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Archive for April, 2008

PICK YOUR FAVE New York housewife

OMG: Wasn’t “The Real Housewives of New York City” SUCH a guilty pleasure??!!!! And did you see the reunion show???

Man, these ladies do not cut each other much slack at all. I loved it when Ramona, who thought nothing of embarrassing her poor tween daughter on camera by wearing revealiReal Housewivesng & tacky outfits and having a smooch-wrest fest with her girlfriend at the pool, walked off the reunion set because it was revealed that someone leaked nude (yet artsy) photos of fellow Wife Alex. Puhleeeze.

The money and high-society goings on of the Hamptons tennis court-owning crowd made those Orange County gals look like little country mice for sure.

Here are the players:

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Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Under: TV | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: Cracking the adoption books

baby(“Waiting for Baby” is a closer look at adoption and my family’s personal experience as we go through the process. It will appear every Wednesday in the aPARENTly Speaking blog.)

Adoption looked and sounded scary when my husband and I first decided to begin this journey. As a TV junkie and avid reader, I’ve come across my share of stories: the birthmother changes her mind, taking the baby back from devastated adoptive parents; the birthfather suddenly appears out of thin air and puts a halt to the adoption proceedings; adoptive parents spend years on a waiting list. Fear and doubt usually accompany the start of most adoptions. It’s not that we don’t want a baby, but after years of disappointment — the natural byproduct of infertility — we simply don’t want another broken-heart.

On top of the misperceptions, adoption comes with plenty of questions: attorney or agency, domestic or international, open or closed? How do you pay for it? What about medical issues? Bottom line: where do you even begin? The only way to get answers, and put a little truth behind the misperceptions, is to do some homework. And so, I found myself in the bookstore staring at a shelf filled with adoption books.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Under: Adoption | 2 Comments »

GOLF BUDDY Photo Caption

Mickey Mouse & Friend (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)
Hmmm, golf buddies? This photo needs a caption. Click “comments” to add yours, and we’ll send the cleverest caption-writer a copy of “The Rookie Mom’s Handbook“!

And now for last week’s winner
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Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Under: Contest | 4 Comments »

ROOKIE MOMS Hit the Road

Whitney Moss and Heather Gibbs Flett were fledgling moms three years ago, juggling newborns and that housebound angst familiar to every new parent. So the two friends challenged each other to come up with a list of cool activities that would get them – and their adorable new babies – out of the house and back in the human race. The results became the RookieMoms blog. Now, it’s a book – “The Rookie Mom’s Handbook: 250 Activities to Do With (and Without) Your Baby.”

The small melon- and lavender-tinged paperback is the perfect size to tuck in a diaper bag and it’s loaded with activities that are vastly “more fun than wiping someone’s tushy.”

Sipping lattes and mochas at Berkeley’s Caffe Trieste the other day, Moss and Flett chatted about the book’s inspiration. Every other parenting book, they said, focused on how to play with, educate or hasten the develop of your baby. Those books are all about fun for the baby, not fun for the anxious, isolated, sleep-deprived mom.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

WANTED: One Felonious Essay

Test cheaters (illus. by Richard Hodges, KRT) Okaaaaay, just a thought … but if you’re planning to break any laws or commit school-banned infractions, it’s probably best not to advertise it before the fact. A University of Buffalo basketball star was suspended last week after university officials discovered he’d posted a Facebook ad looking for someone to do his homework. Here ’tis:

“I am paying anybody who have read the book ‘there are no children here’ by Alex Kotlowitz $30-40 which in some classes you have to read at UB (even more money if you have to read the book a little more!!) to write a 3-4 page paper, on a couple questions which was assigned.”

OK, hiring someone to write your essay? Wrong. So very wrong. Inability to string together a grammatically correct sentence after three years of college? So very much wrong-er.

That’s not even the best part. This is:
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Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre, Teens | No Comments »

FAB FIVE: Parenting Survival Tips

Breaking down barriers (illus. by Beto Alvarez) Parenting teen and tween daughters brings its own special joys and challenges. So here, from one of our favorite parenting experts, Ksenija Olmer from the John Muir Women’s Health Center, are five tips to help parents of adolescent girls survive the rollercoaster ride:

1. Remember this too, shall pass. (And when it does, try to be the better person and not drag up the embarrassing moments.)

