Monitoring Your Child’s Facebook Page

Does your child have a Facebook page? Do you ever look at it?

I look at A’s page at least once a day. I look at her status, as well as what everyone else is posting on her page. I am Facebook friends with most of her friends. My best friends are friends with A so they can keep an eye out too. In fact, when I allowed her to get a page, I required that she be friends with me and my two besties. Some might call this spying but I call it being a good parent. She is very aware that we all check her page and pay attention to what her friends are saying.

Over the weekend I noticed that a middle school girl, who we don’t know because she goes to a local Catholic school instead of my daughter’s school, was cussing up a storm on one of A’s classmate’s pages.  M, the classmate, knows the cussing girl who we will refer to as K. She was using every word you can imagine. She was referring to M’s classmates. It was obvious that she was jealous that M had other friends. M asked her to stop but she continued to use the F word and refer to M’s friends as the B word. Another mom actually commented basically asking the girl to clean up her language. Instead, the girl started making inappropriate comments about the mom. Another friend of M’s, L, also asked the girl to stop and said K was being rude. That just made K go off even more. The last time I checked, there were 72 comments on this post, most of them made by K and including very inappropriate language. M also used a few choice words but never used them to call someone a name. It was still inappropriate though considering she is only in the seventh grade and Facebook is a public forum.

As I read this, all I could think is “where are their parents?” I would be mortified if I ever found out my daughter talked like this but to put it on Facebook, out in public for everyone to see, would probably send me to the bottom of a wine bottle! What was amazing to me is this went on for at least 24 hours and no one, other than the mom of a friend, ever stepped in. How did their mothers not see this? I would have seen it within the first few hours or heard from one of my friends. I would have immediately deleted the posts (yes, I have her password), made her delete K, the foul mouth friend, and then called K’s mom. These posts are still up as I write this. I don’t want to harshly judge another parent because I believe we all do the best we can but this really bothers me.

Do you monitor your child’s Facebook? What about their text messages? How would you have handled this situation if your child was involved? Do you think I should have stepped in even though I don’t know K at all and barely know M? I want to hear your thoughts!


Makeovers for Mom and Daughter

So we did it. The Girl Scout moms and I took our kids to Bare Escentuals for mommy/daughter makeovers. We all learned about individual skincare needs, picking the best colors for our skin tone and how to apply it properly.

The consultants actually put more makeup on all of us than we would normally wear but they gave the girls a very subtle and natural look. Alexis did mine and A’s makeup. She taught A how to deal with blemishes, wash her skin properly and apply eyeliner and mascara without giving herself the “raccoon” look. Alexis did one half of Andi’s face and then had her do the other half in order to make sure she knew how to apply the makeup. She also taught her some tricks with the mirror to help apply it correctly.

I even learned a few things about skin care. I was very interested in eye moisturizer and firmer since I am getting a little older. Alexis introduced to me to a good product and taught me how to apply it. She also did my makeup. I liked the Bare Minerals foundation and primer she used. The mascara seems like it won’t clump easily. The eye shadow and eye line went on easily BUT I did feel a little overdone when I left with plum, teal and beige eyelids and a dark shadowy eyeliner. My children were even a little embarrassed to go to Target with me and friends made some sort of funny but not so nice jokes about where I should be working. Everyone is just used to seeing me in very natural colors. However, the product itself seemed great.

I ended purchasing quite a bit of product for A that will be considered a large part of her Christmas. It wasn’t cheap but the all of the products will last her anywhere from three months to a year. Plus, they are all natural so I shouldn’t have to worry about the makeup breaking out her skin. I also won’t have to buy her moisturizer or face wash for a long time.

I did buy quite a bit for myself as well. I decided against the strawberries and cream lipstick and gloss. I just didn’t like the color but wow that lipstick stayed on through dinner, a glass of wine washing my face and even sleeping!

The girls and moms had a blast. Alexis and the rest of the Bare Escentuals crew were very welcoming. The makeovers themselves were free. Although we all did buy product, none of us felt pressured to. I definitely recomm

end doing this as a mother/daughter outing or even for you and a few friends.

