My Generation Sucks

I heard a high school sophomore say  “My generation sucks!” She said she wished she was growing up in the 90’s. I had to wonder if she realized:

1. We didn’t have cell phones in the 90’s.

2. We didn’t have laptops, tablets, social media or selfies in the 90’s either

3. We used a big bulky Walkman in the 90’s instead of a small sleek iPod to hear music.

4. We didn’t have access to download millions of songs in the 90’s. Instead, we bought tapes and CDs.

5. We enjoyed the grunge look in the 90’s. I wonder if she would trade her crop top for a giant flannel shirt.

6. We walked or road our bikes everywhere in the 90’s. No calling mommy for a ride at the drop of a hat.

I enjoyed the 90’s though. We had no idea we were missing out on all the technology and thought we looked good in those over-sized flannels. I don’t think having technology would suck either. I don’t think if I was 15 right now that I would necessarily be overheard saying “My generation sucks.” However, after hearing some of the things I heard out of teenagers mouths and seeing certain behaviors over the last few weeks, maybe their generation does suck.

Two women protesting about victim-blaming and slut-shaming at New York City's SlutWalk in October 2011

Two women protesting about victim-blaming and slut-shaming at New York City’s SlutWalk in October 2011

“I would rather be called a slut or a whore by my friends than a bitch,” is one of the most disturbing things I have heard in a long time. I wanted to grab this girl by her shoulders, shake her and ask her what the hell was wrong with her.

This inspired a talk with my own 15-year-old daughter. It hit me that the words slut and whore are used as every day language. Thinking back, I remember slut being a term we threw around jokingly from time to time I guess. But I definitely remember using the word bitch with my friends more than that. What is completely disturbing is these girls, or a lot of them, are okay with being called a slut or a whore. I tried to tell my daughter that those words are extremely derogatory. I told her that not only should she never call anyone those words, she should never allow anyone to call her those words. I told her to stand up for herself and tell her friends that those words are not slang words she is willing to use or be called. The response: “okay mom,” followed with an eye roll.

“Most of the kids were okay with others commenting on their physical assets.” At least this one was worded a little better but basically a group of boys thought it was alright to comment on the girls bodies in front of a group and most of the girls were just fine with that. I caught them flipping their hair and giggling in response. What is wrong with these kids? First of all why isn’t anyone teaching these boys that this is not okay? It is not okay to comment on a girls boobs, butt, legs or anything else. Secondly, why do these girls giggle and flip their hair? As a society have we taught them that inappropriate comments about their bodies defines their self-worth? Are they too afraid to speak up for themselves?

This too inspired a conversation with my  own daughter. I hope I got through to her when I told her that this is never okay. Telling someone that they look nice or beautiful is fine, commenting on specific body parts is not. I also plan to talk to my almost 13-year-old son about this because I don’t ever want him talking to a girl this way.

“God, I wasn’t doing anything,” was said by a teenage boy with his arms in the air to an adult he barely knew, the mother of a girl he liked. The mother had caught the two kids who barely knew each other kissing. The boy actually started running his mouth and stormed off. Teenagers are going to kiss. Parents are going to catch them in the act and it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone involved. But my gosh be a man (or a young man about it). Don’t throw your arms in the air and disrespect the girl’s parents. By doing that, you will probably never see that girl again. I have no clue why a teenager would think it is okay to be disrespectful to adults. My mother would have lost it on me had I ever talked to another adult like that. Save that behavior for your own parent! LOL I laugh but we know they treat us worse than other adults.andi homecoming

My 15-year-old daughter seems to have a decent balance of common sense and book smarts, although she can say some pretty dingy things sometimes. She gets As and Bs in school and hangs out with a great group of girls who I really like. She’s almost 5’8, thin and has long blonde hair and green eyes. Yeah, she’s a knock out. But honestly I never really worried too much about her until the last few weeks as I’ve been out in the community at events and have heard these stupid things come out of other teenagers mouths. Now I worry. But I guess all I can do is keeping talking to her about self-worth, what is and isn’t appropriate, to be respectful of others and to demand respect of herself.     first day A

So yeah, they might have iPods, laptops, social media and cute little outfits but I may just agree a little that their generation sucks. What do you think?

 

Circus Mojo Helped Heal My Son

Joey, 12, was suffering from unexplained pain again for the last month… Joey was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis when he was 10-years-old. The cancer-like disease ate his hip bone away causing him to need a bone graft. Although no one was sure if he’d walk normally again, he can run, play and ride a bike like any other kid… most of the time. But then there are times that he is in such severe pain that he can only get around on crutches or in a wheelchair for weeks or even months at a time. Unfortunately it’s just a horrible side effect of this horrible disease.

joy wheelchair

So in early May the unexplained pain started again in his left leg. It eventually got so bad that he was on crutches again, missing school and using the wheelchair quite a bit. Joey became frustrated and borderline depressed. He was missing out on end of the school year fun, couldn’t ride his bike with his buddies or go do anything fun. His oncologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ordered test after test to make sure the Histio was not attacking again. Once that was ruled out Joey was able to start physical therapy again. He couldn’t even put pressure on his left foot at the evaluation that Friday. The therapist gave him a few exercises he did over the weekend.

