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Choosing Grow Through Marriage by Meagan Frank (Book Review)

Posted by Swati on Jun 17, 2011 in Book Reviews

Hi Everybody:

I am so pleased (giddy actually) to share with you that my friend Meagan Frank’s book, Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage has recently been published! She and I are both working with the fabulous Linda Boulanger at Treasureline Publishing (umm…okay I am still in need of “working” as Meagan’s book is actually DONE :-) )…anyway….

Choosing to Grow Through Marriage is about the 8-year recovery of Meagan’s own breaking marriage.  Her journey includes 25 titles, 173 questionnaires and 70 women who saved her from walking away (interestingly, the women she spoke to were from all walks of life – happily married, divorced, never married  - anyone touched by marriage (which is just about anyone)).

Meagan was moved to write this book when she realized she had hit a catastrophic nadir in her life: five moves in six years, two babies under the age of two and a husband who worked 90 hours a week, left her feeling isolated and depressed. As Meagan says,”I almost made a disastrous decision and realized I had to do something significant to move forward in our marriage. I chose to research my way out….it took us four years to work on our marriage, get my identity back, and move past the darkness.”

And how does Meagan feel now that her story and her life’s work is in the public domain? Says Meagan, “I am nervous about setting it out there in the world, but I know the story will help people. If I found one resonating thing during my research it was that modern women are struggling with the way modern marriage is redefining itself. It is an ongoing conversation, and we are all navigating the new roles of mother and wife without a blueprint from our mothers.

One day I realized I didn’t want to be married anymore. Our relationship wasn’t the fun, ideal, romantic version I had created in my head, and all I wanted was to get in my car and drive far away from the life that had consumed me. Expressionless, I stood holding my nine-month-old baby as I watched our three-year-old tear apart the toys…again. No husband in sight and no light at the end of the exhausting reality. If this was marriage…I was starting to think I had promised more than I could deliver.

Eight years later, on the back side of an incredible journey, I can confidently proclaim I believe wholeheartedly in those vows of marriage. Our life isn’t always fun, ideal or romantic, but it is truly the only life I want to lead. I didn’t come to this conclusion standing still, however. Once I got my feet moving from where I felt stalled, I found strength, beauty, and joy in the most surprising places. Those discoveries came on the heels of my decision to grow. It was a choice to work through it…it was a choice to learn what I could about myself and our marriage…it was a choice to be open to changing my behavior first. Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage is the story of how I got here. It is not a fix-all manual, but it is a real account of the possibilities. We all have the capacity for change and growth…we just have to choose to do it.”

If you like this book, you’ll want be on the lookout for Meagan’s next creative projects:  Choosing to Grow: Through Youth Sports and Choosing to Grow: Through Motherhood. Meagan is planning her  book tour – and I have my fingers crossed that Chicago will be on the list!

About Megan Frank:


A 1997 graduate of Colorado College, Meagan was a high school English teacher for three years. Her son was born in 2000, her first daughter in 2002, and her second daughter in 2005. In those five child-bearing years, she was a stay-at-home mom who wrote a number of blog and magazine articles. In fall of 2003, she started research for Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage. The project included interviewing nearly 70 women, reading through a slew of articles and books and collecting 173 questionnaires. As a complement to the research, she also wrote for and maintained a website about the project. In fall of 2005, she was hired as a reporter for The Dunn County News in Menomonie, Wisconsin and for five months she did a variety of writing projects for the paper. Meagan wrote features, opinion pieces and news articles. Miscellaneous writing adventures include: winning third place in a writing contest for The Colorado College Alumni magazine, writing her grandfather’s war story in a published book about World War II, writing a feature article for the 2006 summer edition of the Chippewa Valley Business Report, and writing regularly for two blogs: one for fun called What the Blog is Going on Around Here? and another called Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage. She currently lives in Woodbury, Minnesota with her husband Paul and their three children; Nate, Haley and Kiana.

 

Thanks Meagan for sharing your story with us!

Swati

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6

Sorry Purple, I had to pick Hippo

Posted by Swati on Apr 16, 2011 in Quotes from Kids

 

Floating Hippo

What a nutty week I’ve had! Ok, a nutty year (and an obvious lack of diligence on my part when it comes to writing anything…)

Anyway, my daughter and I were out for a walk and she decided we had to play a game: “Mom, you must pick between one thing or the other…you MUST pick only one of the two.”  (Emphasized immediately, in case the rules were not clear.)

