Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks Mike! I'll never forget Pearl Harbor, thanks to you!

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is an important day in history and one I will never forget. And while I would like to thank my history teachers for the fine job they did, I cannot give credit to anyone but one of my first boyfriends, Mike D, for searing this date into my brain for eternity.
Today is the anniversary of my first date with Mike. He taught me a lot. He was a Navy brat (his words) and had lived all over the world it seemed to me. He was smart, and I loved to listen to him talk. He had the sexiest blue eyes that just melted my young insides to butter. And he was so charming, he called me his beautiful Aphrodite. *Sigh* How much more charming could you get to a teenage girl?
But he taught me a lot more than an important historical date. He taught me to never brag to your friends about how good-looking your new boyfriend is until you've seen him without his cap!
I met Mike at Indian Lanes and he made my heart flutter with his blue eyes and cute little posterior. But he wore a cap and I couldn't see his hair. We all know how important the hair is! By night's end however, he had my phone number and we had set our first date for December 6th, 1979 to see the Senior class play, Boys and Ghouls Together, at Satsuma High School. I was so excited!
He arrived to pick me up and I went to open the front door. Shock! His hair! I had bragged to all my friends about how cute he was! But that hair ruined it! It was almost a "little boy meets GI Joe" haircut. All I could see from that point forward that night was his hair.
But I was polite, although a bit cold probably, looking back on the night. We went to the play and I sat hoping no one would see us as I listened to him talk about random stuff. But I will never forget him asking me, "Do you know what tomorrow is?"
No, I was clueless as to what tomorrow was. But Mike went on to explain to me what Dec. 7th represented and why I should care. Well, it stuck. I still remember 32 years later.
And I still remember that date with Mike above most others too. I went home intending to never go out with him again. My God, could you blame me? Did you see that haircut!?!
He called me up a couple of days later and asked me out again. I turned him down. But he was gutsy enough to ask why. I was cruel (and shallow) enough to answer him honestly.
He must have really thought I was something special, because he offered to change his hairstyle. So I said okay. And at his request, I told him how I thought his hair should look. We dated for 8 months or so after that. And he taught me many more little life lessons and I think he might have made me a better person. I no longer judge people by their haircuts at least.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Change your profile pic on Facebook?

There's a lot of buzz going around right now about the Facebook user campaign to change profile pics to raise awareness of child abuse.  There's also a lot of talk about it being started by a pedophile as an attempt to entice children to approve their friend requests to them.
First of all, I think it's a wonderful thing that we as individuals can influence and inform so many people through social sites like Facebook.  But I think we would all do better to donate $5 to our favorite cause rather than change our profile picture.  Of course, it wouldn't hurt to do both! There's nothing wrong with having a little fun and being even a bit silly at times.  But how much more good could be done for all these causes if we took even a small amount and donated it to legitimate organizations that work for our favorite causes.
As for the pedophile angle, here's my two cents worth.  Even if this was started by a pedophile, would that really change anything? If you're being a responsible parent, you're monitoring your childrens' activity on Facebook and the computer in general. And while we can't keep an eye on our children every moment of every day, there are things that we can do to protect our children.  A couple of very simple things to do are to keep computer use in a public area of your home and check your computer's history occasionally.  Hold your children accountable by having their passwords for the sites they visit that require them and then occasionally poke around and see what they're up to.
Is that spying? Well, it may border on it, but in these days of technology, parenthood is a whole new world.  It's my personal opinion that we have to be a bit nosy for the good of our children.  After all, if we don't care, someone else will.  And it might just be that pedophile.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walk the Baby

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a new mom is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Being a new mom is challenging to say the least. It is stressful at times and can make you want to run screaming down the street. A better solution though would be to put baby in a stroller and walk or jog down the street before the stress gets to you. Exercising daily can help you cope with the stress and help you be the best mom possible.

Daily exercise can help you cope with the stress of motherhood. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain and endorphins are nature's antidepressants. In fact, research has shown that regular exercise can be as effective as psychotherapy in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. It is also known to reduce anxiety and help fight feelings of hopelessness. Feelings of tension, fatigue, and anger are all positively affected by exercise.

Finding time to exercise is probably the main obstacle most new moms face in attempting to start or maintain an exercise regimen. Trying to exercise while the baby is down for a nap is probably not the best option. Instead, include your baby in your exercising. Invest in a good jogging stroller and a quality pair of shoes for yourself and make it a daily habit to go for a walk or jog with your infant. A fifteen or twenty minute stroll twice a day can give you the exercise you need and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and boost your physical and mental health at the same time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Without Your Touch

I wrote this with a melody for a song in mind. I hope you enjoy it "as is" here.

Without your touch, I wither
Like the flower in an empty vase.
Without your touch, I wither
Baby, I long for your embrace

Need to feel your arms of love
Around me, so very tight.
Need to kiss your sweet lips,
Baby I need you, to spend the night,

Without your touch, I wither
Like the flower in a vase.
Without your touch, I wither
Baby, I need to see your face

Need to feel your lips take sweet possession of mine,
Need to feel your loving hands
as they glide along my skin,

Without your touch, I wither
Like the flower in a vase.
Without your touch, I wither
Baby, I long for your embrace

Need to feel our passion,
The way it burns as we make love,
Need to feel our passion
Without it, I'm just a lie
Baby, we cannot let it die

Because without your touch, I wither
Like the flower in the vase.

