Archive for January, 2011

How Sweet It Is

Or So I Wish It Were

I suppose it depends on the day, the hour, the weather, the circumstances….It’s pretty unpredictable.

Sunday marks yet another one of my kid’s birthdays.  Not that every birthday isn’t special, it absolutely is, yet this milestone is my oldest daughter’s “Sweet 16” birthday.

Just like a lot of moms and their teenage daughters, our relationship is a bit strained.  All I want to do is, especially in light of her birthday, is to create a special, happy memory.
So I threw a couple of “surprise party” ideas past my husband asking him what he thought she would like to do, on top of the standard big family party (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a few other VIPs considered family).

You never know, as he answered, “Honey, you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”  You see, on top of the challenged relationship, my daughter suffers from clinical depression and January is a real beast of a month for us. Read More…

So, I decided I’d delicately ask her what she thought of my plan, and despite a bit of a revision…we’re going with it!  That is, if the world doesn’t come crumbling down.  It just may.

While there are many times that she pushes me to a point where I just want to wring her neck, there are just as many times that I just want to cry and I do cry because she suffers and I feel so helpless.  Yes, we seek the help of professionals.  She sees and is under the care of both a psychiatrist and a clinical therapist.

Turning 16 should be something to look forward to and happily celebrate.  At the very least, I am hoping for the sunshine to come back strong one of these days and bring some rays of light and hope for my “baby”.  Happy 16th Birthday, Sweetie!


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The Dumb and The Dedicated

Frozen Babies in the Tundra

I was born and raised in Packerland, Titletown…good’ ole Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Okay, well a suburb… Howard.  Same thing, except our schools had their own district.  To say I could’ve ever became anything but a Packer fan, would just be ridiculous.  It was just part of your life growing up in Green Bay…Packer players lived in your neighborhood and attended your church, I even hung out with Jerry Kramer’s son, Dan. (I actually had a bit of a crush on him.  Who didn’t? He was hot!)

But of course, being a fan runs the gamut of the fair-weathered fan to the “extreme, over-the-top, to the extent that you are just plain stupid” fan.

I remember the excitement of Superbowl XXXI back in January of 1997.  I absolutely could not settle for watching the game in Racine (dang, couldn’t afford a ticket either), so I ventured back to my hometown.  The day before the big game, I had to go shopping, so I went to Bay Park Square Mall which is just south of Lambeau Field.  People were in a crazed daze. Packer paraphernalia was pushed out of the store’s into the mall aisles, like a Packer Sidewalk Sale. You would look out of place if you didn’t have something Packer plastered to your body. It was Football frenzy like I have NEVER, EVER seen or felt before in my life.Read More…

We all know how that game played out…Packer’s victory! Superbowl XXXI Champions!  Brett Favre!  Whoot Whoot!  After screaming, jumping, and high-fiving our win, a group of us jumped into the Explorer and headed down to Lambeau.  The chunks of snow that fell and the euphoric state of those that gathered on the streets around and in the stadium’s parking lot made for what I could only describe as a Packer dreamland snow globe.  Had this really happened?

Shirtless men, along with Green Bay Press Gazette paper hawkers, walking along Oneida Street are amongst the many visions still vividly etched in my memory.  People were actually kissing the stadium.

Plans for the team’s homecoming celebration were quickly in the works and publicized.  The Packers were coming home and I was going to welcome and celebrate with the Superbowl Champions (along with 60,000 others) in the Frozen Tundra.

To say that Lambeau was anything but frozen, would be an understatement.  Wind chills were hovering around zero, if not below.  I prepared with layers under my ski pants, down parka, wool socks, ski gloves, and Sorel boots (“protection to -40 degrees” proclaimed the tag on the boots).  I topped off this ensemble with a wedge of cheese.  Yup, that foam does insulate, as well as decorate.

We watched and cheered as the Jumbotron displayed our champs’ plane landing at Austin Straubel Field, which is just a couple of miles west of Lambeau.  We saw them deplane and board a windowless bus that was to parade them through town straight to the stadium.  What was anticipated to be an hour long celebratory trip, stretched out to about 3 hours.  Go figure, the fans that lined the parade route, had to get their “fix”, too.  They slowed that bus down to a turtle’s pace.

Beer does not keep a body warm.  Neither does coffee or hot chocolate.  Nor does walking laps under the stadium seats to pass the time and to keep the body moving.  I am fan, but, truly, I watched their progression to the Lambeau destination in pain.  To what extent to you risk frost bite?  Not only me, but the other tens of thousands of crazy people who were waiting there with me?  We were all truly nuts.

What mortified me more than the agony of my own hurting, frozen, stiff body were the numbers of young children that were, I am sure, equally as freezing as I was, with less protection.  These poor kids were dragged out into the blustery cold, their well-being sacrificed all for the sake of their parent having to see our beloved Packers.  I remember specifically a baby, probably about 9 months old, being held in her daddy’s arms: pink snowsuit, socks, no mittens.  I saw them under the seats, so it was a couple of hours into the wait. This baby had to be subjected to these conditions for at least two hours, if not more. Really?  Are the Packers THAT important?

As we looked toward this weekend’s battle (and hopefully another matchup in Dallas), let’s hope that we all put into perspective how important football is in the scheme of things.  We are parents first….our football fanship needs to take a backseat to our kids.

I am excited at the prospect that the Green Bay Packers may take home the title of Superbowl XLV Champs!  And for the sake of my brother, Green Bay City Traffic Engineer, and possible “victims of their parent’s stupidity” kids, that the team’s path back to a Lambau Field celebration is warmer and faster.

Go Packers!

Note:  I found this archived article that details what some of the Packer players experienced during that victory parade and celebration. Gives me the chills!