I nodded back, amused, already planning to multi-task in my head.

“Ok, what would you pick, Mom, Hippos or Purple? You can only have one and never have the other for the rest of your life!  The. rest. of. your. life. Mom.”

What?  I was expecting “Hippo or Giraffe” and “Purple or Red.” But Hippo vs. Purple?

I started to contemplate. Well purple is kind of like my favorite color, blue. And could I stand not to see a lavender plant ever again? But Hippos are so chubby and cute…and I will always look skinny next to one….and I do love Hippo and Dog singing Lion Sleeps Tonight on YouTube (a must see)…and what about grape popsicles?  Could I do without dark purple eye shadow? Have you ever seen a hippo float? It’s adorable (obvious from the photo above from vacation to Animal Kingdom this summer).

I did this for a good 12 minutes and my daughter never rushed me – this was a serious game.

In the end, I chose Hippo over Purple – (Purple, I want you to know that it was so close.

My daughter paused and gave me a serious look, then a quick nod of her head to mark the solemn moment we just had.

I have a strange urge to draw a hippo, and color her purple; don’t you?

 

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Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America by Adam Pertman (Book Review)

Hello Everyone:

Today’s post is a book review on Adoption Nation: How Adoption is Transforming the American Family by Adam Pertman. It’s an incredible read for anyone touched in any way by adoption (which it turns out is more people than you may think) or any one interested in learning more about the topic.

As a nation, we have adopted more than 130,000 children annually from within the United States and from abroad. That translates to more than 100 million people in our country (!!!) today having some form of adoption in their immediate families – and it means that you don’t have to look too far to see that nearly everyone is connected to this extraordinary, misunderstood, controversial, life-altering institution in some way.

I am not one for sensationalized stories – for me, the attraction to this book comes from the more common, everyday experiences of those touched by adoption. Most moving is the glimpse into the varied emotions of adoptee children: joy and curiosity, depression and confusion, identity crisis, new found inner strength, love and so much more.

Enjyoy the review and consider picking up this moving, insightful, and sometimes surprising book.

- Swati

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Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America

 

Adoption Nation takes on the challenge of explaining the historic changes enveloping us all – and does so with a unique combination of engaging prose, gripping stories, insightful perspective and exceptional research.

Its author, Adam Pertman, is one of the most influential experts in his field and Adoption Nation has been called “the most important book ever written on the subject.”

Inspired by his Pulitzer-nominated series while a reporter with the Boston Globe, the first edition of Adoption Nation(2000) captured an important piece of U.S. history and was a game-changer for child welfare professionals, policy-makers, and members of what Pertman calls “the extended family of adoption” (adopted individuals, birth and adoptive relatives).

The new, fully revised edition updates the “adoption revolution” with all of its joys and disappointments, its personal and policy issues, its complexities and controversies.

“There’s no exaggerating how much has occurred over the last decade – from the adoptive mother who recently ‘returned’ her son to Russia, to the children orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti; from the ongoing debate over transracial adoptions, to the still-unregulated Wild West of adoption on the Internet; from the decline in secrecy and shame in adoption, to the explosion of reunions between adopted people and their birth families; and from the precipitous drop in international adoptions to the soaring rise in adoptions of boys and girls from foster care, including by growing numbers of gay and lesbian parents,” said Pertman. “When I looked at the landscape, I felt compelled to do a thorough rewrite of the stories, of the research and of the phenomenon itself.”

More comprehensive, more up-to-date, more moving – and more useful – than any other book on the subject, the new edition of Adoption Nation is an invaluable resource for prospective and current parents and their children. And it is a passionate call-to-arms for equality and social justice, as well as a unique tool for educators, policymakers and professionals.

ADAM PERTMAN is the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. A highly sought-after speaker, Pertman has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations internationally, and is the recipient of many awards for his work. He is the Associate Editor of Adoption Quarterly and has contributed to numerous publications on family issues. Pertman is widely quoted by journalists and has appeared as a guest on “Oprah,” “Today,” “The View,” “Nightline,” among other national programs. Before embarking on his current career, Pertman was a senior journalist with The Boston Globe for over two decades. He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the editorial advisory board of Adoptive Families magazine, the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America and the Advisory Board of Orphans International, among others. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and their two children. Learn more at www.adampertman.com.

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day to All the Mommas

Posted by Swati on Apr 8, 2011 in Meaningful Mommy Moments

Ha

Hello Mommas:

Have a spectacular Mother’s Day! My day began with a card from my little Moose proclaiming that she was perfect in every way because I was such a good mom :-) !

