Category Archives: Ramblings & Rants

If You Cannot Say Thank You? You Cannot Be A Winner! #NewGiveawayRule

I have mentioned this before, but will make it official now. If I contact you to let you know that you have won a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings and you respond without  a “thanks” or “thank you”,  you will be disqualified and I will draw a new winner.

Why?

  • Because I put my time and effort in to run great giveaways.
  • I thank you for being a Mommy Ramblings’ reader and tell you to enjoy your prize in my email.
  • I don’t appreciate ungrateful attitudes.

Sorry guys, I just cannot deal with this anymore. It is so rude. It takes a moment to say thank you. For the record, the majority of giveaway winners are polite, grateful and thoughtful. Many go above and beyond a simple thank you. Others even email when they receive their prize to let me know it arrived and how they like it. I really appreciate all of you who do this.

Thank you again to all of Mommy Ramblings’ loyal readers. To those that cannot be bothered with things like common courtesy and basic manners, I say:

 

I will be updating the giveaway rules to reflect:

If you cannot say Thank You or some equivalent of it when you email me your address, expect an email back with a link to this post and the giveaway rules. Thank you all for reading. 

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Having A Baby In Your 40’s Is A Blessing Not A Death Sentence

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday, I came across a post from Brain Child Magazine. They were sharing an article from a woman named, Estelle Erasmus. The title of her article was, I had a baby in my 40s. Part of my job is preparing my daughter for life without me. 

Now, as a writer, I know that the headline is the magnet and this writer wanted to draw the reader in. The headline  made me angry. I  knew what the article was going to say and I was right. I wrote a comment from my heart under the Facebook post since I could not leave a comment on the article. In seconds I started to get likes and comments with people agreeing with me and sharing similar stories.

So you might wonder why I was so upset by the article. I am going to tell you. There are a few reasons. First, just because a woman is in her 40’s when she gives birth does not mean she is going to die when her child is young. There is no reason she should be living her life preparing her daughter for a life without her. Why do that? That is not living with a positive outlook on life nor is it a realistic outlook either. Do you know how long women have been having babies in their 40’s? It is nothing new.#pregnancy, Older moms, babies

So many women in my own neighborhood growing up had one or more babies in their 40’s. While it was usually not their first child as it was for this woman, they were still having a new baby in their 40’s. No one treated them as if they were at death’s door either. In fact, I was born to a mother who was 2 weeks shy of her 44th birthday.

When my mother found out she was pregnant with her 5th child at 43, her doctor told her it meant she was young and healthy. Never once did I feel my mother was doing anything to prepare me for life without her. My mother had great genetics, her father, my grandfather was 82 when I was born and he lived to be almost 102. He was healthy and happy right to the end of his life.

#pregnancy, Older moms, babies

My mother had her first child at 21 and her last at 44. Having babies later in life kept my parents young. Various studies have shown that women who have babies later in life, live longer than those who don’t. This is due to the fact that being able to conceive and carry a child to term at that age shows their bodies are young and healthy.

#pregnancy, Older moms, babies

Having a baby young does not guarantee that child will not lose their parent at a young age. I don’t think any parent should  spend their time preparing a child for how to live without them based on an age. What kind of life is that? It is morbid and depressing. They may spend energy doing that only to find they are still going strong at age 100 while their child is nearing the age of 60. All that wasted energy could have been used for better things. Often the things we worry about and lose energy over never happen.

We all know that age is a number. There is no guarantee that a younger mother will outlive an older one.  My best friend growing up was born to a younger mother. She lost her mom at a young age from cancer. Another friend lost her mom at a very young age in a car accident. A mother having a child at 23 may find out she has cancer and die at age 24. On the other hand, a 40-year-old mother may live to 103.

#pregnancy, Older moms, babies

We don’t know, life has no guarantees. Why should we waste a moment of it trying to prepare a child for a life without us if we have no terminal diagnosis? We need to embrace our children and life at any age. Children are a blessing and it does not matter if we are 20, 30, 40 or beyond.

Life happens and we have children on God’s timing. Many woman are trying desperately to have a child and would not waste one moment thinking about such things as preparing their child for a life without them. Instead they would lavish every moment of life with their child.

