Better than Swag; The Impact of Blogher ’09 In Real Life Part 1 It’s All About Me

The theme of Blogher ’09 was  “In Real Life”.  When I first stumbled upon it in December and spontaneously decided to use the early Christmas money I had received to buy my ticket, I thought “In Real Life” made perfect sense.  Although my “real life” was not very aware of my blogging friends and family, my blogging community had made a huge impact on MY REAL LIFE over the last year or so.  Having now had a couple of days to reflect and review my notes, it is clear that this is a strong feeling among the 1500 Blogher attendees.

But for now, it’s all about me.

I had been feeling bad for a few years when I stumbled upon blogging.  Having been accessing the blogosphere since 2003 when I adopted my two children, I researched every lump, bump, rash, sob, and thought that my kids had and shared.  Most of the time I knew there was nothing to be concerned about, but I found reassurance anonymously reading stories of moms just like me who were experiencing the same things I was without having to confess to friends and fam in my REAL LIFE that I was paranoid and worried and lonely.

Bonding in the Blogosphere

Sometime between 2003 and 2007 things got wonky.  By the end of 2006 I was in full on depression, but didn’t know it.  Everybody has their “stuff” and mine is not really important to the story except to say that one day in February 2008 I woke up enough to look around and realize that things were not right. I knew I was lethargic, lacking my usual vibrance, and my pants were getting tight!, but I didn’t really REALIZE what was happening. Something made me look online for SOMETHING to do. A change to make.  I took surveys, I participated in panels, and socialized for points.  Then I met up with a fantastic woman named Summer who hired me to do some freelance writing.  We became fast friends.  It wasn’t long before I met another bad ass woman writer named Robin.  We were many states apart, shared interesting common thoughts, and kept each other  motivated, shared family life, set goals together and worked on projects together.  Last in my blogosphere BFF trio was Cindy, a hard working, beat the odds tough chick who reminded me through example to always get back up.    The three of us have run around online together together ever since.  Even though I have never met any of them, they are as real to me as anyone I know “in real life”.

You see in my “real life” I don’t know one single blogger or freelance writer.  In my lifetime of wanting to be a writer I finally found a group who UNDERSTOOD a passion that no one else did.  They knew the longing in my heart to put my words out there and we all worked and wished and dreamed and grew together.  Although our projects have taken us in different directions, we still support and take interest in one another’s work AND life.

Since that time, along with the encouragement of my online family, I went to the doctor, pursued therapy and learned of my clinical depression.  Like many in my community, writing is therapeutic for me so I found healing in my posts. (and comments and crazy emails — thanks to you few who have endured them!)  I was able to keep the darkness there for the most part and tried to keep the “crazy” on the down low in my “real life”.  At Blogher ’09 I learned I wasn’t alone.

Recluse Today, Solo in the Big City Tomorrow

Unfortunately, none of my Internet BFFs were able to make it to Blogher this year.  I was on my own and nervous, but knew it would be okay because in addition to my Internet BFFs, I had been welcomed into and supported by the blogging community in general.  And as a bonus, thanks to the power of TWITTER I found “Aranarose“of Lemonade Mama who lives less than ten minutes from me and in a last minute collision of events she and I made the trek from Flint to Chicago together where we roomed with a blogger/Twitter friend of hers whom neither of us had yet met “in real life”. Thanks again MEL!

As exciting as it was for me to see technology and community in action as my conference plans come together, I kept it on the down low in my “real life”. A common conversation at Blogher was the dreaded funny looks and confusion we often meet when we try and bring our two worlds together.  Remember the George Costanza theory of the dangers of allowing one of his worlds to infiltrate the other?  I think we all carry a bit of that fear around! Ha!  So I kept it mainly to myself as I rode the rollercoaster of one day thinking I am going to conference and the next day not.

For the entire month before conference I debated the practical against the possibilities. Two days before leaving “practical” had won out. I am a wife and a mom with responsibilities and obligations.  There was no time for dreaming and exploring possibilities.  One day before conference I received the email equivalent of a smack in the face.  The details are private but the meaning was clear, “Snap out of it! Quit being a chicken shit! Education is good! (and even) You deserve a mamatini.”

Having been spared my  30 day internal struggle, my husband was free to sweat the important stuff.  “You’re going to be in an entirely different state than us?” “You. Are driving. To Chicago?” “You have never met one single person involved?” “You are picking up a stranger, and driving 5 hours alone with her headed to you’re not sure where and staying in you’re not sure what room?” “Why are you packing your feather boas?” And lastly, upon my tearful departure, “If you come up missing Nancy Grace is coming after me so would you mind leaving a note  with the conference info and any other pertinent info for when she gets here?”

So that’s how it came to be that I,  recluse in recovery, pulled out of the driveway alone, armed with nothing but a feather boa and a smart phone, headed for the most social event I ever feared attending.  What happened? Was it worth it? What did I learn? Was the community as fabulous as I imagined?  Do you think I shook my bootie at the bowling alley or cried alone in my room draining the mini bar? Watch for part 2 to find out!

Something’s Gotta Give, But it Shouldn’t Be Sleep

Although I do not have trouble necessarily getting my kids to bed at night, I do not feel they get the right amount of sleep.  For the most part they go to bed whenever I say, but as they progress in school, homework causes our bedtimes to be later and inconsistent.