Then Hubby gave me a wonderful card saying that I was a great role model for our girls…and he also mentioned how excited he was about the Soccer game that was starting in a few hours (what?)….

We are off to a luncheon at a local French Bistro.

I wish up on you no dirties (diapers, clothes, kids, dishes), lots of bloomies (flowers, anything from Bloomingdales), and a minimum of one hour of absolutely nothing to do!

Have a wonderful day Ladies!

Swati

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Working Moms are a Cross Between Wonder Woman, Cinderella and a Dish Rag (Guest Post by badassmama)

Posted by Swati on Apr 7, 2011 in Crazy Days, Guest Posts

Hi All – Enjoy this hilarious post by badassmama (whom I also blog with at Working Mother Magazine )…that first sentence about working moms was all need to read to know that we are blood sisters! Please be sure to check out her blog when you can too, which is where I lifted this post from…

- Swati

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When you really think about it, most working moms are like a cross between Wonder Woman,Cinderella (without the whole need-to-be-rescued thing) and a dish rag.

Let me explain.

Most days of the week, we rise with the dawn and put on our superhero costume. While Diana favored golden hot pants and an eagle-encrusted corset, most working moms lean more toward the suit-and-pumps look. We apply our superhero mask (one part concealer, two parts tinted moisturizer and one part mascara/blush/lip gloss – we might even sweep on some eye shadow on a good day). We drop the kids to day care or school, leave them with the nanny or a grandparent and off we go to save the world (or at least our little corner of any given corporation).

Over the course of the day, at least a few times each week, we are complimented on our intelligence and strategic planning skills. Someone may flirt with us on the street. We are looked upon with admiration and even envy by young folks just entering our profession, or kids just looking to get their foot in the door with an informational interview. When we go out of town for a business meeting, industry event or speaking engagement we can feel inspired, aspirational, powerful.

And then we come home.

The front door itself can feel like Kryptonite, slowly but consistently eating away at our super powers. We remove our super suit (boogers and Oreo crumbs are never a good look)), take off the pumps and wash off the mask because really, what’s the point? We change into something dreary, comfortable, machine washable and slowly but consistently transform from the belle of the ball to something more akin to a dishrag. Always dirty, often smelly and constantly cleaning up someone else’s mess. And like a dish rag, we’re not much to look at. Taken for granted really. We do our jobs and end each day crumpled up, stained and thrown into the corner without much thought.

In the morning, we press repeat and the cycle continues.

I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to feel more like Wonder Woman than a dish rag. Well, a girl can always dream…

p.s. Took the trip to California. Gave a great speech at the business school on Saturday, took the red eye home and returned to 2 sick kids. Just call me Super-Cinderella.

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DO’s and DON’Ts of Internet Dating: Advice from eHarmony UK (Guest Post)

 

Hi everyone: Here are some wonderful words of advice from my friends at eHarmony UK –  I have to say that filling out those online questionnaires on eHarmony really made me think hard about what I wanted in a partner…hope you find this useful!

Swati

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Internet Dating

Here are a few guidelines to get you started in the heady world of internet dating…

Do think about your deal breakers. Online dating is very different to conventional dating, because the pool of people available is so much bigger. Once you’ve signed up to a good online site, you’ll find a vast array of possible dating partners. Faced with all this choice, it’s easy to get sidelined. So before you decide who to message, poke or email, be aware of what’s important to you in a relationship. If you know you couldn’t date someone who has a big dog, skip the profile picture with the Alsatian! The point of internet dating is to find someone who’s just right for you. However…

Don’t make snap judgements. Remember, profile pictures are just one shot. And though ‘About Me’ sections are helpful, a spelling mistake or a flat joke doesn’t mean that you’ve no chance of compatibility. So there’s no harm in giving someone who reaches out to you the benefit of the doubt. Profiles are just first impressions; communicating further or emailing can give you a real idea of the person.

Don’t become obsessive. Online dating allows you to enter the wide world of New York-style dating, where (unlike real-world London or Manchester dating it’s perfectly OK to show an interest in several people at once). Until you meet up with someone, there’s no obligation to commit. So don’t just pick the one person who seems right for you; choose a whole lot of different people to reach out to. And if someone doesn’t seem to return your interest, let it go and move on – there are plenty more fish in the sea.