#pregnancy, Older moms, babies

Life is not predictable. Anything can happen at any time. Age does not hold iron clad guarantees of any kind. In the blink of an eye,  a young mother or a more mature mother can be gone. We just don’t know. Our thoughts are so powerful. Shouldn’t we enjoy life and think positively? Why go through life preparing your child for something you think might happen?

Why not harness the power of positive thinking and believe you are going to live to a ripe old age? Visualize yourself living a full life, leaving a great legacy and a child who qualifies for the senior citizen discount at Target. As a mother in 3 different decades of my life, I can say, be thankful for the experience of Motherhood at any age, it truly is a blessing.

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Our School Knows Everything About Common Core & Nothing About Common Sense

common sense

Right now I feel like driving down to my kid’s school and leaving my son’s vomit coated, Merrell suede shoes on the principal’s desk.  You might wonder why I’m feeling the need to do what might seem at this point, a senseless thing.  I promise it will make sense when I’m done.

My kids got off the school bus today not filled with great things to say about their day.  In fact, my second grader had a bruised and swollen finger along with a bruised fingernail that he will most likely lose.  My kindergartener had another great day, he was vomited on and sent home without anyone cleaning him up, no note as to what happened, and put on a 40 minute bus ride.  Lovely!

No one called about our son who had his finger slammed in a locker by another student.  Oh yes, that was what caused the injury.  Nope, no call, nothing but a form from the health office that said bruised finger, student can move it, slammed in locker.

As for the vomit and my kindergartener, there was no notification of any kind.  Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch to tell us what happened.  Nothing but our child to recant the story.  What if our child had not been forthcoming, how would we know?  What if we were picking him up to go directly to a doctor’s appointment?  Do you know what he was told by the teacher’s assistant in his class?  He was told to go home and take his pants, socks and shirt off and take a shower.  He was also told to take his suede Merrells and throw them out.

So now does it make a little more sense why I want to march into that school and leave the ruined $60 shoes on the principal’s desk?  I however, will leave a note, letting him know my thoughts on the matter. Common core will seem like a picnic after I express how I’m feeling.

So what do you think?  How would you handle the situation?  I would love to hear your views.  Hope your kids had a better day.

 

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Measles Cases Rising And Junk Science Is To Blame?

vaccine 1

So unless you’ve been under a rock, you’re well aware of the measles outbreak that started in Disneyland and has now spread to 121 cases across the U.S.  Doctors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, and more are urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

This has created a storm of opposition from the anti-vax parents.  Seemingly unconcerned with what they deem a mild or non-serious illness, they are defending their rights not to vaccinate.  They feel they are protecting their children from autism which they believe is caused by the MMR vaccine.  The study that perpetuated the myth was retracted and deemed junk science. Regardless, they remain steadfast in their decision not to vaccinate despite increased concern of a measles epidemic.

mickey_mouse_measles

I thought I would research the answers to questions that people have been asking regarding all this debate.   So let’s look at what perpetuated the notion that the MMR vaccine was causing Autism?

We need to go back to 1988, when a doctor in the UK by the name of Andrew Wakefield published a study with just 12 child subjects. The children were brought to his clinic suffering from diarrhea and/or abdominal pain.  These children were said to have a history of normal development but subsequently lost certain skills.  When Wakefield was gathering their medical history, he asked the parents when their child received the MMR vaccine and how that correlated to their loss of skills. Based upon this data, Wakefield believed there was a connection between the vaccine and autism.

However, there was no objective scientific data to back his theory up, it was based on the recall of the parents. Given that some of the vaccines were administered as much as 9 years prior, there is reasonable concern about the accuracy.   What is even more troubling, is that Wakefield, claimed that the bowel dysfunction was caused by the MMR vaccine which then caused the autism, even though 4 of the 12 children in the study experienced behavioral disorders prior to the bowel issues.  This fact alone refutes Wakefield’s theory.

There was also no control group, a critical omission casting more doubt on his findings.  A good standard of science, is that the findings can be replicated in a separate setting.  After sharing specimens with colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital in London, Wakefield’s findings could not be replicated.  His study was later retracted from the Lancet where it was originally published.

retracted-lancet-218x300

The doctor’s troubles did not end there, a paper in the Journal of Molecular Pathology written by Wakefield in 2002, was found to be critically flawed.  A recent study in the British Medical Journal found no rise in incidence of autism in children who received MMR as compared to those who did not. The authors also showed that in autistic children (both ASD and classical) the age at which a child received MMR did not affect the age at which the diagnosis of autism was made.