Feel free to ask me any questions about our experience. I’d love to hear about your experiences with makeovers and other products as well!

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Sick Kid = Stressed Mom

We had a great weekend! We got a lot done around the house. The kids cleaned up the yard and raked leaves. One of my good friends and I did a lot of interior painting to the new house. We also got a few things set up to make it feel a little homier. Friends and neighbors joined us on the deck Saturday night for a fire and a glass of wine. We grilled out with friends on Sunday and enjoyed the football game, even though the Bengals came up short. It was the perfect fall weekend.

However, my little boy is now paying for the all the time outside, especially the fire, leaves and grill. He is congested and his asthma is flaring. He was up half the night coughing, which meant I was up half the night listening to him cough. He’s had to use his inhaler and take breathing treatments through the nebulizer. I stayed home with him today to keep a close eye on him.

I honestly think I would rather deal with a broken bone or other injury than an asthma flare up. It’s extremely stressful for the child and parent. Since he is almost 10, he is definitely aware that he is having a difficult time breathing, which makes him nervous. I am stressed because my baby is congested, coughing and having a hard time breathing. It’s very scary. I used to run to the doctor every time he had a cough but we have learned to manage the asthma at home over the years and visit the doctor as needed.

Although he attends an excellent school with great teachers and administrators, it is hard to send him to school when he’s congested even if the asthma seems to be under control. Honestly, it’s hard to even let him visit grandma or be with anyone other than me. I just worry so much that I prefer to watch over and make sure he gets the breathing treatment immediately if needed. So, I’m not sure if he will return to school and I will return to work tomorrow. I hate for either of us to miss but his health is my priority.

Do you have a child with asthma or other health issue that stresses you out? How do you deal with it? How do you help your child understand and manage the health issue?

A Day Off

Working full-time and having kids involved in several activities often means we don’t have a lot of time for just unplanned fun.  We miss that. The kids were off school Tuesday for Election Day so I decided to take the day off work. Both A and J had overnight guests on Monday. A’s had been planned for quite a while. We actually didn’t tell her or her friend until Monday morning giving them a pleasant surprise before school. J’s guest was scheduled last minute due to the mom needing someone to watch her son the next day. J was so excited that I really didn’t mind at all. Another one of J’s friends, who lives in walking distance, joined us Tuesday morning.

In case you lost track, this means I had five kids on Tuesday – two 12-year-old girls and three almost 10-year-old boys.  Some would call me crazy but I love having a houseful of kids. It is so fun to watch their imaginations at work, see them play ball in the yard, listen to them giggle and hear their insightful conversations (there was actually a very intelligent conversation about global warming).

As a group, we discussed how we wanted to spend our day off. There are so many wonderful things to do in the Cincinnati/NKY area that this discussion took a while. We talked about the boys just riding bikes and the girls rounding up teammates to play soccer with at one of the many fabulous parks in our city. We discussed going to the Zoo, the Art Museum, the Kenton County Public Library the Conservatory and the Nature Center. We knew we wanted to spend some of the day outside since it was beautiful and didn’t want to spend a lot of money.

We finally decided to head to Newport on the Levee. We had lunch at Tom + Chee. I have to be honest, I have been there twice now and I’m not impressed. I enjoy my homemade tomato soup, and even the Private Selection tomato soup at Kroger, more than the soup there. I’ve tried two different sandwiches and although they were tasty, they weren’t anything I couldn’t easily make at home for less cost. But it was nice to sit outside. The boys were able to run around the Levee plaza while we waited for our food.  We also browsed Barnes and Noble, Peek-a-Toy and Claire’s. Once we arrived back at my home, all of the kids played in the neighborhood.

It was so nice to just “wing” it and not feel like we had to be at a specific place at a set time. And one of the most humorous parts of the day was when people asked me if all five kids were mine!!!

How do you keep your family from feeling over scheduled? Any suggestions on what we should do in the Greater Cincinnati area on our next day off?