While researching appropriate sleep patterns for each age, I ran across this at webmd

In his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth, MD, sums up what you may find in children who routinely do not get the sleep they need, with a bit of a Catch 22: “School achievement difficulties were found more often among poor sleepers compared to good sleepers…. Young children who have difficulty sleeping become older children with more academic problems. But children who are academically successful risk not getting the sleep they need!”

Bingo!  That is what I have been trying to sort out in my own limited capacity but could not spit it out so plainly.

We are supposed to engage our kids in after school activities.  We are supposed to make sure they get all their homework done.  We are also supposed to have dinner together and quality family time every day.  With only so many hours available between getting home from school and getting to sleep at an appropriate time, something’s got to give.  And it’s usually sleep.

Since I cannot add hours to my kids days, I am now trying to think of ways to help them fall asleep quicker and get the best quality sleep.  Sleep therapy music?  Sleep number bed?  Shot of Grey Goose?  I’m trying to really think out of the box, here.

Any suggestions?

Everything Family Issue 4

Welcome to the August 5, 2008 edition of everything family. This is my first time being in charge of the carnival and I am blown away by all the good stuff we’ve received.  Thanks everyone for your submissions!  I’ll be over to check out your blogs soon!

Enjoy!

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Quick Story & Other Verse (Limerick & Haiku Prompt) posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Tony Chen presents How Tiger Woods inspires my parenting posted at Savvy Daddy.

Phylameana presents Necessities for the New Grandmother posted at Spiral Visions, saying, “When I became a first time grandmother my sister welcomed me into grand-parenthood with a box filled with goodies to help the adjustment into this very important life role.”

Michael Snyder presents The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone – How In The World Did The Ten Commandments Get To America Before Columbus Did? posted at Shattered Paradigm.

David Cassell presents College Credit Transfer posted at selectcoursesblog.com.

Sheila Danzig presents What Makes Online Nursing Degrees So Popular? posted at The Degree Blog.

Jennifer Johnson presents Pregnancy-The State of Mind posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Pregnancy”

Jennifer Johnson presents Saving Money at Home posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “diapers, saving money, coupons, generics”

Busy Bee Kim presents Give Your Summer a Theme! posted at Busy Bee Lifestyle.

Pearl Widsom presents Meet the HippieBaby posted at Pearls of Wisdom.

Shaheen Lakhan presents How Do We Feed Our Children? posted at Brain Blogger, saying, “How in the world do we find out what to feed our children? What’s the most important factor? Is there a most important factor?”

Modern Parent presents Summer Fun – Everyone into the Pool! posted at The Modern Parent: baby product reviews, parenting advice, and tips, saying, “This is post about my sons first trip in a swimming pool! Also includes a few items we like to take along for fun in the sun.”

James Chambers presents Does Being Overweight Cause Increased Sweating? posted at Hyperhidrosis.

Concerning Kids presents How to Handle a School Yard Bully posted at Concerning Kids.

James Brausch presents Five Lifestyles That Do Lead To Weight Loss posted at Weight Loss Dude.

David Cassell presents Feel The Pain posted at selectcoursesblog.com.

Dads

GP presents Lessons Dad Still Teaches Me posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “Lessons dad still teaches me”

Homework. Dinner. Life. presents Wow, Dude, You Can Cook on the Grill? I. Am. Not. Impressed. – recent posts – Homework. Dinner. Life. posted at Angela Norton Tyler.

John Frank presents The Diaper Change that Never Ends posted at Harrowed Parent, saying, “Love requires sacrifice every now and then.”

Jeremy Neal presents What Dads Really Think About Quality Time posted at Discovering Dad.

Jeff Tincher presents Why My Kids Want Mommy So Much? posted at Daddys Toolbox.

Family

Jeff Tincher presents How I Spent My Father’s Day posted at Daddys Toolbox, saying, “Just wanted to share my Father’s Day events with everyone. Please visit my Dad blog when you have a chance.”

Everything Finance presents Simple Foreclosure Solutions posted at Everything Finance.

Mike Remer presents A Great Weight Reducing Secret | My Path To Fitness Blog posted at My Path To Fitness Blog.

James Chambers presents Hyperhidrosis Causes posted at Hyperhidrosis.

Mathilde Rufenacht presents Fruit pie, whipped cream, and why the calories are not always where you think posted at Shop’NCook blog, saying, “This is what happened when my husband, well intentioned, sprayed whipped cream on our cake at a parents’ barbecue party…”

Mother Hen presents Pay to Shop? posted at Mother Hen.

Michael Ritchason presents The view from up here: The cable guy posted at The view from up here.

Andrew Heath presents Privilege to Be with a Loved One at the Time of Death posted at Andy, saying, “My dad was one of my greatest heroes. This is my tribute to his legacy.”

sarah presents Directory of NYC museum free/pay-what-you-wish days posted at SARAHSPY.

Jeff Sullivan presents Cheap and Free Things To Do In Branson posted at Branson Travel Attractions.

Jennifer Johnson presents Stay At Home Moms posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Tips for Stay at Home Moms and Working Dads”

Jenny presents Kids Say The Darndest Things posted at the so called me.