So why then do some parents so vehemently claim that the MMR vaccine caused their child’s Autism?  Autism is most often first identified in toddlers aged 18-30 months.  Since the MMR vaccine is administered just before this peak age, it causes some parents to link the two together.  There is no medical evidence to support this.  Extensive reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclude that there is no proven association between MMR vaccine and autism. Dr. Wakefield has since lost his license to practice medicine.

So what does all this mean to the anti-vaxers? Are they changing their stance?  No, they are not and they are just as steadfast in their decision not to vaccinate.  Many claim that the diseases that the vaccines have eradicated are not that serious. Really?  This assumption is based on what?  Their opinion?  The AAP does not take the stance that the diseases are harmless.  In fact they warn parents of the risks and urge them to vaccinate their children.  Some pediatricians are refusing to treat the children of parents who refuse to vaccinate.  They do not want their patients to be exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases in the waiting rooms.  There are also many calling for a ruling that unvaccinated children not be allowed to attend public school.

I wonder what these parents are going to think in 15 or so years from now when their daughters and sons are dating and moving toward marriage.  Have they thought that their sons could contract mumps and be sterile?  Or that their grandchild may suffer debilitating birth defects or be stillborn because their mother contracted measles during pregnancy?  Have they thought that far ahead, or do they plan to rush out and try to get their child exposed to these illnesses so they have natural immunity?

Will their pregnant daughters live in constant fear of contracting Rubella?  Will they suffer the grief of losing their baby or caring for a child with severe birth defects stemming from a medical decision based on flawed science?  Will their daughters rush out and get immunized to protect themselves after seeing the results of primary Rubella infection in unvaccinated pregnant friends and family members? Who knows what they future will hold for them.  It’s scary to think about.

While many are still touting unfounded fears linking vaccines to autism, Autism Speaks chief science officer Rob Ring, has released a statement saying vaccinations cannot cause the disorder — and telling parents to vaccinate their children.

So why do they say the measles is a harmless childhood illness?  The majority in the anti-vax movement were born after the vaccine, so they have no first-hand experience.  Prior to the vaccine, measles killed 500 people a year in the U.S.  Measles infection caused 48,000 people a year to be hospitalized and 4,000 experienced encephalitis, a dangerous condition that causes the brain to swell and caused 400-500 deaths.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases because it’s airborne and lingers in the air causing it to spread quickly.  People can spread the disease for four days before they develop any symptoms. Highly contagious, 90% of people not immune will contract the virus if exposed.

So how do you feel on the issue?  Let me know, but please keep your comments respectful.

go vaccinate your children

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Stop Posting “FML” Statuses!!!

It's just a bad day not a bad lifeNothing gets under my skin more than “FML” statuses that people post.  In fact I hate them so much, that as I go through my Facebook Feed and just quickly read them, I have to stop and say a prayer that lets God know I was just reading that and didn’t say that myself about my life.

I know to most of you that probably sounds crazy or silly, but it’s the truth.  The biggest reason I despise it is that it’s often said about very trivial things.  You know like asking for no mayo on your burger and getting one with mayo.  Sometimes it could be something more, say your car skidding on ice even though you did not hit anyone else or receive any injuries. That should not have a “FML” status but a “Thank God” or “Life is Good” status.

There are so many people struggling just to live, those with life-threatening illnesses, who are in pain and still fighting with every ounce of strength left to make it another day.  They are not posting “FML” statuses, they know how precious” life is and they are thankful for every minute.  To post a status that you missed the bus or were late to work with “FML” is just crapping on your life. Maybe it was destiny that you missed that bus, perhaps getting on that bus would have led to something very bad for you.  I believe every thing happens for a reason so if you didn’t catch the bus, try to look at it in a different way. Value your life no matter how hard it may seem at times. Never think it’s not worth it, because you need to remember there are people all over, who would trade places with you in a heartbeat.  Parents who have to stand by helplessly while their child takes their last breath, moms who have to say goodbye to their families way before their time, dads who will never get to show their son how to shave.

Life is precious, life is fragile, life is fleeting, please don’t put such little value on yours.  Cherish your life instead.  I am not saying you can’t post about having a bad day or something bad happening.  Of course you can share that and get some encouragement and hugs from friends.  It’s just the “FML” that you need to lose.  In the words of Max Ehrmann, “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

 

Max Ehrmann-Life quote

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Arctic Blasts, Cold Squirrels, Stupid Groundhogs and Things To Appreciate About Winter!!!

