Archive for October, 2007

Reverse Trick-or-Treating

October 31, 2007

Today I went with a few moms and our kids to a local nursing home to visit with the people who live there. We thought it would be nice for them to see the kids all dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Boy, did I underestimate the welcome we would receive.

We planned on handing out some goodie bags to them, kind of like a reverse trick-or-treat. We did not anticipate the kids trick-or-treating around the facility; the employees hadn’t planned for it either — but it’s exactly what we ended up doing. An employee pulled out a big bag of candy (I suspect to be used at the resident Halloween party they had planned for later in the day) — before I knew it, they had distributed the candy to residents so that they could hand our kids the candy.

Up and down the halls we went. There weren’t even that many of us; 4 moms and 6 kids, but it seemed like an army. I could feel the warmth and see the welcome in their smiles. We even made some residents smile, that apparently “never smile.” That’s the power of a toddler for you. It’s the power of giving. Today we gave time.

We were repeatedly thanked by so many people there, but we are the ones to be thankful — for the experience of putting smiles on so many faces today.


Behind The Scenes of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

October 30, 2007

Last TV season I was turned on to a wonderful blog about the hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” called “Grey Matter.” It’s updated weekly by the writers of the show. The posts are written by a different writer each week and he/she focuses on how the show came about.

It’s great insight to a great show. There’s so much information in each post and it bridges the gap between writer and viewer.

Did you watch last week? *spoiler alert*

There are scenes in television that I think are brilliant. It’s usually because of the writing. The last episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” has Meredith pouring her mother’s ashes into the surgical sink. Meredith kept wondering where to spread Ellis’ ashes. Where would she want to be? The surgical sink is just brilliant. It’s where Ellis spent all of her time. She gave up time with her husband, with her daughter, to be at the hospital with her lover (the Chief) and her love, surgery. It’s perfect because it’s sad. It’s sad to see the remains of a person, a mother, someone who saved lives, to be poured down a drain. But Ellis was a sad person, living a sad life. The writer, Krista Vernoff, wonders if we got it.

She says:

“And my favorite scene, maybe ever, is the one in which Richard and Meredith put Ellis to rest in a surgical sink. I hope, I hope, I hope you all got this. I hope so much that no one found this disrespectful.”

As I watched it, I too wondered if people got it. But I think that’s what good writing is about: Write and see if people get it.

Oversheduled Families Need to Prioritize

October 29, 2007

Fall brings not only cool temperatures, falling leaves, pumpkins and hay rides, but lots of social activities. In every town there is surely a “Fall Festival” of some sort. Not to mention trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and household decorating. And this is only the beginning. With the other major holidays approaching our families’ social calendars are going to fill up, fast. I’m tired already, and it’s not even Halloween.

Time to find the balance.

We accidentally bought my son two Halloween costumes this year. I got one and my husband bought one. We decided to keep both of them knowing that he’d have several occasions to wear them this month. Then, I got to thinking … we’re trying to do to much. I opted out of one Halloween party and limited our other Halloween activities to the ones that are most important to us as a family.

Take a moment today to step back and see to what you are committed. What is most important? Can you subtract one event from your calendar?

Excuse me while I return that extra Halloween costume.


Bumbo, My Beloved Bumbo

October 26, 2007

Dear Bumbo:

Bumbo seatI remember looking for you in stores. You were impossible to find, literally sold out in every Target, Babies R Us and Wal-mart in the tri-county area. Oh, how I wanted to find you. We needed an alternative to tummy time. The swing was great, but it kept our baby laying on the back of his head. Bumbo promised to elevate baby’s head. Keep baby upright. We longed for a few minutes of hands-free upright time. We finally found you, online. Yes, it’s true, people can find love online these days.

This was back in 2006. Now, every family in America has a Bumbo, but I guess that some parents are putting you on high, horizontal surfaces (with their children in you). Shame on them. Your label clearly states that you are to stay on the floor. And, babies do wiggle their way out of you — this is not news. You are a seat to use while I am watching my baby sit in you. We all play together, on the floor. We don’t need you anymore since our baby is a big guy now, but we remember you fondly and hope new parents find you as useful as we did.

I’ll still wear my “I Heart Bumbo” T-shirt and I’ll keep you for one day when we have bambino #2.

Thankful Mama to have a Bumbo

Related links:

Financial Education for Women and Girls

October 25, 2007

I’ve been writing about women and finances for a few months now, posting topics as I find them. Increasingly, it is easier and easier to find information –it’s everywhere, screaming at women to do something about our finances. Even while on vacation, I still couldn’t get away from the topic of financial education for women. While reading the “Asheville Citizen-Times,” I found an article by Marle Bartlett about a free seminar about the top 10 financial mistakes women make.

The article starts:

“A 52-year-old woman is $10,000 in debt because she ‘helped out’ her family — including a son who earns twice her income. A 78-year-old widow, married to a banker for more than 50 years, never learned to write a check because her husband took care of all their finances. A woman in her 20s wants to get married but is afraid to tell her partner that she is a compulsive shopper, and thus always broke.”

Powerful statements. Sad statements. Reality for some. For many.

Linda Saylor, a certified financial planner, says that women are uneducated about finances. The deadliest combination, she adds, is when women have a lack of financial education and “help” their grown children.

Saylor, from A. G. Edwards, offered a free seminar called, “Avoiding the Top Ten Mistakes Women Make with Their Money.” I wish more companies would offer sessions like these across the country.

Early last year, Rice University was commissioned by The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston to conduct a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of TWR’s free financial literacy seminars. The facts, according to the Rice Web site:

“In 2005, 1 million women declared bankruptcy—150,000 more than the number of men in the same year. Women work an average of 12 fewer years than men, get less in Social Security and retirement and live longer. Roughly 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for managing their finances at some point in their lives.”

The University concluded:

“The results of the Rice study showed that TWR’s seminars are having a measurable impact on the participants. On average, grades increased from less than 50 percent correct on the preseminar test to more than 70 percent on the postseminar test.”

Women need to get ahold of our finances and become educated about them too. We also need to make sure that financial planning classes can be taken in high school. Melody Hobson, from “Good Morning America,” whom I wrote about yesterday, has said that she is frustrated that young people can take home economics and wood shop, but can’t take financial planning classes. I have to agree. If we want women to know more about finances, we need to start with girls. Now.

Keep your eye open for financial seminars in your area. Google it. It’s how I got started. If you can’t get to a class, buy a book, go to the library. Just start today.