2. Understand that your daughter saves the worst for you because she knows you will love her despite anything. Your friends and neighbors, her teachers are telling you what a wonderful, polite, helpful girl she is. Don’t say, “Are you sure you didn’t mix her up with someone else?” Smile and glory in the fact that, despite your fears, she is growing up to be a responsible member of our society. She is successful in presenting herself in the best light outside the home, so she can fall apart when she makes it through the door.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Under: Advice, Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: Deciding to adopt

Child guardian ILLUS.jpg“Waiting for Baby” is an intentional take on the title of Peggy Orenstein’s memoir, “Waiting for Daisy.” I met the Berkeley author during a 2006 interview. Her story of infertility, almost adopting and the unexpected birth of her daughter resonated deeply with me. At the time, I was stuck on my own infertility see-saw.

No one ever dreams that infertility could happen to them. Denial is a nice comfort zone. Give it six months, the doctors suggest. No luck? OK, let’s run diagnostic tests. Still no luck? Then let’s try prescription drugs, invasive treatments, even old wive’s tales. Negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages, failed fertility treatments and a whole lot of tears and angry why-me’s later, I was left at a cross-roads: accept never having a baby or decide to get on an entirely different see-saw.

My husband and I decided being parents was more important than getting pregnant. So, after much soul-searching, we decided to adopt. Then came the hard part.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Under: Adoption | No Comments »

WHOLESOME TV: Simpsons vs Baywatch

Bart Simpson (illus. by Matt Groening) Doh! Venezuelan officials cancelled the famous TV cartoon”The Simpsons” last week, saying the show, which aired at 11 a.m. daily, was a bad influence for children. The replacement? “Baywatch,” the bouncing babelicious lifeguard show which made David Hasselhoff a household name and Pamela Anderson a household … er, pinup.

So naturally, now we’re wondering what – and who – really constitutes a “bad influence” on children. Punch a button on our poll, or click “comments” and weigh in.

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

MILEY CYRUS: Another role model tarnished

People Miley CyrusIt’s beginning to sound like a broken record. A teen idol reveals a bit too much in photographs that end up before the public eye. Quickly, they shift into damage control with an “I’m oh-so sorry” apology. They made a mistake. It was poor judgment. They will learn from this and grow. Etc. Etc.

Miley Cyrus seemed different. She said the right things and was Disney’s poster child as pop-star/TV star Hannah Montana. Until last week, she had come under fire only once, for forgetting to wear her seat belt. Her parents seemed to do an excellent job of keeping her grounded and away from the bad element of Hollywood teen-dom. Then, borderline photos of Cyrus — showing off part of a green bra in one — hit the Internet last week. Now, she’s also apologizing for a phoot shoot in Vanity Fair’s June issue in which she bares her back while holding a silk sheet over her naked chest.

All of this leads us to one question: What happened to all the teen role models? Take a moment to come up with a list of 10. You can start with… Well, maybe… OK, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ashley Tisdale is about the only one coming to mind, and frankly, after Cyrus’ recent stumble, I’m holding my breath on her, too. Sad, isn’t it?

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Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008
Under: children's music, Kids & Tweens, Movies, TV | 3 Comments »

BIG APPLE Book Giveaway

Summer vacation’s not far off … and with it, the challenge of keeping youngsters occupied and entertained on planes, trains and in the backseat. Or (shudder) in an airline terminal when your flight’s just been cancelled. So this week, we’re giving away a travel fun pack – Laura Krauss Melmed‘s charming “New York, New York! The Big Apple From A to Z,” whose colorful pictures provide little glimpses of all the things to see at the Metropolitan Art Museum or aboard the Intrepid aircraft carrier (nuclear missile submarine tour, anyone?) … plus an American Girl craft book that includes kid-friendly activities perfect for either a kids’ craft sale or a little backseat entertainment. Big fun!

Here’s how to win ‘em. Simply click “comments” (we’ll draw a winner Sunday night — and congrats, by the way, to 1StopMom who won last week’s books!) and share your most memorable family travel tale. Spectacular settings, epic disasters, the great road trip diaper shortage, it’s all good.

Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008
Under: Books, Contest, Family Travel | No Comments »