StupidGroundhog

I have to tell you, I have stopped looking or listening to the weather.  It seems old man winter does not want to loosen his vise grip on the Northeast.  The Arctic Blast we thought was gone is back with a vengeance, and from the little I do hear, it’s going to be days of bone-chilling cold followed by days of snow coming on the heels of the same.  Wow, with that to look forward too, I think we better make a list of things that we appreciate about this weather to get us through the next few days, weeks, but please don’t say months!!!  After all Spring is only 22 days away!!!

Things I appreciate about winter:

You can use your car as an extra freezer.

You never need to worry about frozen foods and ice cream melting like you do in summer.

The never-ending supply of snow for snow candy.

Burning calories naturally just trying to get warm.

Enjoying roaring fires in the fireplace.

The knowledge that it has to end sooner or later.

Taking lots of photos of our feathered and furry friends who are braving the same winter without coats, heat or down comforters.

The strong appreciation for the sun, spring and summer this weather puts in my heart.

Remembering it has to end.

Taking a hot shower and having warm cozy “feetie” pajamas to put on.

The ability to shop online even for my house hold necessities so I do not have to drive on black ice, freezing rain or blizzards.

Appreciating the beauty it does bring even if it overstays its welcome.

A central heating system that keeps us cozy even though the price of oil is outrageous.

Anytime seems like the perfect time to bake.

Knowing that its days are numbered and while March is coming in like that lion, it will be great to see it going out like a lamb!

Stay warm everyone!!!  Spring is only 22 days away, just keep repeating that!

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Oh The Redundancy!!! A Humorous Look at the Repetitive Nature of Advertising!!!

Back when I was a brand new mom, my mother me something after seeing the numerous issues of Child, Parents, American Baby, Baby Talk and Parenting magazine piled on the coffee table and throughout my house.  She said, “It’s great to have a subscription as a new mom but after a while you’ll see they just run the same articles again and again.”  Of course they do it with new pictures and a few word changes, but she was right!  She was right, even though I am sure I rolled eyes at that time.  I soon discovered she was so right and as the magazines filled with the predictable recycled articles filled my mailbox, they were immediately stacked or given a brief skim for any special offers before being donated to the pediatricians office.  Now, even though we read mostly in digital form you still see the same redundancy.

redundancy sign

The predictability of advertising and media can make me crazy.  How many of us wish for election day to come and go so the ugly lawn signs and the attack ads will stop.  Then we are bombarded with Black Friday ads and commercials that don’t just tell us of upcoming deals, but that we will never see prices this low, and we should leave our families at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day to go out into insane crowds only to fight and scream while trying to buy presents for a season that is supposed to be filled with joy and good will toward man.

Black Friday

After that, we are bombarded with ads that Black Friday pricing is extended right through to Cyber Monday which turns into Cyber Week and then Green Monday and Gold Monday!  The message is to buy, buy, buy, because we will never see prices this low and that our family will love us more for the gifts!

black-friday2

 

The predictability keeps coming as the ads that air on Christmas Day tell us that we need to shop the next day and “get what we really wanted.”  Prices will never be this low!  Everything is half price!  Without a bit of reprieve we are thrust into resolution season.  We know as sure as the sun rises, we’re bound for a month of weight loss ads, articles, infomercials along with White Sales, and sales on organizers to clean up all the stuff we had to buy to make our families love us!

Then the ads for life changes starts, make more money, go back to school, get a new career, start a new business, stop smoking, stop drinking and more. After that, the Valentine’s Day Massacre starts.  He doesn’t really love you unless he gets you the eternity bracelet, ring, necklace (insert whatever piece of jewelry they’re promoting) from Kay Jewelers!  Let’s not forget the roses and that a proposal on Valentine’s Day is the way to go as long as he goes to Jared!  I won’t bore you but the cycle continues month after month and year after year.

proposal

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I don’t see anything wrong with someone wanting to make a new start in the New Year, but it’s  just the way we’re hit over the head again and again that drives me insane and is the reason I’m  glad I hardly ever watch TV.  However, that doesn’t shield me, the radio, the news, in the stores, everywhere I go it’s there.  I know why they do it, it’s because just like with the recycled parenting articles there is always a new mom reading it for the first time.  Alas, even though I know it is coming, it still makes me cringe.

redundant

It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good bargain, because I do, and I share good deals I find.  I just take offense to all the high pressure and words they use that make it sound like their target market is 2 years old.  As a person who is in the media and who works in advertising, promotion and marketing I feel that a change is way overdue for less hype, less predictability and more insight and fresh approaches.  Is that too much to hope?  Sadly, as I hear another ad on how I better hurry and get to Toys R Us for the lowest prices of the year on the toys my kids HAVE to have, I think it is!