The following Monday he headed to day camp at Circus Mojo in Ludlow, Ky. We knew about Circus Mojo because Paul, the owner, and Sharon, an employee, would often perform in the waiting room of orthopedics at Children’s Hospital when we were there. Joey enjoyed them so much that he had me schedule his appointments around their performance times. Joey and his buddy August headed to camp with Joey’s crutches and wheelchair in tow.

The Circus Mojo staff was awesome about accommodating our special situation. I spoke to Ginny in advance to make sure all would be okay. Paul and his crew made Joey take things slow and didn’t push him to do things that might be hard on his leg. He had physical therapy immediately after camp that day. He couldn’t stop talking about how fun camp was and he was able to get around a little better. The second day of camp came and he was able to do a little more. On the third day he could do even more but there was still one act he wanted to do but Paul told him was too dangerous if he still needed to use crutches. He had PT that afternoon and told his therapist he had to get stronger so he could do everything at camp. On Thursday he arrived at camp with one crutch and barely used it. He was able to do the act.

joey wheel

I drove the boys to camp on Friday. They were both so excited because they were going to learn even more that day and then perform for the families in the afternoon. I showed up for the afternoon performance and could see how excited all the kids were.

joey w circus friends

Joey actually climbed the silks and did what’s called the reverse diaper drop. He was able to walk on a wheel, balance all kinds of things, juggle scarves and so much more. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe this was the same kid who could barely walk at all a week ago. He couldn’t stop smiling.

joey whip pie

I truly believe that camp at Circus Mojo camp played part in Joey’s physical therapy. It gave him a challenge and a goal. He wanted to be able to participate everything. In order to do that he had to do his PT exercises and push himself. It also helped him emotionally and mentally. It gave him something to look forward to everyday. He was excited about learning new acts and seeing his new friends. Camp provided an incentive for him to push himself and get better.

The really awesome part was by Friday… he didn’t need the crutches or wheelchair at all anymore so Joey and Paul found another use for them.

joey balance

Music Fest Battles Heroin

music fest 2

My fiancé Nick lost his nephew Nicholas in August, 2013 to heroin (read about it here). I lost him too. I didn’t get the chance to know Nicholas for a very long time but I loved him very much. He was such an awesome guy. He had just gotten out of rehab when I met him. He wanted to stay clean. He wanted to make his family proud. But heroin is such a powerful drug. It eventually took him from us.

I used to say Nicholas passed away from an accidental heroin overdose. But I have come to realize that Nicholas died from heroin PERIOD. Might sound like I’m splitting hairs but I’ll explain. If you use heroin, it will kill you. It will start by killing your ambition and personality. Instead of focusing on the important things in life like taking care of your family, keeping a job or maintaining your health, you’re priority becomes “how will I get my next fix.” Heroin is cheap and easy to get but once you lose your job because of it, it’s not that easy to pay for. You’ll start doing things you never thought you were capable of – stealing from your friends and family to pay for heroin. Now you have lost your job, your personality and your dignity. Many addicts lose their home because the family can’t allow them to stay.

Heroin took Nicholas from us piece by piece over time. The family got most of him back after rehab but one bad night led to a relapse, which took him from us forever. The Specht/Stegner/Layman/Schell/Holt families created WWW.NKYHatesHeroin.Com because we don’t want this to happen to your family. We want to raise awareness, work on prevention and support the families of addicts, as well as the addicts in recovery.

As part of that effort, NKY Hates Heroin, six venues in Newport, Kentucky and 14 local bands have partnered up to fight the heroin epidemic in Northern Kentucky on Saturday, April 12 starting at 6 p.m. with a music festival. The event cost $10, which will get patrons in at all six venues. Raffle tickets for a split the pot and WWW.NKYHatesHeroin.Com. T-shirts will also be sold.

The lineup:

York Street Cafe The Chuck Land Band, Grand Oversoul, Honey And Houston, The Core and Eva Ross

Little Nashville Marty Connor Band and The Carter New Band

Sis’ Gary Devoto & Dave Webster and Friends

Birk’s Nailed It J.R.’s Revenge and Altered Inc.

Mokka And The Sunset Bar & Grill Don Fangman (Frank Sinatra Impersonator) and Stonehaus Trail

Shortneck’s Band to Be Announced

The bands’ genres include bluegrass, country, rock, lounge/jazz and classic rock. Proceeds will be used to promote heroin education and prevention as well as providing support to those seeking recovery and their families.