Barbara Schreiber presents The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage by Dr. Allan Carlson | Britannica Blog posted at Britannica Blog, saying, “Intriguing discussion of same-sex marriages with a follow-up discussion: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/06/same-sex-marriage-in-california-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/”

:: Suzanne :: presents overheard posted at :: adventures in daily living ::.

GP presents The Innside Scoop is Out posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “The innside scoop on traveling”

Brent Diggs presents Little Known Ways to Get Your Spouse to Attend Your Anniversary* posted at The Ominous Comma.

Moms

Carole Fogarty presents 10 Rocking Rejuvenation Tips To Grab On The Run For June: posted at THE HEALTHY LIVING LOUNGE.

Jennifer Johnson presents SEX, MARRIAGE, AND KIDS posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Tips to Recover the Romance”

Other

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – If Your Wallet Is Stolen posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Tip Diva unfortunately had her wallet stolen yesterday. Luckily, her ATM card and driver’s license were not in the wallet, but the perp decided to buy $200 worth of train tickets using her credit cards. Here’s what to do in case your wallet is stolen”

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Throwing A Surprise Party posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Parties are always fun – especially if it’s a surprise for the guest of honor! Surprise parties, however, can be tricky to pull off, unless you do a little planning first”

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Finding A High School Summer Job posted at Tip Diva, saying, “If you have nothing to do during your summer break, you may want to earn some extra cash by getting a job. There are a lot of opportunities out there for high school students, if you know where to look”

Matt M presents Less Product for Same Price posted at Can’t Afford Life.

Matt M presents Dog’s In The Kitchen posted at The Pet Haven, saying, “Dogs are always part of my family, even when we cook.”

Jason Rusch presents More Useful Boxer Dog Training Tips posted at boxerdogessentials.com.

Larry Russell presents Living Expense Tracking Methods posted at Pasadena Financial Planner.

Parenting

David B. Bohl presents The Difference Between a Dad and a Father posted at Slow Down Fast Today!, saying, “A dad is someone who not only physically helped to create the life of a child, but also supports that child with the basic necessities (food, clothing and shelter) and provides guidance and advice to see his child through life.”

Jeremy Neal presents Top 10 Discoveries About Being a Good Dad posted at Discovering Dad.

David presents Bad Credit Loans Tailored For Single Parents posted at Pirate Bricks, saying, “Single parents are more likely to need finance than married couples who count on two incomes.”

Jane @ Kidzarama presents How to Remove a Tooth… posted at Kidzarama, saying, “Or, “My Grandma Has a Mean Right Uppercut”.”

Julie Heath – More4kids Inc. presents Top 10 Tips for Parenting a Contrary Kid posted at More4kids.

Jennifer Johnson presents Potty Time posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Potty training”

Holly Ord presents Is the Media Promoting Teen Pregnancy? posted at Menstrual Poetry.

Heather Johnson presents Guests: Dealing With the IRS and Parents Send Mixed Messages to Children posted at The Kaitlyn Mae Book Blog.

Jenny presents Get Road Ready This Summer posted at The Inner Shopper.

Jennifer Johnson presents Medicine Bag posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Suggestions for your diaper bag.”

Jennifer Johnson presents Toddler ABC?s and 123?s posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Teaching Your Toddler”

Jennifer Johnson presents Spending Time – Making Memories posted at MommyABCs.com, saying, “Spending Time With Your Kids”

Terry Candee presents The Relaxing ? Tween Years posted at Bonding Moms & Daughters To Navigate Our Crazy World ……….Oh Yeah AND Crafts!!!, saying, “Thought you could relax now that junior can fix his own snacks? Fat chance, it’s time to coach, drive the taxi and host sleepovers!”

P.L. Frederick presents Baby Bottom Business posted at Small and Big, saying, “I see a lady changing diapers…

(Thanks for your consideration!)”

Write From Karen presents Parenting: Do You Like Your Childrens Friends? posted at Write From Karen, saying, “How well do you like your childrens’ friends? Are they a positive influence? Visit to learn how my teenage boys have dealt with their changing friendships this past year – and how I’m using these changes as an excuse to try and teach them a thing or two about growing up.”

Kevin Heath presents Top 10 Tips for Raising Your Childs Self Esteem posted at More4kids.

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Keeping Bored Children Amused posted at Tip Diva, saying, “School’s out for the summer, which, for many parents and caretakers, usually means more wails of, “I’m booooored!” from children who just don’t know what to do with their classroomless-days. Here are some suggestions”

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Keeping Kids Safe Online posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Recent news such as the Megan Meier cyber bullying case, a Washington kidnapping and numerous child porn arrests have highlighted the need for increased Internet safety for children. But the best protection starts at home, with parents or guardians. Here are ways to keep your child safe online”

Chris Christensen presents Traveling with Small Children – Amateur Traveler Episode 142 posted at The Amateur Traveler Podcast – travel for the love of it, saying, “The Amateur Traveler talks to Debbie from http://DeliciousBaby.com about traveling (internationally) with small kids: why not just stay home, how to cope with the airport and long flights, and destinations that are great for kids.”