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Cinderella Lives At My House

As I told you last week, we recently moved into our very own home. Both of my children are very happy here. I’m a single mom so I truly count on the help of my children in order to keep up with the house. This is a discussion we even had before I started hunting for a home. I told them both they would have more chores and they willingly agreed to pitch in.

 My son has taken on the extra responsibilities that come with a house with open arms. He rakes leaves, takes out the trash, sweeps the deck and helps in any way I ask. Shoot, I usually don’t even have to ask. Unfortunately my 12-year-old daughter hasn’t kept up her end of the deal. In fact, I can’t even motivate her to completely unpack or keep her room clean. She’s supposed to load and unload the dishwasher each day but even that is a fight. Based on her reaction, you would think that I just asked her to jump in a pit with venomous snakes when really I only asked her to sweep the kitchen or dust her room. Don’t get me wrong, A will help sometimes without complaining  – if it’s something she enjoys doing like making homemade ravioli with the family or watching her baby cousin. And J does complain from time to time, especially if it’s something he doesn’t like, but is usually willing to pitch in without much of a fight.

I do not give an allowance but I do pay for both of their cell phones monthly, in addition to providing a warm place to live, clothes and food.

 How do you get your children to pitch in around the house without a fight? Do you pay an allowance or offer some other type of incentive? What do you expect of your kids and at what age? I appreciate your advice.

Finding Our Way Home

So far I have really only talked about my kids. Today I’m going to give you a little insight into our family journey over the last nine years. I just bought our first home since my divorce nearly nine years ago. We have lived in three different two-families since selling the marital home. All three were in the same city and school district but we moved for a variety of reasons. Being someone who lived in two houses her entire childhood, moving my children around was difficult for me.

After the divorce, we moved to a rental in a great city but a not so great part of town. I didn’t realize this area even had a ghetto until I lived there. The police patrolled the street a lot and with reason. My children were very young so I felt I could protect them and honestly wasn’t in the position to move right away again. Plus, it was important to me to provide stability, which I thought included staying in one place. Then one day A, my then 7-year-old, asked me “Why does Kurtis always go up to that car with money and then they just pull away?” It was right then that I knew we had to move. We found a beautiful place in the middle of town with a large yard and in walking distance to everything. We lived there three years putting up with nonsense from the landlord and the neighbor. The landlord wouldn’t fix anything properly. Some of lights and heat were ran through the other apartment so if no one lived there, I didn’t have lights in my living room or heat in my foyer. One of the duplex neighbors, who lived there about a year, partied constantly. I pulled up to our house, on a main street in the city, one day to find him and about six of his friends in my front yard with no shirts on drinking beer out of brown paper bags. I was utterly embarrassed. It eventually became so ridiculous that we moved to our third two-family. This place was only a block away. It wasn’t nearly as pretty but it was cheap and I knew a house was more likely to become reality this way. I saved for a year and half and purchased us a home last month.

This was one of the proudest moments in my life. I feel like my hard work finally paid off for my children. The house needs some cosmetic work… thank goodness I’m a little OCD. In one month, with the help of my friends, new neighbors and parents, I have managed to scrape wallpaper off of two large rooms, paint three large rooms, find and setup furniture, make repairs to my deck, get a new roof and gutters and much more (see photos). We still have a lot of work to do but it’s getting there and already feels like home.

My children love their new home. We finally have something that is ours. We don’t have to worry about a duplex neighbor being too loud, trashing our yard or having inappropriate dealings in the street.  They can play in the cul-de-sac with the neighbor children, hang out on our back deck or side patio, talk to the older neighbors who they admire and ride their bikes around the neighborhood.

I am so grateful that the three of us are finally home.

Even though we love it, there is still an adjustment period. They do miss seeing the friends on our old street on a regular basis. My daughter misses her short walk to school. They are adjusting to their new rooms. Do you have suggestions on how to help kids adjust to a move and a new neighborhood? I’d love to hear them!