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The Dark Side of Blogging!!!

I love being a blogger, but there are some things that really suck.  That’s when you realize people have either been cheating in their entries or other bloggers are doing unscrupulous things.  That is when I become very irritated.  I thought I had seen it all; but every day I am privy to even more underhanded tactics that taint what I do, the fabulous people I have come to know and the PR reps and sponsoring companies who so generously host these reviews and giveaways.

I know many will say one person cannot make a difference but, I will certainly try. If you frequent blog giveaways you may have noticed a new trend in the blogging community.  That trend is that many bloggers are promoting the same giveaway on their pages.  Why would they do this?  They do it for inflated stats that have nothing to do with their blog, their writing, their reviews or giveaways, but are the result of riding on the coat tails of  a blogger with good stats and a good following.

These giveaways make you like as many as 100 or more Facebook pages and follow the same number on Twitter and Pinterest, subscribe to the blog newsletters and more. All the bloggers either pay for a spot or promote the giveaway earning them one free link and pay for additional links. Confused yet? The Facebook pages that a person must like are often arranged 25 to a page and the entrant must like every one, if one is not liked, they will not receive credit.

The other thing they do, is that certain entries can count as multiple entries in an effort to drive up their number of entries. For instance a blogger may say that following them on twitter counts for 25 entries, this way they get 25 entries for one small task. Why is all this done you may be asking.  It is all done in order to gain blog subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, and to boost the number of entries on their giveaways.

Why is this important?  Well, it is important to them because they believe that PR reps and sponsoring companies will be impressed by the inflated stats and send them enormous review items like washers , dryers, kitchen appliances, etc.  Sad truth is they have been getting away with it for a while now.  They are not about blogging anymore, not about content, many of them post nothing but these joint giveaways of 100 or more bloggers together for even the smallest giveaway prizes.  It hurts the people entering the giveaways because when bloggers wrote their own reviews and did individual giveaways there were more for them to enter and the amount of entries were not in the tens of thousands.

These bloggers that are doing this now are making the chances for an entrant similar to being struck by lighting with the number of entries zooming up in the hundreds of thousands. When does it end?  Well, more and more bloggers who truly care about their craft and the integrity of their blog are speaking out.  PR companies are being alerted of these inflated stats that do not mean a thing because many of the giveaways are entered by “sweepers” who will enter for any product and either sell on ebay or hoard.  They are not a representation of followers and probably have never even followed the blog prior to them having to like it for an entry.

More ugly things happening, are brand new bloggers do not put dates on their blog posts to make it look like they have been blogging longer. Another sneaky and underhanded tactic is that many unscrupulous, new bloggers are taking on the name of a very popular blog and sending that blog’s stats to the PR companies.  For instance, let’s say there is a blog that is very popular called “Rambling Mommy” a newbie will create a blog called “A Rambling Mommy” or Rambling Mommie” etc and when the PR companies ask for their social media accounts and followers they submit that blogger’s stats.  See?  They already have their blog loaded with reviews of products that they have in their house, big group giveaways and no dates so they look like this big time blogger.

If you see a new blogger suddenly getting sponsors that we as bloggers know require much hoop jumping, you can be rest assured that something fishy is going on. The last ugly thing for now is about bloggers rigging  Rafflecopter giveaways so that their immediate family members are winning the “big” giveaways.  These are on the independent giveaways but, it is more than obvious.  It really disgusts me, can you tell? I for one will not be running any of these multi giveaways on my blog and I do not rig my giveaways.  I would love to start a coalition of bloggers who feel the same and want to create a society of true bloggers with integrity.  If you are interested in banding together with me on this please contact me at carolyn@mommyramblings.org or use our contact form. Our giveaway rules can be found HERE!

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