Will you enjoy a night out for a great cause?

music fest

Willy Wonka Jr. Coming to Cincinnati

bob herzog willy wonka

Most of us know Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir. But it’s not everyday we get to watch it come to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. featuring a memorable score by Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll & HydeDoctor Dolittle) and Anthony Newley, follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory–or suffer the consequences.

Bob Herzog, Local 12 News Anchor/Reporter and inventor of Dance Party Friday, will play Willy Wonka. I love this story anyway but Bob Herzog as Willy Wonka makes it so much more exciting!

Tickets start at $11 each. Public performance times include:

Friday, April 4 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 5 at 2 PM
Saturday, April 5 at 5 PM
Sunday, April 6 at 2 PM
Saturday, April 12 at 2 PM

You can enter to win four tickets to this awesome play at Raising2tweens Facebook page.

 

 

12 Ways to Help Someone in the Hospital

Whether it’s a dear friend, a family member or someone’s child in the hospital it’s natural to want to help but people often don’t know what they can do. I have a lot of hospital experience – not only have I been a patient, I have had to take care of my son, who has a rare disease and has been in and out of the hospital, and my mother, who recently spent two weeks in the hospital.

While caring for my loved ones I got several calls from people wondering what they can do. Sometimes it’s hard to think of things on the spot and sometimes you just don’t want to ask. So I thought I’d put together a list of things to do for someone (and their family members) while in the hospital.

1. Don’t ask if there is anything you can do, just do it.

20140218_1232492. Snacks for the hospital room. This is helpful for family members who are taking care of the patient. A few of my co-workers put together a box of snacks for us while my mom was in the hospital. It was great.

 

3. Bring new pajamas. Most patients hate the hospital gowns and if they are allowed to wear regular pajamas they appreciate a new pair.

4. Drop off books, magazines and games that can be played with one other person in bed. Being in the hospital can be boring and the patient or family caregivers might want a distraction.

5. Visit but keep it short. Visitors are appreciated but the amount of visitors can often be overwhelming.  If you are the only visitor, assess the situation and maybe stay a little longer.

6. Drop off the patient and family members their favorite beverages. This saves them from having to run to vending machines and spending extra money.

7. The hospital provides meals for the patients but not the family member who stays with them. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital sells meal cards for family members for $5 each. Having these cards allows the caregiver to not have to leave their child in the room alone while they eat. Many hospitals sell gift certificates for the cafeterias. These are also helpful for family members staying with the patient.

8. Show up with a cup of coffee (or other favorite beverage for the family member) and insist on staying with the patient while the family member gets a break from the room.

9. Send balloons, cards and/or flowers to brighten the room.

10. Remember that the patient and immediate family members might be extremely stressed and worried about the patient’s condition. Even if you are upset or worried do not show it in front of the patient. Take a walk down the hall and pull yourself together. The patient doesn’t need to worry about their visitors too.

11. If a parent of young children is in the hospital or a child is in the hospital taking the parent away from the other children, see what you can do to help. Drop off dinner to the family members at home and offer rides to extracurricular activities and school.

12. In the words of my 12-year-old son: “Candy, bring candy, candy is always good.”

Do you have any suggestions to add?

 

 

Team Super Joey in the Media

cyclones3My amazing son Joey has been in the media a lot lately so I want to have one spot where you can find links to his stories. This will be the spot. I will update this post as needed.

Joey’s goal is to raise awareness for Histio, and hopefully someday find a cure for his disease.

Histio Survivor Prepares for Fundraising Event, Community Press, July 12, 2013
Enjoying the Little Things and Making Memories, Looking4ward2tomorrow, Nov. 15, 2013

Fort Thomas Boy Fights Rare Disease With a Strong Voice – WCPO Digital, Feb., 2014

Teen is Survivor of Bone-Destroying Disease – Community Press, Feb. 25, 2014
Histio Awareness Video – Produced by Cathy Ross, Starring Joey Holt, Requested by Histio Association, 2014
Rare Disease Day Proclamation, Fort Thomas Matters, Feb., 18 2014
Team Super Joey Fights Histio, Rare Disease Day, Feb., 2014
Joey Advocates for Histio & Rare Disease Day, Fox 19 Morning News, Feb. 28, 2014
Joey is Five in a Million, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Blog, Feb. 28, 2014
Follow Team Super Joey on Twitter @gina5620 #teamsuperjoey
Follow Team Super Joey on Facebook at Raising2tweens
Thanks to everyone who has shown their support!
cyclones2 cayton family cyclones rare disease hope waiting for trainTeam Super Joey
My Histio Family

joey super herosuper joeyHistio Warriors and siblingsmy histio hike 2