Do move it into the real world as soon as possible. Online dating is a great way to meet people, not a way to carry on a relationship. You’re more likely to find people you click with with the help of a database of compatible people, but online dating is about finding likely mates. Once you’ve exchanged a few messages, try moving things on to phone or meeting in person. There’s no point in stalling a great thing at the messaging level! But…

Do stay safe. As with all dates, don’t meet up with someone for the first time without telling a friend where you’re going and when you should be back. Don’t give out any bank account details or private information (such as your address) over the internet to someone you haven’t met.

Do be confident. Last but not least, remember that there’s nothing to lose. The beauty of the online dating world is that everyone whose profile you see is interested in a relationship. Unlike approaching someone in the bar, there’s no chance that the person you approach will be taken or disinterested in dating (ok, we are assuming here that the people you run into are being truthful – as most are). So follow your instincts, and message that cutie whose profile pic you like – there’s everything to gain.

 

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Doggie Doc Say WHAT?!

Posted by Swati on Mar 20, 2011 in Meaningful Mommy Moments, My Posts at Working Mother Mag

 

One mommy, calling the Vet: ” Hi.  Orzo seems to be rubbing his bottom on the rug ALL the time now…umm…I understand things can get itchy every now and then, I mean I am a mom….I mean, uh, well it’s just that it’s ALL the time and uh…”

Receptionist at Vet, most likely rolling her eyes: “Ma’am? Sorry to interrupt you. But it sounds like he needs his anal glands expressed.”

Mommy: “Excuse me?”

Receptionist: “Well the anal glands secreet a liquid that should release when Orzo has a bowel movement but sometimes little dogs have trouble with that.”

Mommy: praying not to hear “anal glands” again.

Mommy: “Excuse me?”

Receptionist: “Can you bring him in now?  We have time to to express his anal glands right now.”

Mommy: oh God she said it.

Mommy: “Uhhh. Right.”

Interlude where the mommy drives the Orzo-doggie to the Vet and they take him to the *back*…he comes back out looking violated.

Vet: “Here’s the little guy Miss. Now you will have to bring him in about every 4-6 weeks to have his anal glands manually expressed.”

Mommy:  Does everyone around here love saying that? Like I like saying ‘Holy Crap!’ Is that what it is?!?

Mommy: ” Uhhh….excuse me?”

Vet: “And we do charge $25 each time so there’s a lot of people who just have us show them how to do it at home….do you want me to show y…?”

DOGGIE DOC SAY WHAT???!!!

Mommy and Orzo back away slowly, leaving the vet with one finger in the air.

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Making the Most of Your Time With Your Kids (Guest Post by Maureen Page)

Posted by Swati on Mar 16, 2011 in Guest Posts, Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

Hi Everyone:

Today we have a thoughtful guest post by Maureen Page, momma and superhero to 2 equally super kids, aged 12 and 15.  She is especially known for her carrot peeling and apple washing abilities. Maureen’s post has some great reminders for all of us about putting family first.

Enjoy and thanks Maureen!

Swati

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Family First by Maureen Page

We are pulled in so many directions, that sometimes, spending time with the family gets pushed to the bottom of the list. A little massaging of the schedule and the daily routine and you can turn things completely around. The nice thing is that you don’t have to do much to create quality time, and to begin living the motto Family First!

 

BEGIN AND END TOGETHER:

Two things that parents and children have in common are residence and sustenance. Put them together, and you have the makings of some real family time.  Set everyone’s alarm clock just a few minutes early, and gather together in the kitchen for a bite and some encouraging conversation.  Greeting your children before they go off to school or work, making sure they begin the day with some proper nutrition, sends your child off for the day on a supporting note.

End the day with a family gathering, by creating a nightly dinner event.  This final meal offers wonderful opportunities to reestablish connection. It also provides the perfect opportunity to obtain timely information about your child’s activities, accomplishments, and frustrations.  Staying informed will help you maintain crucial influence, and provide steady guidance for situations your child has encountered during his or her day.

PLAY TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER:

As adults, we all need a certain amount of attention to feel good about ourselves. But children need it for their very development.  Sharing an activity is a fantastic way to deepen communication and provide a stable basis for shared understanding.  You can help forge strong bonds by finding common interests, and sharing them with your child.

DEMONSTRATE GENUINE INTEREST:

No matter the age, find something that your child likes to do, and tag along. If your daughter is at the dolls and tea party stage, take 5 minutes, and join her at the table for a sip or two.  Tell her how lovely Miss Bunny looks in her Easter frock, or how delicious the tea is this particular day.

