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We live in the Capital District of New York. Our area was locked down in a state of emergency Monday and part of Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy’s unpredictable path made officials take extreme precautions after Hurricane Irene. People in our area are muttering about the hype, but I am not one of those individuals. No, I am counting my blessings. My family, home, and memories are secure because Sandy did not turn into our direction. What missed us did not spare countless others. Lives were lost, homes destroyed, destinations changed forever, and precious family memories lost.
Our family in PA, NJ, and NYC/Long Island have all finally checked in with us. They have storm damage and have been without power, but they are alive. Their homes were also spared a lot of what others on more coastal areas experienced. Hurricane Sandy may have “only been a category 1” storm just before she slammed into the NJ shore, but she was the biggest storm that anyone has ever seen in our region.
The reality is that the northeast is not well equipped for hurricanes because up until recent years, they were rather rare in these parts. Now, it seems to be a shifting reality. While we have the equipment to remove snow, ice, and winter weather – hurricanes and tropical storms are not something we typically brace for, especially in late October.
Growing up, I spent a lot summers going to Ocean City, MD. Vacations on the beach watching waves, time with extended family, bringing home pet hermit crabs, and more. I watched in horror and disbelief as the ocean ran up to buildings, home and businesses filled with water, and sand moved long distances away from the beach area. In this area, the bay overflowed and in some cases, the ocean breached the sea wall.
While in college, I had season tickets for the Albany River Rats hockey team. They were the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. During this time, I became very good friends with an amazing group of people who live in New Jersey. We used to spend time at their house during training camp and at playoff time when we ventured to Philadelphia. I have memories of cruising in convertible cars, walking on the boardwalk, and enjoying the beauty of the beach front area. Now, the photos make it look like a completely different world. The boardwalk was ripped off and a lot of homes on the beachfront were totaled along with stores and restaurants. Ocean Avenue and many other blocks are now covered in sand.
While I could have selected photos of Sandy’s destruction in these areas and beyond, I wanted to remind us of the beauty. The news has plenty of the heartbreaking images to go around. We must remember that each of the states that was hit needs our support. These places are homes to many people living in them full time. They are in need of massive work that will take lots of time, energy, and of course money. Together, we can help them to rebuild so more generations can experience the beauty of these amazing places up and down the east coat. Please consider donating blood, items, or money to charities that will support the individual in this area that have lost so much. Resourceful Mommy has great tips on how to help after Hurricane Sandy.
A huge thank you to my friends for their help with photos. I knew that I wanted to write this post and did not know where my pictures from trips were located. Sandy was able to send me these gorgeous views of Ocean City, MD and Shelley the ones of her hometown beach in New Jersey. Also a big thanks to my OC expert Shannan who was able to tell me more about how it looks now.
Right now people up and down the East Coast of the United States are getting ready for what meteorologist and the media have dubbed the Frankenstorm. Hurricane Sandy has also caused lives to be lost in her path, and more destruction from extreme win and rain are likely. Thanks to Hurricane Irene just over a year ago, we have all learned to listen to weather reports and take them seriously. It is better to be more cautious about things than have regrets later on. The hardest part, the waiting game and watching the always changing news reports. Where will Sandy make landfall, where will she go after that, and how much wind and rain will everyone really see. A huge thank you to my friend Sandy in Pennsylvania for sharing this photo from the news in her area.
To all of my friends and family who are in the line of Hurricane Sandy, stay safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as we get ready for what she tosses your way. It certainly looks to be windy, rainy, and possibly issues with flooding in many areas. We have had to regroup with the boys just in case we can not go out for Halloween on Wednesday. I asked someone the other day if the Capital Region has ever canceled school for a hurricane or tropical storm, and it does not seem like it. Lots of Nor Easters, but nothing that combines the two together.
While I am nervous, this time I am able to concentrate a lot more on the reality of the storm. With Hurricane Irene, I was forced to cancel a 10th Anniversary Trip to Walt Disney World with TechyDad. That distraction meant that I was not thinking about food if we lost power. I went grocery shopping very early Saturday morning. We usually get groceries on Sunday, so we needed items. I avoided the crowds and bought thing that were needed and useful should we lose power.
Please remember safety first. If you need to evacuate your area, do it immediately. Your life and loved ones are worth so much more than material items.
Since it is National Bullying Prevention Month, additional focus has been going around about bullying. In July, New York State implemented The Dignity for All Students Act. The act is so fresh and new that a lot of people are still trying to understand how it will work to protect children that are victims of bullies.
The sad reality is that many children are bullied day in and day out. My son has had to deal with this multiple times in his short life, and I have even seen it with younger children. Several years ago, I wrote a post about bully battles that were happening to NHL. He was in second grade and everything seemed to be coming unglued. Dealing with bullying was not something that we needed to add to the mix. Since it’s National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought I would share this in the hopes that it would spur some more important conversations. The reality is that kids often need our assistance and many times may be too scared or unsure of how to ask for it. Taking the time to open the lines of communication is key.
Growing up is hard to do. Kids these days have more responsibilities and items on their plate than many of us did when we were children. Many times, there are things happening at school that our children do not tell us about, even if we have open relationships.
Why? Well, perhaps they are afraid, feel it is tattle-telling, or have been told not to utter a word. As a parent, it is so hard to know what is going on in the mind of our children. Yet, we often know when something is not quite right. Sometimes we see behavior changes, other times our children regress, and, worse, some try to get away from everything going on within their part of the universe. As parents, we need to try to help our kids to know what to do.