Metaliphe presents Division of Labor Issues posted at Chandra Unplugged – No nonsense, Straight-up blogging from a Life Coach, saying, “How’s the division of labor in your house?”

Jennifer Johnson presents WHOSE DOG IS THIS, ANYWAY?! posted at MommyABCs.com.

Jennifer Johnson presents WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU??? posted at MommyABCs.com.

Jennifer Johnson presents The Dreaded??I?m Bored!? posted at MommyABCs.com.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of everything family using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Everything Family Issue 3

Welcome to the July 1, 2008 edition of Everything Family.  More excellent submissions this time around, and we’re all ready set for a great edition for August, keep ’em comin’!

Sagar presents 100 Ways to Scale Down Your Life posted at EcoTrekker.

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Saving Money On Clothes posted at Tip Diva, saying, “With the economy in tough times, more people are watching their spending. Clothing is a necessary purchase, so here are some easy ways to save”

Jane @ Kidzarama presents The Importance of Small Things posted at Kidzarama.

Tiffany Washko presents Helping Kids See Past Commercialism posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

Technology Editor presents Lowering Prescription Drug Costs posted at Physician Entrepreneur.

David Cassell presents College Budgeting posted at selectcoursesblog.com.

Sheila Danzig presents Financing your Distance Education Online posted at Degree Talk Blog.

Steven Chang presents Bed Wetting Solutions posted at Gagazine.

Mike Remer presents Wish Exercise wasn’t so Hard? | My Path To Fitness Blog posted at My Path To Fitness Blog.

David Dave presents How to Become an Alpha Male- Attractive Personalities posted at Become The Alpha Male Now.

James Brausch presents The Problem With Exercise posted at Weight Loss Dude.

David Cassell presents Keeping Your Study Skills Razor Sharp posted at selectcoursesblog.com.

Sheila Danzig presents Distance Learning Online: Educational Degree Programs that Benefit You posted at Degree Talk Blog.

Children

Kailani presents We Interrupt This Wedding . . . posted at An Island Life.

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Saving Money On Children’s Birthday Parties posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Children’s birthday parties can cost a pretty penny after you factor in food, decorations, goody bags and more. However, there are ways you can save money, yet still have a lot of fun”

Raymond presents Student Credit Card Rewards posted at Money Blue Book.

Stefanie S. presents Creating a Non-toxic Nursery For Your Baby posted at Focus Organic.com.

Metaliphe presents Out of Control Children posted at Chandra Unplugged – No nonsense, Straight-up blogging from a Life Coach, saying, “Is your child out of control? If so, it is important to understand how out of control children are often the result of parents without boundaries.”

Vera Lang presents Good Dogs for Children | Fine Pet Care .com posted at Fine Pet Care .com.

Alvaro Fernandez presents Cognitive and Emotional Development Through Play posted at SharpBrains, saying, “We sometimes neglect to mention a very basic yet powerful method of cognitive and emotional development, for children and adults alike: Play. Dr. David Elkind, author of The Power of Play: Learning That Comes Naturally, discusses the need to build a more “playful culture”.”

Kevin Heath presents 25 Top Children’s Charities posted at More4kids.

WhatWorksForUs presents We Have ARRIVED. In Bedrock. posted at What Works For Us.

Dads

Tony Chen presents What to do? posted at Savvy Daddy, saying, “Here’s one dad’s perspective on sometimes not knowing what to do with his kids”

Jeff Tincher presents The Best Part of Putting My Son to Bed posted at Daddys Toolbox, saying, “Lately my son has been requesting ME to read books. I do enjoy this time we share, until the bedtime routine takes 2 hours — which has been happening – that’ll be left for future post.”

Family

Jessica Donnovan presents 13 Ideas for Fun Family Fitness Plans posted at Sensible Self-Improvement.

Amy L. presents Which Mattress Is Best For You? posted at Housekeeping Tips, saying, “Every year, thousands of people purchase mattresses, only to find that their new mattresses are as uncomfortable as the old ones.”

Tip Diva presents Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips – Packing For The Beach posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Summer is just around the corner, and for many, that means beach season. But how do you pack for an enjoyable trip to sand, sun and surf?”

tmpatton presents Yes, being a stay at home parent, I do have the right to complain about finances! posted at thekiddieclique.com, saying, “This blog is about why as a stay at home parent I have the right to complain about finances.”

Yi Hui Chang presents The turning point of my marriage resolving money and love issues posted at The Simple Wealth.

Sherry Love presents Can my daughter find happiness in a mixed-race relationship? | Sherry Love. net posted at Sherry Love. net, saying, “Can my daughter find happiness in a mixed-race relationship?”

GP presents GreenHouse Guidance posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “greenhouse guidance from the inn.. everyone can pitch in!”

Nara presents Staying Positive During A Divorce posted at Surviving Infidelity, saying, “Divorce is never easy ?C even if you’re parting on amicable terms.”

Kevin Heath presents Tips for International Adoptions posted at More4kids.

Jamie McIntosh presents Increase Your Food Security posted at Suite101: Organic Gardens blog, saying, “At the grocery store, increasing prices complement shrinking product sizes on the shelf. Meanwhile, you can still grow much of your family’s food for pennies.”