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Tweet Tweet, Watch What You Eat

Cheer Up, Baby Chick

by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Pleasant Prairie, Bonnie Hahn

This post is pretty personal and a bit of a testimonial, but will also hopefully serve as a ray of hope to some folks out there who deal with mood disorders or behavioral issues, whether in themselves or their family or friends.

My son recently turned 9.  He’s a great kid, smart, very social, active in Taekwondo.  He is mine, I own him, and I love him to pieces.  I don’t care how ‘cool’ he is…I will grab him and kiss him and squeeze the daylights out of him any time I please.  That’s my boy.  My first, my oldest, my son.  Any parent knows what I’m talking about, you will do anything for your kids!

From the time he was a baby we knew we were in for a heck of ride – he has always been strong-willed.  At first it may seem an undesirable quality, especially in a small child, but strong-willed can be good!  If cultivated correctly, he can turn into one determined, confident, knows-what-he-wants-and-does-what-it-takes-to-get-it adult.  But recently he has seemed…out of sorts.  Honestly, he’s been a miserable sh-t.  Moping around, being nasty with a bad attitude, seemingly upset or angry all the time.  I’ve had a hard time even talking to him because he’s immediately defensive and angry.  This has not made for very pleasant family time!  I want my happy little boy back.
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I’ve done a lot of thinking and worrying about him.  Should we see a counselor?  Is there something ‘wrong’ with him?  What am I doing wrong as a parent?  OMG, should he be medicated?  Maybe I’m not strict enough.  Maybe I’m TOO strict.  Could it be diet or allergies?  Do we not give him enough attention?  WTF is his PROBLEM?!?!

As you may know, I am very health conscious and do what I can here at home with natural remedies first.  Naturally the first thing I think of is food allergies.  Maybe there’s something he is eating that makes him act out.  It’s certainly not unheard of!  (Food coloring is a big offender when it comes to behavior).  Over the past couple years I have cut the artificially colored, flavored and processed foods down to very little here at home.  No cow’s milk, no meat with ‘added hormones’, etc.  Naturally, it’s hard to control what goes on at the school lunch table or at friend’s houses or where ever, but we do our best where we live and spend most of our time.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t helped a whole lot with his attitude.

Being a Shaklee distributor, I’ve learned so much about what supplements do what for you, and what happens when you’re deficient.  One of the first things you learn is that B vitamins are your ‘happy pill’.  Sounds good! Bottoms up, boy!  (And husband, and mother, and sister, and…kidding, kidding!)  So I’ve been giving the child a single B Complex tablet every morning with his breakfast, along with another Shaklee product called Moodlift Complex.  Moodlift contains St. John’s Wort along with a proprietary blend that helps the St. John’s Wort be more effective.

We’ve been doing this for a week now, and the difference is AMAZING.  He wakes up in the morning joking and energetic.  I’ve been communicating with his teacher by email all this week, and she has said that the boy is much more focused and on task at school all day. When he comes home from school he actually speaks to me and tells me how his day was!  He is agreeable and hasn’t been nearly as argumentative as before.  The negativity is not completely gone, but it is so far in the background that if I was not overly conscious of it I’m not sure I would realize it was there.

I guess my point here is sometimes a little bit of the right stuff can make all the difference in the world.  Nutrition is such a huge part of our lives, and so many people don’t realize how important it is and how it affects SO MUCH of what we do.  Too many times people resort to heavy medications to ‘fix’ a behavior that could easily be remedied by changes in diet or by supplementing a deficiency.  Not all cases of course…there are many children that need the heavier stuff on a daily basis, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Simple solutions aren’t always going to work for everyone, I’m not trying to say they are.  But if you’ve been feeling down, don’t run to the doc and get a prescription for Zoloft.  Try a natural remedy first – diet, fitness and nutrition. You might be surprised! 

Read more of Bonnie’s blogs (including this one!) at

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“You Don’t Know JAK…or Do You?”

Just Add Kids 101

New Year’s greetings to all!  I thought I would start out the first JAK Happenings e-newsletter of 2011 reviewing for some/ introducing to others, the basics of Just Add Kids!

I am always surprised when I learn that someone who knows about and is familiar with Just Add Kids doesn’t realize all of what JAK’s got to offer.  So let’s get this class started!

First of all, Just Add Kids is many times referred to as it’s acronym JAK. The Just Add Kids business provides resources that are quickly and easily accessible for families looking primarily for kid-oriented, family-friendly activities and events. JAK currently focuses on serving those in Racine, Kenosha and the surrounding communities with children ages preborn through 18.

At this time, JAK’s product offerings consist of:
e-newsletters: weekly JAK Happenings, monthly JAK Birthday Bash, seasonal CAMP JAK.
social network sites: JAK on Facebook, and JAK on Twitter.
blog: JAKChat
special events: Just Add Kids Expo 2010 and coming in February Read More…

is the activeKIDSEXPO!  More on this coming very soon to the website.

So you think that the JAK Happenings weekly e-newsletter is pretty awesome? You’ve found out about and participated in some great things that were listed in the Happenings sections.  Well, don’t hold back!  Plus that, you might be missing out if you don’t access the website’s full calendar of events throughout the week, coincidentally called Just Add Kids Happenings Calendar of Events.  (To go there now, click here:

Don’t let the info flow stop there!  JAK follows relevant businesses, organizations, events and destinations and will disseminate announcements and updates that you as a parent/grandparent/educator/child care provider should know about.  These things impact your lives and the lives of your children.  So if you’ve ventured into wild world of social networking sites, please add Just Add Kids to your friend base, likes, and follows.  Again, JAK only participates in two…Facebook and Twitter.

So do you fully get it?  JAK doesn’t claim to be a teacher, or a writer!  Just a bundle of tied together resources that puts family fun at your fingertips.

Oh my, I think I just gave birth to a slogan!

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