a small business owner wanting our business to succeed.  No different than a brick and mortar with 9-5 hours.

5 Ways to Support the Blogger in Your Life

I hope this article finds it way to the families and friends of other blogger friends that are struggling! xoxo …mvpmom

 

 

Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Before we address that question let me explain to you a little bit about my sordid relationship history with food.  It closely rivals the relationship between Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction (minus the boiling bunnies.)

If you’ve been reading my blog lately you know I’ve been trying to lose weight.  I have been thin, overweight and everything in between, never having a healthy relationship with food.  Starting with attending weekly weigh in’s at weight watchers at thirteen.  Then binge eating shortly thereafter. One time, even going so far as to locking my sister out of the house so I could binge on Wonder Bread. Funny thing, I still remember the way it tasted over 30 years ago.  What wasn’t so funny, was having to take her to the ER for stitches after she put her hand thru the french doors trying to get into the house and my father’s rage at why I wouldn’t tell him the reason for locking her out.

Fast Forward to adulthood; After delivering my first child I discovered phen-phen, G-d I loved that stuff (Yes I said it) but the FDA took it away.  Said I might die so, fine.  Then I rebounded and gained weight, and had more babies and the roller coaster of lose & gain began.

Recently my brother in law lost tons of weight with the Intermittent Fasting method.  I had been seeing tidbits about this method in my FB feed and in magazines so I was somewhat familiar with the term but I needed some more information so I immediately began my research.

Intermittent Fasting- What is it?

Intermittent fasting first showed up on the health scene in 2012 when the BBC aired the documentary Horizon documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer. and has steadily picked up momentum ever since.

Intermittent Fasting is basically time-restricted eating or an eating window.  There are many different types of fasting.  The most common being the 16:8 Fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8.  This can be personalized.  I, for example, do a six-hour eating window from Noon to 7.  This works best for me, it is suggested that your last meal be two hours before your bedtime.

Other methods are 24-hour fasting methods where you do whole 24 hour fasting periods two or three days a week.  One interesting type of Intermittent Fasting is the “Warrior Method” that is where you fast for 20 hours and eat what prehistoric man would have eaten for four hours.

Intermittent fasting goes on the belief or science of ketosis.  Basically in lay men’s terms if you don’t have food to burn for fuel you use your own fat stores for fuel, simple logic, right? In addition to that, they suggest basic eating do’s and don’ts below.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

What to Eat While Fasting

Just because your fasting doesn’t mean you can lose your mind when your window opens.  It is suggested you eat rather clean and low carb.  A low carb & high lean protein is recommended for best results.  While in fasting no eating hours you can, however, drink green tea/coffee with non-sugar sweeteners.  I found myself filling up with a lot of green tea.

Benefits of Fasting

Research has shown that Fasting has been known to have many benefits such as; Intermittent fasting decreases insulin in the blood, decreases cholesterol, and has been shown to reduce inflammation. I myself found that once I got over the initial slump my energy levels have increased and my belly bloat has disappeared.

My Experience with Intermittent Fasting

When I first started Intermittent fasting I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I enlisted the help of my older children. You need all the support you can get when you’re dieting , plus no harm no foul if two fewer people to cook breakfast for 😉  I weighed in on day one at 142.  I vowed to exercise the majority of the week and I stuck to it.  I alternated between walking/running on the treadmill and doing fitness videos.  

Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

On the Intermittent Fasting Plan, you are encouraged to work out during fasting periods so your energy is taken from your fat stores.  Those first few days that was a doozy.  After day 3 of fasting, is when I think I got over the hump.  About hour 15 of fasting, I happened to be writing and looked at the time and realized I wasn’t hangry! I figured  I must be fueling off my own fat, unpleasant but reassuring thought that this diet was actually working.

Did Intermittent Fasting Work for Me?

YES! I had a couple of missteps because I’m human and married and eat my feelings. But from one Saturday to the next I lost 4 pounds! My daughter has lost 5, and my son is slimming down as well.  I am also cooking less breakfast 😉  The best part for me has been my tummy.  I’m sure everyone notices this too, but when you skip a meal your stomach immediately sorts of “deflates.”  I love that feeling, a  sort of immediate satisfaction.  That immediate satisfactions gives you that motivation you need to keep on going.

Here’s a quick summation or “Cliff Notes” for you!