Jose DeJesus MD presents Cash Before Treatment – The Crisis in Medical Care Funding posted at Physician Entrepreneur.

Tina Covington presents 20 Rules for Family Communication posted at thekiddieclique.com.

Balanced Life Center presents 43 Things To Do When You Stop Watching Television posted at Balanced Life Center, saying, “Save money, get more time, have more energy when you stop watching television.”

Jeff Tincher presents My Son’s First Baseball Game posted at Daddys Toolbox.

Ken presents Seven Signs That He Is Cheating posted at Cheating Detective, saying, “Author describes seven ways to detect if a boyfriend or husband is cheating.”

GP presents Sing along the campfire posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “Singing around the campfire… this summer”

Ken presents How You Can Catch A Cheating Spouse posted at Cheating Detective, saying, “When you suspect your spouse is cheating on you, there are

ways you can go about finding out if this is true.”

P.L. Frederick presents The Sweetest Pet Ever posted at Small and Big, saying, “Selecting a new family pet? Before you run off to adopt a special four- or two-legged bestest friend, I urge you to consider something more. Something more-legged: namely, honeybees.”

Carole Gold presents Relationship Paradox posted at McKay Today, saying, “Why it’s important to understand conflict and it’s place within marriage.”

Amy L. presents Should You Buy a Mattress and a Box Spring Set? posted at Housekeeping Tips, saying, “Since most furniture stores sell mattresses and box springs
as sets, you may have just assumed that you’ll need to buy a whole new
bed if your mattress wears out.”

George L Smyth presents One Minute How-To – How To Get Organized And Stay Motivated posted at George L Smyth, saying, “Paris Love explains the most important element to getting organized and maintaining that commitment.”

Moms

Jody DeVere presents Traveling in the Family Way: 2008 Lexus LX 570 posted at Ask Patty – Automotive Advice for Women.

Asheesh presents Selecting The Right Pregnancy Doctor posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “A good pregnancy doctor is a lifeline for pregnant women.”

Tonya presents Pregnancy Facts – A Guide To Having A Healthy Baby posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “Knowing certain facts about pregnancy can help you have a
healthy pregnancy.”

Parenting

tmpatton presents Breastmilk?.It is what?s for dinner (as well as breakfast, snacks and lunch too) posted at thekiddieclique.com, saying, “A blog I wrote about breastfeeding and my views on it, includes some facts, tips and links to supplies for the new or experienced breastfeeding mother”

Chris Davis presents posted at The Healthy Snacks Blog.

Linda Ann Nickerson presents Preteen Pretext (Phoning’s Cool for Middle School) posted at Nickers and Ink, saying, “What happens when a parent gives a preteen a cell phone? Is this bane or blessing, security or spoiling? Rhymed humor examines this tricky technological question.”

David B. Bohl presents What To Do If Your Daughter Pulls a Britney? posted at Slow Down Fast Today!, saying, “I hope we all realize that no one is so far gone that they cannot be reached.”

Raymond presents Explaining Why Financially Independent Men Rarely Call Their Mothers posted at Money Blue Book.

karen alonge presents a mother’s heart posted at advice for parents.

Lars presents Preventing Child Tooth Decay – Important Healthly Habits for You and Your Child posted at InsightsandAdvice.com, saying, “Sage advice from a mom and a registered nurse.”

Fiona Lohrenz presents Encouraging Creativity At Your Day Care posted at Child Care Only.

Technology Editor presents posted at Physician Entrepreneur.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of everything family using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Everything Family Issue 2

Welcome to the June 3, 2008 edition of Everything Family.    We received a whopping 72 submissions this month!  That’s incredible, and I hate that I could not include them all.  For further editions, submission time will be reduced from a month, to two weeks.

Lin Burress presents So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood in Commercial Culture posted at Telling It Like It Is.

Autumn Beck presents My Top 4 Pocket Cloth Diapers posted at All About Cloth Diapers, saying, “I have been excited to write about my favorite pocket cloth diapers for quite awhile now, but had to wait for the arrival of a particular brand I wanted to try.”

Theresa L. Twogood presents Daily Prayer Journal posted at OLIN e-Book e-Publishing.

Jackie presents Mother’s Day posted at A Keeper’s Jackpot.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To An Absent-Minded Husband posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Shaheen Lakhan presents Acknowledging Vaccination Concerns posted at GNIF Brain Blogger, saying, “When it comes to parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, a study reports two types: radical (refuses everything) and reformist (selectively opt out of certain vaccines).”

Family

Beth Blair presents Six Tips: Surviving a Family Road Trip posted at Traveling Mamas.

Linda W. presents Eating Well On Your Budget Vacation posted at The Eclectic Female, saying, “Eating out cheaply while on vacation can be tough, but is definitely doable.”

Trevor McKay presents Gastric Bypass Surgery And The Food Police posted at All About Gastric Surgery.

Jeff Sullivan presents The World Largest Toy Museum – Nostalgic Time Machine posted at Branson Travel Attractions.

