Wednesday, July 27, 2011

REMINDER: Asthma Contest - Deadline July 29

As a reminder, the asthma contest, part of the education campaign called Everyone Breathe is still under way and the deadline is approaching on July 29 for submissions

You still have a chance to sign up for the contest to win.

All the details are available in my previous post available here. Here is a snapshot too, below.

Parents or guardians of children with asthma are encouraged to submit an application and nominate their child and their child’s school for one of 10 grand prizes. Ten winning applications will be selected: the 10 students in the winning applications will receive $2,500 savings bonds and the 10 schools in the winning applications will receive $5,000 grants to conduct education and implement asthma-friendly tools and resources to better the school environment.

My client Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has teamed up with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and grand slam tennis champion and mom Mary Joe Fernandez who lives with asthma and cares for her young son who has the condition as well.

Mary Joe Fernandez battled symptoms of asthma for years, and now as a mom of a young child with the same condition she says, "I can't emphasize enough the importance of quality asthma care both at home and in school.” Further, she conveys "parents of children with asthma [need] to take a proactive role in helping them lead healthy and symptom-free lives and one way to do this is to help make their environments more asthma-friendly."

Visit to nominate your child with asthma and their school for the Everyone Breathe Asthma Education savings bond and grant. Submit a nomination including your proposal on what asthma care and education needs to be done within your child's school environment.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Potty Accidents

Sarah, who is now three and a half years old, has been potty trained since March of this year.

While Daniel and I spent much time teaching her about what to do and where to do it, Sarah decided to take her time.

So, we let her.

We had also just recently, in late 2010, moved to a new city, new home, and new school with new friends, so we felt that giving her time to adjust and settle in was important for her development and confidence with this milestone.

We also thought, there was no sense in rushing Sarah considering that she is still young and it will only become more stressful for all of us involved. And, if potty training is done in a stressful manner or sometimes too quickly it could have negative implications for children in the future.

It's also true that many of us learn by osmosis. So, it's fair to say children do too. And, potty training is no different.

Therefore, I was pleased to find that many of Sarah's classmates (between ages 3 and 4) were using the toilet, and some were fully potty trained. It was also nice to know that Sarah did not have to be fully trained to be part of this class. Eventually, Sarah started to follow suit with her friends and use the bathroom too. When she became more comfortable using the toilet at home and at school we decided then it was time to start the process of saying goodbye to the pull-ups during the day.

I was fully expecting Sarah to have accidents at the beginning when the transition to underwear started. Surprisingly, she stayed dry often and for long periods of time. In fact, she rarely had any accidents.

As time progressed, she got even better about it. We even graduated to underwear at night too and no night time accidents to date.

Then, a few months later the accidents started to come frequently during the day only. There was no major life change going on that seemed to be the reason for this.

One thing that did change, although it didn't seem like a big change, was that Sarah got more involved in playing with her friends and family in activities that she would start to forget that she had to go to the bathroom, and other times where she just didn't want to miss out on the fun.

Because of this new behavior, I had to start carrying around extra underwear and clothing in case accidents happened.

During this time, it was especially important to be patient and understanding of Sarah when these accidents would occur. There was no value in getting upset or mad at her as that could become catastrophic.

She is still young and accidents do happen.

Daniel and I then became more diligent about asking Sarah to go to the bathroom. While I am sure she does not like to be asked to go to the bathroom, this has worked to help reduce these accidents.

Daniel also started to notice that Sarah would get all fidgety and move in circles. He even called it her potty dance. He would call her out on it and then she would dart to the bathroom. It's actually been a helpful non-verbal cue from Sarah when she is so into something but needs the reminder.

What prompted me to write this blog post tonight is that the super absorbent towels called Shamwow are an awesome investment for cleaning up potty accidents. They are extremely absorbent and can be put in the washing machine for quick and effective cleaning. They really can help with clean up of all liquids.

Tonight, I had to use a Shamwow and giggled thinking that it was time to put this experience on my blog.

I am certainly open to any tips or guidance you have on helping to keep Sarah focused and on track to continued potty training success.

Thanks. And, good luck to you too as you experience this major developmental milestone with your little ones if you haven't yet.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Creating Personalized, Fun Wrapping Paper

Sarah had a birthday party this weekend and I decided we would try something different as far as wrapping her friend's gift. Loving arts and crafts as much as I do it seemed like a fun opportunity to engage Sarah to be part of the gift wrapping process.

Sarah agreed.

Since Sarah really enjoys coloring on paper it seemed the perfect opportunity to let her loose, and with a new purpose, and draw to her hearts content.

You can work with any sized paper, white, colors or even those with designs already on them. Since we were wrapping a birthday gift it worked out well that we happened to have paper with a cake and candles already on it, and felt it was the right choice for this present.

Once you decide on your paper choice, then choose which medium your child would like to work with. Markers, crayons, stickers and paint are all good choices.

Then, let your kids go to town and have a blast. Sarah went from paper to paper and back. She drew circles, traced her hands, drew stick figures and shapes too.

After all the drawing is done, then tape the pieces of paper together to create a square or rectangle, depending on the shape and size of the gift. Once the gift is wrapped, give your kids another chance to add more decorations to the paper.

Sarah chose to color more with her markers and place stickers across the top.

So, when you happen to have a gift that is too big for the wrapping paper or gift bags you have at home go ahead and get creative with your kids and make personalized wrapping paper. Not only does the gift look really cool but it's also fun time spent together and children feel part of the process especially when they give the gifts to their friends.