 

 

 

Signs Your Child is Vaping

Before I get into my story let me give you some statistics according to the American Academy of Pediatrics or aad …

Quick Facts about ENDS

  • ENDS are the most commonly-used tobacco products among youth. In 2016, 11% of high schoolers and 4% of middle schoolers reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.1
  • Youth who use ENDS products are more likely to use cigarettes or other tobacco products.​2,6
  • ENDS contain a liquid solution that is usually flavored. Flavors, which are appealing to children, can include fruit flavors, candy, coffee, piña colada, peppermint, bubble gum, or chocolate. You can read more about the ways the Tobacco Industry uses flavors to lure kids into using tobacco products in “The Flavor Trap​,” a report issued by AAP and four partner organizations.
  • ENDS solution has chemicals (ie, anti-freeze, diethylene glycol, and carcinogens like nitrosamines).3​​
  • ENDS devices mimic conventional cigarette use and help re-normalize smoking behaviors.
  • ENDS are not approved for smoking cessation, and the long-term health effects to users and bystanders are st​ill unknown. The chemical compounds in an ENDS device can vary between brands.3
  • E-liquid from ENDS devices and refill packs can contaminate skin, leading to nicotine poisoning. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include vomiting, sweating, dizziness, increased heart rate, lethargy, seizures, and difficulty breathing.3
  • In 2014, poison centers in the US reported 3,783 exposures to e-cigarette devices and nicotine liquid, compared to only 1,543 exposures in 2013. In 2015, 3,073 exposures were reported.4
  • Some states have enacted legislation to require child-resistant packaging for ENDS devices and liquids, and a bill to do this at the national level was signed into law by President Obama in early 2016.
  • ENDS users should always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children and follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.5
  • In 2016, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD MBA released a report, “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General.” The report concluded that youth should not use e-cigarettes due to the health effects on users and on others exposed to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol.6​
“Not My Child”

Now that you know the alarming statistics,  I’ll tell you my satirical story.  I was sitting at my daughter’s school ” Coffee with the Principal” and the discussion was Vaping.  The conversation centered on the prevalence of Juul on campus’ district-wide and what an epidemic vaping has become. I was in and out of the conversation because, the “other” students vape, not my child.  Not my band nerd, not my straight A student.  Yes, I was that ignorant and naive and I could not have been more wrong.

One day we were having a conversation and my daughter had the most violent mood swing I have ever seen.  Of course, I did the standard “Go to your room.” And proceeded to follow her up to strip her of her social media.  Upon doing this I unfortunately discovered social media posts of her vaping. After I calmed down for fear of what I would say to her without restraint,   I went to confront her.  Upon confiscating all of her Juul paraphernalia, I realized that if this was right in front of me, I would not have known what it was!  It looked just like a thumb drive.  How remarkably evil and clever  for Juul marketers? Shifty little buggars,  those manufacturers!

Signs Your Child is Vaping

A sore Throat

During this time my daughter had been coming to me repeatedly complaining of a sore throat.  I dismissed this as allergies as it was every season, medicated her and sent her on her merry way. Yes,  hindsight is 20/20, I know now looking back.  This was just one of the puzzle pieces that fit together. A sore throat is a number one sign of vaping.

Insomnia & Mood Swings

The second sign my daughter was exhibiting was insomnia and mood swings.  And not normal teenage, wanting to stay up all night insomnia.  This was the inability to sleep.  I would hear her in her room at night go in there demand she gets some sleep to no avail.  After infiltrating her tech and social media, I found all sorts of posts at insane hours of the night, which of course was also responsible for the moods also.

Loss of Appetite

The third sign of vaping that again was right in front of me was her complete loss of appetite Now my “spidey” senses were on high alert, I looked into her school account. Her lunch account had not been touched in weeks! For weeks she had not eaten lunch, and this child barely eats but a mini bagel for breakfast.  So that’s 9 hours a day no food! She was literally running on empty.

Smell

The smell or lack of smell.  I would do her laundry and go in her room and there would be a bizarre smell of fruit.  I attributed it to her Bath and Body works products that all teen girls are obsessed with and layer on that make them smell like a fruit salad. NOPE, Juul comes in cherry, bubble gum, and many other flavors.  Similar to what kids especially girls already smell like easily duping parents.

If you suspect your child of vaping, go thru their stuff, infiltrate their social media.  Don’t wait like I did. The signs were right in front of me and I just didn’t see them, maybe I didn’t want to,  who knows.  I also didn’t tell many of my mom friends because there is a bizarre shame of parents that go along with telling others your child has made a bad decision.  The parental judging needs to stop.   We have all made bad choices and we do the best we can as parents.  Supporting each other and not being so quick to mark someone with the “Scarlett letter, P”  for bad parenting is vital,  we’re all in this together.

Signs Your Child is Vaping

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