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Stocking And Organizing A Medicine Cabinet posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Everyone should have a medicine cabinet in their homes in case of a sickness or an emergency. Here’s what to do to make sure you’re stocked and prepared”

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Moving Back Home As An Adult posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Maybe you’ve been away at school. Or, your lease may be up and you need an affordable place to stay while looking for a new apartment. Many young adults are moving back home for a variety of reasons, but coming back may be a culture shock. Here’s how to ease the transition”

Jeremy Neal presents What Moms Really Think About Good Dads posted at Discovering Dad.

Vera Lang presents Community Disaster Preparedness Tips – Plan Ahead of Time posted at Be Safe Insure .com, saying, “Emergencies & natural disaster can happen everywhere. Prepare to be safe and well for when this happens. Besides immediate responsiveness to get out of danger, these Top 10 Disaster Preparation Steps can help you and your family to take care of yourselves.”

Signs of a Cheating Spouse presents Personality Traits of a Cheating Spouse posted at Cheating Wife, saying, “Cheaters often have similar traits. Here is a list of characteristics to look out for.”

Hsidea presents Building friendships through homeschool groups posted at Homeschooling Tips, saying, “Tips for building friendships for homeschooled children”

Mother Hen presents Ship Full O’ Pirates » Blog Archive » Man Over-Bored! posted at Mother Hen.

George L Smyth presents One Minute How-To – How To Organize A Clothes Closet posted at George L Smyth, saying, “Nicole Green explains the most efficient way to make sure your clothes closet does not waste your time.”

Brent Diggs presents Nightlife | The Ominous Comma posted at The Ominous Comma.

Global Traveler presents Surviving Marital Infidelity – Signs of Infidelity » Protecting Your Finances In A Divorce posted at Infidelity, saying, “How to make the best use of a vacation guide.”

Metaliphe presents Dreading Family Gatherings? posted at Chandra Unplugged – No nonsense, Straight-up blogging from a Life Coach, saying, “Do you dread family gatherings? If you have a meddling mother-in-law that is constantly critical or a father-in-law that drinks too much and is bigoted, you are most probably anxious at family functions. Learn the best way to deal with these problems before, during and after dinner.”

Ken presents How To Recognize The Signs Of A Cheating Husband posted at Cheating Detective, saying, “How to find out if your husband is cheating on you”

Sherry Love presents Should I remarry after divorcing my husband for 14 years? posted at Sherry Love. net, saying, “Explore a situation when a woman isn’t sure if she should remarry.”

Mother Hen presents Photo Broadside: Fire Away!!!!! posted at Mother Hen.

Life

Christopher Johnson presents Dealing With Stress At Work posted at christopheraaronjohnson.net.

Matthew presents Will You Marry Me? posted at Conservatives and Normals . Com – The Blog, saying, “Thank you.”

Tina presents My Special Blend: Oh, happy dry day! posted at My Special Blend.

Fuel Efficient Driver presents Tips On Saving Gas And Money posted at Getting Better Gas Mileage, saying, “Here is a general list on how to save money on gas.”

Heather Johnson presents Finding an Ethical Partner posted at A Philosopher’s Blog.

Moms

Alison presents 7 Green Gifts for Mom posted at Green Me.

Woman Tribune presents A Little Mother’s Day History posted at Woman Tribune.

GP presents Mom?s Day in the Kitchen posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “Mom’s day in the kitchen… and a recipe”

Pregnant Woman presents Third Trimester Diet posted at Pregnancy, saying, “What you should eat in your third trimester for a healthy baby!”

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Finding The Perfect Mother?s Day Gift posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Mother’s Day is for celebrating that special woman in your life – and not just your mother, but perhaps a grandmother, aunt, older sister or close friend who’s been like a mother to you. Don’t know what to get that person? Here are some creative and unique ideas”

Mother Hen presents Mommie N’ Me Cookies posted at Ship Full O’ Pirates.

Tonya presents First Trimester Pregnancy: Symptoms, Problems, and Solutions posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “Information about the first trimester of a pregnancy.”

Patty presents Inspiring Women to Be Irresistible! Listen in to Christina Wiley, Motivational/Health Coach posted at Parenting, Child Development, Shopping Resources, Recalls and Reviews, saying, “Please consider adding my post and blog to this carnival.
Thanks! My weekly moms support show features bi-weekly guests, authors, experts and women/moms in business.”

Suzanne presents Reaction To Eco Kid’s Birthday Party posted at Mommyfootprint.com, saying, “One of the places that accumulates the most waste and excess is our kid’s birthday parties. Read about the reactions from my guests after we tried an Eco party for our son. We would never go back to a traditional party…”

Tonya presents Natural Labor – Some Suggestions For A More Comfortable Labor And Delivery posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “Natural labor followed by childbirth without any intervention from doctors or medical procedures is safe and most common.”

Parenting

Sam presents Best Children’s Books. Best Kids’ Books. Good Story Books and Picture Books for Children ! Surfer Sam posted at Surfer Sam and Friends, saying, “The best children’s books delight, inspire, and teach. You open the world to a child when you read together. Here are good story books and picture books for children. Would your child like these favorites?”

Fiona Lohrenz presents Getting Parents Involved At Day Care posted at Child Care Only.

Angela Williams Duea presents At least she?s not naked. posted at angelawd, saying, “When does clean=punishment? When you’re talking to a teen, of course!”