Here's a quick summary of steps to making cool, creative and personalized wrapping paper.
1. Choose paper style and color
2. Determine how much paper will be needed to wrap gift
3. Engage children in decorating the paper
4. Offer children the options for them to decorate (e.g., markers, crayons, stickers
5. Let the kids get creative and have a ball
6. Tape up the pieces of paper to create one big piece
7. Have children help you wrap gift
8. Offer children opportunity to add more decoration to gift once its wrapped
9. Give kids a high five once the gift wrapping creation is complete

Enjoy getting creative with the kids and making unique, one-of-kind wrappings for the special people in your lives.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Caylee's Law" to Help Protect America's Children

With all the angst, outrage and disappointment from the Casey Anthony trial verdict, I was pleased to learn this morning that at least something good is coming from this terribly, tragic situation.

Four states in the U.S. including Florida, Oklahoma, West Virginia and my home state New York are establishing new legislation called "Caylee's Law." This effort will force parents and guardians of children missing within the first 24 hours to report their disappearance.

For my new hometown New Jersey, I hope you get on board soon too.

At least for the state in which I am employed, I was pleased to see that due to an overwhelming outpouring via email, Pennsylvania State Senator Larry Farnese plans to introduce a bill to enforce more stringent penalties for caregivers who conceal a child's death and neglect to report them missing.

While Caylee may not have been found alive had it been reported within 24 hours that she was missing, it could have at least saved a lot of angst, emotional suffering from friends and family, and time and resources to search for her.

To make matters worse, since Casey waited over a month to report her child missing, when Caylee'sbody was eventually found it was so overly decomposed that it left the prosecution little evidence from her body to properly try and sentence Casey for what she deserves for the crime many of us strongly believe she committed.

Thankfully, someone took action and established an online petition on where the public can sign and encourage for “Caylee's Law” to be enforced. Something needs to be done to help protect America's children from crimes such as this where criminals like Casey get set free. It should come as no surprise that well over half of million signatures are on the petition to date including mine.

I implore you, please sign the petition too. While signing this document will not prevent evil people from harming our children, it is a deterrent to help improve on this crime that is sadly happening too much in our country.

Together, let's help to protect America's kids from the cruel Casey Anthony's of our nation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where's Justice for Caylee Anthony?

All eyes and ears were on the verdict for the Casey Anthony trial today, the mother who was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee.

When I learned that Casey was not convicted and that she was being set free I felt like I got kicked in the stomach in disbelief and felt strongly that justice was not served. I then shouted out as I could not believe this end result.

How is it that Casey did not get committed to an institution, at the very least?

Had I heard the news wrong? No. Unfortunately not.

Am I being overly judgmental of a woman who showed little to no emotion throughout the trial of her toddler? Probably. But, I don't care.

If Casey had nothing to hide and didn't end her daughter's life then why didn't she just testify and tell the truth. The absence of truth is the same as lying.

I know that this may not sound fair but to think that Caylee drowning in a pool, potentially by accident, as that is not unheard of, but to then be taped, bound and stashed on the side of a road is mind blowing, and that currently no one is to pay for the poor and erratic behavior that led to a grueling end of life for this innocent child.

As a parent, like many parents, I would do anything to protect my child. The last thing I would be doing it going out and socializing if my child were missing (heaven forbid). And, let's be real. This mom showed little to no signs of emotion or distress during this trial, except for the occasional (PRETEND) tears to fool the jury.

I want to understand that the evidence presented in the case was circumstantial and that there was unfortunately nothing concrete to charge the mother of two-year-old Caylee Anthony. However, it's really hard for me to believe.

Instead, many tears need to be shed and prayers be said for peace for little Caylee, the adorable two-year-old who captivated our hearts with her sweet smile and innocence.

I am dedicating this moment, and this blog post, in memory of Caylee Anthony. I pray for her to have peace where she is now and hope that some day, soon I beg, that justice is served to the person or persons at fault for not just her death but for the grueling ending to her life.

A haiku for Caylee Anthony

Sweet little Caylee
Wishing peace, tranquility
Rest, now you're with G-d

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Birthday America

I hope you are having a great holiday weekend celebrating our country's independence and freedom.

While nowadays this holiday is often seen as one where the mail is not delivered, much alcohol is drunk, tasty treats are eaten, and spectacular fire works are seen, it is also an important time for us to remember our nation's history while enjoying the celebrations we are experiencing, and recognize and remember the birth of our country.

Our colors of red, white and blue are meaningful and symbolic, and our waving American flag is a reminder of our nation's strength and power. It was on this day, July 4, back in 1776 that our nation was declared independent from the kingdom of Great Britain.

So, as many of us attend barbecues, beaches, parties with friends and families and playgrounds with the kids, let our celebrations be a reminder of how much has been fought for us and sacrificed to give us the opportunities and possibilities we have available today.

Let's be incredibly thankful and appreciative to all the men and women who have sacrificed much to provide us the freedom we have today is good ole U.S.A.

Happy Birthday America.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear America
Happy Birthday to you.

Here are some Happy Birthday Haiku

Independence Day
Red, white, and blue colors shine
Celebration time

Happy Birthday time
For our America
A toast for freedom

For all that's been done to date
Independence Day

American flag
The stars and stripes wave and flow
The United States

July 4, the day
Independence was declared
Giving us freedom

Wishing you and yours a great holiday weekend. Happy July 4th.

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...