The topic du jour in schools around the country is bullying. Educators are trying to reach out to kids, parents, and fellow teachers to help with this matter. Bloggers all over, including my husband (TechyDad) have written about this topic in recent weeks.
What is a bully? According to the definition a bully is a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. Some people may not believe that a child in elementary school could be a bully. Do not be so naïve. It happens and happens often. Bullies these days not only push other kids physically, but they often use verbal tactics to taunt their targets. If they know a child is not as socially suave, they try to goad them. Kids are smart. They know when another individual may take the blame for something just to be accepted. This, too, is a form of subtle bullying going on in schools today.
Recently, I was waiting with my son before an after school commitment. Several children were inside the room and I did not want to leave until an adult arrived. The kids knew I were there. Even with me in sight, they started to make fun of my child. They wrote his name on the board. NHL is a ______! My child did nothing. He just stood there ignoring it. The kids were getting upset that he was not responding, so they upped the comments. They then started calling him rude, nasty names, and wrote it on the board.
After a few minutes, I went into teacher mode. I stormed in and asked if they wanted me to take a picture to show their parents their work. Perhaps they would be proud of what they had done. My child continued to ignore the situation. Was he oblivious, or so hurt that he was bottling up his feelings and withdrawing from the negative environment? Once an adult arrived, I went to report it to the person in charge. I will spare you with the details, but suffice to say they were ill prepared to deal with the bullying going on.
So my question to you. As a parent, how do you help your child when you know they are being bullied, but do not want to open up about the situation?
There are so many other items that could be mentioned now, but perhaps those will be for another day. For now, please help to educate your children about the dangers of bullying and talk to them frequently so they feel comfortable talking with you.
Disclosure: Parts of this post were previously published on a project I worked on during the my son had this experience. The text is mostly the same, but I placed a new introduction to go along with National Bullying Prevention Month.
As a parent, we quickly learn that we are the best advocates for our children. Of course, sometimes doing this is easier than other times. Some days, it can be grueling, leaving you in tears, and making you wonder if you are all alone. Those days are hard on the spirit and can definitely knock the wind out of you. On days like that, you learn who your true friends are and who is on your side. Then you make yourself take a deep breath to figure out a plan B, C, D, and maybe even E.
As a parent of a child with special needs, I understand this feeling all too well. Years of struggles, countless different answers, and lots of time, energy, and money spent. Watching a child blossom and grow because of early intervention is one of the most amazing items to experience. Your work as an advocate, your child’s grueling hours spent in therapy, and their therapists’ expertise make it worth it when you reach goals that you never believed could happen at one time or another.
Countless people are battling these items each and every day while trying to understand why their child is a statistic. Why is their son, daughter, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, husband, wife, mother, father, cousin, or other person that they love part of the 1 in 88 living with Autism?
On Sunday, October 21, Comedy Central will be airing a special called Night of Too Many Stars. For the fourth year in a row, celebrities will be working together to raise money for Autism charities that support the educational needs of children and families. They not only help to provide programs for the children, but also education for teachers that will be working with the kids in their classrooms. Here is a sneak peek of Jodi DiPiazza:
Jodi and her family are a true inspiration to watch and see that with the right educational tools, kids with special needs can reach goals. With assistance, support, love, and understanding – they can seek new heights and go after their dreams.
There is no cure for Autism, but together we can make a difference to allow people to reach their potential. Remember never to judge a child, parent, or anyone because often you do not know what is happening behind the scenes. Be supportive, help if you can, or just move along and try not to stare. To those amazing individuals out there that work with families like mine, a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We live in a part of the country that is lucky enough to experience all four of the seasons. My favorite really is the fall. The weather is not too cold, hot, or humid like other times of the year. Typically, there is not a lot of snow, we do not need to wear heavy jackets, and usually we can do a lot outside. This year, the weather has not allowed us to get to our favorite family activity for the fall. We love to go apple picking. We are able to explore the orchards together. It is fun to watch the kids running around and picking apples that they proudly snack on. Then, when we get home TechyDad, the kids, and I think about items the make. One of our favorites is to get the apples ready for our own fresh applesauce. Eating it warm out of the crock makes it seem like a special treat.
Since the weather is not cooperating, we probably will skip the apple picking and possibly go to get a pumpkin at a local farm. Then we can bake up the pumpkin seeds to have a tasty snack. Until that time, the kids love to explore the blocks around the house on their scooters. They enjoy collecting colorful leaves, pine cones, and other items that nature has left on the ground. Just the other day, my youngest hopped off of his scooter to save a caterpillar that was in the middle of the sidewalk.
Together Counts is a program for all of us. Their goal is to inspire families to lead healthy and active lives. Energy Balance is key and the main principle with their pledge. This means that the calories that we eat are the ones that we burn. Together Counts brings together more than 200 retailers, food/beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods stores, insurance companies, non-governmental organizations, and professional sports organizations to get the message across. For additional information, head to the Together Counts website learn more and take their pledge on finding balance and moderation. Families need to get eating and active together while practicing moderation.
Please be sure to join Together Counts for their Twitter party on 10/17 from 8-9 PM EST using hashtag #TogetherCounts. More information on Resourceful Mommy with details about the prizes.
So have you made the Together Counts pledge yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a compensated Global Influence campaign. As someone who strives to find balance, I love the principles behind Together Counts and am happy to share this with my readers.
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