Sonja Stewart presents Avoiding arguments part 1 – Gift Cloning. posted at Parenting Squad, saying, “When it comes time for gifts, you can stop a lot of arguments by buying the same thing for every kid.”

Jessica Jones presents Celebrating Womanhood posted at Practical Nourishment, saying, “sharing female rites of passage with our daughters”

Kevin Heath presents Bringing Baby Home – Parenting 101 posted at More4kids.

Kevin Heath presents Tips for Working Parents posted at More4kids.

Linda W. presents Signs And Symptoms Of Dust Mite Allergies posted at The Eclectic Female, saying, “How to tell if you might be suffering from dust mite allergies.”

Nara presents Surviving Marital Infidelity – Signs of Infidelity » Helping Young Children Through A Divorce posted at Infidelity, saying, “Divorce can be hard on young children. Make sure to keep their interests in mind when going through a divorce.”

Summer presents Compassionate Parenting posted at The Attached Mother, saying, “Thoughts on raising compassionate children.”

Jamie McIntosh presents Organic Gardens Blog @ Suite101.com posted at Suite101: Organic Gardens blog, saying, “Get children out of the house and into the garden.”

Dianne M. Buxton presents Parent Volunteers Can Help With Natural Stage Fright Before Ballet Recitals posted at Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes, saying, “Suggestions for helping with stage fright in young performers.”

Homework. Dinner. Life. presents 10 Ways to Make Certain That Your Kids Hate School, Become Lazy & Dependent Learners, Drive Their Teachers Crazy, & End Up Living in Your Basement Until They Are 40 – posts – Homework. Dinner. Life. posted at Angela Norton Tyler, saying, “Angela shares a story about doing too much for her daughter.”

Ms. Mystery presents Wife’s Affair Broke Up Marriage: How to Protect the Kids posted at Good Luck and Confess, saying, “I am wondering if I have any rights to protect my children from being around my future ex-wife’s boyfriend. They had an affair and broke up our marriage.”

Kevin Heath presents Parenting a Child with Special Needs posted at More4kids.

Kevin Heath presents Tips For Helping Our Kids Grow Up Green posted at More4kids.

Anmol Mehta presents How to Raise Enlightened Children posted at Mastery of Meditation, Enlightenment and Kundalini Yoga, saying, “Non-dual, spiritual approach to raising children such that they grow to achieve their highest human potential.”

Fiona Lohrenz presents End the whining at day care posted at Child Care Only.

Dana presents A hot water bottle named Grofa posted at Principled Discovery.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Everything Family using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Parenting Advice for Birth Order

A First Born ChildIn light of my recent post on Birth Order: How it Affects Children and Family I thought I would follow up with some parenting advice specific to your children based on their birth order.  Now, do not misconstrue this as though I am trying to tell you how to raise your children, or what to do with them.  You can take it or leave it, because all that matters is that you know your children, and what is best for them.  This is just meant to be some friendly help, as it may work for some, and that is my hope.

A healthy family comes in all shapes and sizes, and means all sorts of different things to different people.  A healthy family for one, does not mean a healthy family for another, so what this advice means to you, it may not mean to others.  Every child is different, as is every situation, and of course this cannot account for all of them.

Instead of regurgitating things I have read from other sources, I thought I would provide links to more information for each group.  Of course, so that this blog becomes my own instead of a few trackbacks to other people’s work, I’ll provide a sneak peek of what each one offers, and some of my own thoughts!

For your First Born: This article from parents.com provides ten tips for parenting your first born child.  This includes things like: letting the child make their own decision, not making the child your “eyes and ears”/primary caretakers for his or her siblings, and making time for them if there are lots of other siblings.  This makes sense because the first born is often the babysitter for his or her siblings, and often is expected to lead.  It will allow the child to be his or her age, instead of a mini-adult too soon.

For your Middle Child:  This article from parents.com provides ten tips for parenting your middle child.  This includes things like: making special time for the child without the others around, encouraging differences between the children, and recognizing his or her accomplishments.  This will help the child from getting lost between the one before him or her, and the one after him or her.

For Youngest Child: This article from parents.com provides ten tips for parenting your last born child. This inclueds things like:  playing fair, holding the child accountable for his or her actions, and being careful not to show too much attention to the youngest child in comparision to how much attention you give the other child or children in your family.  This will help the child see that he or she is equal to his or her siblings, and the siblings will not feel as though this child is favored any more or less than they are.

This makes sense to me, of course, but is not the only thing I would ever rely on.  So, tell me what you think about it, and if it has helped you in anyway.  Does any of this advice help your family, or do you think it would?

Photo Credit: Cindy Watrous (personal photo of my son from 2006)

Raising Well-Rounded, Healthy Children

As Moms, we have several important jobs for our children.  You are a chef, a maid, a friend, an authority, an encyclopedia of information and teacher, and a worry wart.  I am sure that all of you Moms reading this will think of things I missed… as the list is almost endless.  However, my point in listing all these is that regardless of how many jobs you really hold as a parent, they can all be encompassed into one:  your job as a parent is to keep your children well rounded, healthy, indiviudals.   