If your son wants to be a rock star, show up at the beginning or end of his jam session with a plate of cookies or a cooler of soda for the guys. Spend a few minutes listening to their song. If you can find a few words of honest admiration for how they’re coming along, you’ll gain a lot of points.

If your child is older, engage them in an adult discussion about the job, or their choice of college or future goals. Try to listen to what they say without offering advice or criticism. You can always slip in some words of wisdom at another time, but for right now, remain open and non-judgmental.  Your child is much more likely to hear your hard-won words of advice after they’ve had the chance to express without having to defend.

KEEP THE COMMUNICATION CHANNEL CLEAR:

One of the biggest impediments to communication nowadays, is the overwhelming proliferation of electronic devices, all competing for your child (and your) attention. The best way to gain the cooperation of your child in minimizing these distractions is for you to be the role model.

Let your child know that when you’re driving him or her to a destination, your cell phone goes OFF because you want to make certain that nothing will interrupt your time together. Demonstrating how important it is for you to have your full attention on your child to talk, laugh, sit in companionable silence, will go a long way toward quieting the objections. Let them know that yes, it’s hard for mom or dad to put their phone away too, but it’s just that important for them to have your full attention.

This is also a great opportunity for you to explain the appropriate time and use for electronic devices.  Outline a schedule for putting devices away: meal times, travel time, school hours, bed time.  If you allow reasonable times for use, and follow your own rules, enforcing non-use will be a lot less problematic.

Change is never easy, but with these few, simple steps, you can lay the groundwork for open communication, respect for the rules, and trust in the idea that family takes precedence over all else.

About the Author

This article was written by Maureen Page, mom, and VP of Discount Security Cameras, your source for quality security cameras and security camera systems. Be sure to visit the Interactive Security Camera Learning Center mentioned in this article.

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And Then He Said “I Do” (or, Single Mom Gets Married)

Posted by Swati on Mar 13, 2011 in Dating as a Single Mom, Meaningful Mommy Moments

Hellooooo Everyone!

I am SO sorry about my long absence!  Life has been a whirlwind, with an engagement in August, and then our wedding on New Years Eve 2010…add on a new job that I started in January, and, well, I am just coming up for air!

So on to the first and most important bit of news – I am MARRIED!  And (drum roll please) we can now call  ”J.” by his actual name, John.

So, coming back to the title of this post, John did say “I Do.” Right after we read our vows to each other our warm, charming, and twinkle-eyed Justice of the Peace said,”Now John, I am about to ask you a question to which there is only one right answer…”  Both of us, as well as the twenty family members we had in attendance, chuckled in amusement and joy.  And then, just like that, we said our “I Do’s and we were married!

Everything was just as I wanted it – well…er…the cake was the wrong color, the Champagne glasses were no where to be seen for our first toast, and the wait staff began to cut the cake before WE cut the cake!!  But, guess what? We didn’t care because we were as giddy as a kid on a magic carpet…suffice to say nothing could have torn the million dollar smiles from our faces, nothing.

How does it feel?   Wonderful.  You see, everything is “right with the world when we are together.”*

* Quote from my vows :-) .

I will be back soon!

XO

Swati

ps Here is a photo of us right after the wedding…


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6

These Yoga Pants Make My Butt Svelt

Posted by Swati on Jan 30, 2011 in Shop!

These yoga pants make my butt look SVELT!  Seriously.  Since I’ve been an on-again-off-again yogi , I’m thinking its not the 27 yoga classes over the last 43 years that make my butt look delic.  I’m thinking it’s the pants.

What are these magical derrière  voodoo pants?  Before I tell you – they also do the same to my post-baby droopy belly….ok, ok, before you start frothing at the mouth, it’s The Girls Yoga Pants!

Now I am not why or how these yoga pants have this magical Jack and the Beanstalk  quality; what I do know is that they are the comfiest yoga pants I own – that’s another way of saying that even though they make my beloved lumps and layers disappear, they don’t hurt  and I don’t feel like I cannot breathe (I know, I just told you a minute ago that I do yoga about every nine months, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying lots of yoga apparel – go figure :-) ).

These pants rank right up there with my favorite Nike yoga pants…yet they don’t cost an arm or a leg…check them out ladies so you too can admire your own bottom before you life a finger, step atop a Stairmaster, or even ponder a yogic thought.

Enjoy -
Swati

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