~Dawn Baugh Steadham 6/20/2010

An Apple a Day - Boredom Buster

An apple a day keeps the boredom away!  If your kids are like mine, they like to throw the “I'm bored” phrase out at you if there's the slightest lull in the day.  My typical reaction to that is to assign them a chore to do.  Miraculously they usually become “unbored” almost instantly, suddenly remembering something that they wanted to do after all.  But from time to time, I surprise them with a fun activity I've been holding up my sleeve for the next time they tossed “I'm bored” my way.
Here's one boredom buster that most kids will find “a-peeling”! All it takes is an apple and a little imagination.  Start by peeling the apples.  Depending on your child's age and skill level, you may want to take care of this step for them.  Next, take a knife and carve out a face on the apple.  A plastic knife or even a butter knife can be used by younger children to do this.  Tell them to think pirate, witch, or maybe even Grandpa when creating their apple character.  Deeper holes for eye sockets and prominent noses make for the best (or worst!) looking apple people.  Once your children are satisfied with their creation, place the apples on a baking sheet and bake for 3 hours at your oven's lowest temperature.  Then allow the apples to rest for a few days in a warm, dry place.  
Be sure to have some other activities up your sleeve while you wait for the apples to get ready for the rest of the fun! Then, in a few days, when the kids toss out the “I'm bored” again, pull the apples out and finish them by using dried black beans for the eyes, and grains of rice for teeth.  You can use bits of yarn or felt for the hair, or scraps of fabric for a bandana.  Use your imagination and see what you can come up with!
You can further spark your child's creativity by placing a wooden dowel into the apple to create a puppet of sorts.  Bodies can be drawn and colored onto thin cardboard and taped to the dowels.  And your children can become playwrights by making up stories to act out with their apple puppets.  Challenge them to present a play for you after dinner that night!  You may be pleasantly surprised at what their little minds can come up with!
These apple heads also make neat decorations for Halloween.  Think shrunken heads or ugly witches or perhaps an ogre.  Your kids may come up with their own ideas of things to do with them.  Be prepared to help guide their creative genius into what you can handle as the parent!
Remember, when raising kids it's a good idea to be ready for those lulls in the activity and turn them into moments of creativity and family togetherness.  So keep a few apples on hand, tuck this idea up your sleeve, and wait for the next time you hear that little phrase!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things A Cat Can Teach Us

As I was walking from my dining room into my kitchen a few days ago, my cat reached out and swatted my leg with his paw as I passed him.  He was perched on top of the box where his food bowl is located for his convenience.  The bowl was full of food and his water bowl was as well.  So, what did he want from me?  I continued about my business in the kitchen and momentarily went back toward the dining room, only to be swatted again.  "Okay, Diesel.  What do you want?" I asked him.  (Yeah, I know... Diesel. What an odd name for a cat. But that is another story! ) He looked up at me with his green eyes and meowed, as if to answer my question.  The only problem is that I don't speak kitty and he doesn't speak human.  I have to admit though, I understood what it was he needed even though we speak different languages.
I reached down and began to scratch him behind the ears and rub his head.  I stroked his fur and stopped what I was otherwise doing for a few minutes and paid attention solely to him.  So what? Right? He's a cat and that's what cats like.  Everybody knows that!
But later on I got to thinking about that little incident and the small nugget of truth it holds for me as a human.  When we've been in a relationship for a while with someone, we get used to them being there.  They're kind of like the cat in the house.  You know they're there.  They brush up against you at times.  They come snuggle with you when you sit down in your favorite spot sometimes.  They're just there.  So you just get used to their presence and you don't think a whole lot about it after a while.  And that's where the problem starts...
Like the cat in the house that we just know is there, we provide his food and water and what we come to know are other things he likes, but we begin to take all of that for granted.  We do the same thing in our relationships sometimes. 
We need to take a lesson from the cat.  If you're not getting the attention you need, if you're not getting your itch scratched, reach out and swat someone! Let your partner know where your itch is and give them the pleasure of taking care of it for you.  We owe it to each other to communicate our needs to one another because like cats and humans, sometimes men and women don't speak the same language either.  Meow!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fourth of July Musings

Spur of the moment, last minute almost, I shooed everyone toward the van and we headed out on another family adventure. Five minutes into it, someone says "this is boring". Ah! Mom to the rescue with patriotic music on the radio! That only served to elicit loud protests and moans. I laughed and turned up the radio. They'll remember this adventure one day!
Luckily we made in time to make it into Battleship Park and park. We threw a blanket up on top of the van and all 4 of my kids, including my 19 year old, climbed up to watch the show. And thanks to my impeccable timing (ha!ha!) the show began in no time.
Hubby propped himself against the van as I sat on the hood. Maybe I'm simple, but the feel of the warm gentle breeze off of Mobile Bay gently caressing my bare arms and shoulders is magical to me. Nothing else matters right now. I'm at peace!
Then unfolding before me is a wonderful 3D display of glittering color. Some colors painting a background for others to jump out at you! Some make me think of giant chrysanthemums. Some make me think of what it must have been like for Francis Scott Key to watch "the rocket's red glare" so many years ago. Some just make me think "beautiful!"
In the background a local band is doing a rather bad rendition of "America the Beautiful" followed by "The Cupid Shuffle". I chuckled inwardly at the stupidity of that combination to accompany the show! I could also hear a car alarm or two set off by the vibrations as well as a few infants and toddlers set off as well!
Way too soon the show is over. We all pile back into the van and get set to endure the traffic and head home. But the mood in the van is different now. We seem a bit closer for the shared experience. We joke and laugh together at the things we are observing in traffic. And I, with my mom hat on, am a very happy woman to have shared such a night with my wonderful, yet dysfunctional at times, family!