No parent is perfect, and no child will have the perfect upbringing. Since we all need that help, here are some tips to make sure you are doing right by your child, as best you can.  Because each family has different philosophies, and policies, I am not pushing any on you; but merely suggesting you give them a try.  Make adjustments where you see fit, as long as you stick to the basic idea.

Perhaps one of the best methods for making sure that you have healthy, well-rounded children is ensuring an open line of communication.  If you are the parent of a young child, always explain why you do things the way you do, and never ignore any question they ask.  They will talk as long as you listen, and this is a good habit to keep in place.  If they are teenagers who would rather eat sardines for a year than talk to you; try this.  Trust your child on a level that is dictated by his or her level of responsibility and respect.  If a child learns that he or she can come to you with anything honestly without fear of punishment, but to expect it, if necessary; this line of communication will be a valuable tool in ensuring their safety, and happiness.

Embrace all of your children’s desires, but not necessarily to the fullest immediately.  Let me explain.  If your five year old daughter says she wants to do ballet, but you know she’ll quit in three weeks, and /or you do not have the means to enroll in her classes—you can still embrace her desire, without wasting time and effort.  Buy her a pair of shoes, with a tutu, and let her practice with videos that you can rent. 

Too many times parents are guilty of preventing their children from doing something they want to do, without truly just reason.  My husband never got to play football as a kid, only because his Mom worried too much about him getting hurt.  He often comments that he wishes he could have, and didn’t understand the reason why he didn’t get to.  Her fear of his injury should not have dictated his life. If there is a desire you cannot embrace for whatever reason, offer alternatives; and explain the reason for your resistance. 

Get your child interested in a wide variety of activities from an early age.  Of course, stick to age appropriateness. The more he’s into now, the more likely he’ll maintain to some extent in adulthood.  My child has a compassion for handicapped or injured people, because it directly affects him.  I have cerebral palsy.  It is very mild, but he can still see I do not walk like everyone else.  Does this change me?  Not in his eyes.  His understanding of this (no matter how small), leads to compassion that will stick with him.  The same compassion I had for others, because I knew what it felt like to be teased; that many children my age did not share either.

Get him involved with family members who can encourage other interests.  This way, you are not the only teacher!  My son is interested in building projects, working on cars and computers, along with fishing, and even trying to play a couple instruments.  All of these are great things for a four year old to start building skill in, as these can take him any number of places in life.  I am not forcing anything, just sparking that interest.  If it doesn’t follow him throughout life, the knowledge of it will!  I tried the best I could; and that’s all that matters. The key to healthy, well rounded children is variety, and diversity; or, at least I believe that’s the easiest way to phrase it. 

What do you think?  Tell us about your children and the activities they enjoy!  How and why did you get them involved?  What resistance if any, was shown?  Have any suggestions for other Moms? 

From a Child’s Eyes Episode 3

This week’s podcast interview with Joe has been cancelled.  I say this because he’s not been feeling too well lately, and I just cannot get him to cooperate with me this week.  In lieu of the show, I thought I’d post a video to keep you happy. 

Here’s a clip from an episode of Kid’s Say the Darndest Things.  It has given me some ideas for next week’s podcast!

V-Tech V-Smile and other products for Children

In the spirit of time and out of a desire to add something new to the blog, today I am tracking back to a post I wrote in my since retired Tips for a Frugal Mom blog; back in January.  You can read it V-Tech V-Smilehere.

Since that post was written, I have fallen even more in love with V-Tech’s products for children.  I recently purchased a Nitro Learning Laptop for Joe, so that he can work on his computer and “homework”, while I do my work.  It keeps him entertained and we share the experience of  “working from home”.  

It was a bit pricy at $50, and is recommended for children age 5-11; but Joe’s got it down just fine.  It has a few flaws in that the screen is small, and is difficult for him to open, but I really can’t complain.  It also works with the V-Smile power adapter, so I’m pleased. 

Check out some V-Tech products here.

What do you think of V-Tech’s products for children?  Share your experiences with all of us!

Photo Credit: Amazon.com provided courtesy of V-Tech.

The Duggar Family

There are large families present all over the world, and we know that they have as much trouble, if not more than those of us with small families. But, if any of you watch the Discovery Channel, then you are more than likely aware of the Duggar Family from Arkansas, who (last I counted) have 17 children, aged 19 and under!

I think she’s nuts for wanting that many children, and in the world with the way it is today; it’s not exactly a great place to raise children. However, she is one hell of a dedicated mother, and he is one hell of a dedicated father, to willingly have that many children, and to stay sane as she does.

However, I cannot help but wonder if these people are a little off the deep end—because after awhile, you cannot give your children the attention they need, and they seem to be somewhat cult like. I’m not downing their religious beliefs, because children are a gift from God; and to each his own…but something just seems wrong with having 17 of your own children, when there are so many children out there who need homes; and so many parents out there that cannot even take care of the one they have!

Watch the video below to see the whole family from one of their many Discovery Channel specials, and in a few weeks, I’ll be discussing the Gosselin Family (another large family with Discovery and TLC shows!) Remember, the Duggars now have two more children since this video!

So, are the Duggars raising a cult? Are they just that in love with children? Am I horrible for thinking that she should stop bearing children? Tell me what you think!