Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
It's only 7:44 and I am exhausted, so I have decided I will set a 10 minute limit for myself to just quickly get down some ideas
and then I will go to bed. I wrote a facebook update about a two-day conference I went to and I just had to expand because it truly was the most odd conference/training I have ever been to. In the interest of time, I am going to bullet point the hilarity and weirdness of it all. I am also purposely not posting what conference it was, but I'd be happy to tell you privately if you so wish. Let me also say that this was a research-driven, educational conference I was attending. School districts sent representatives to the conference to come back to their sites and then train others.
- We were given worry dolls (little tiny dolls) and we had to name our worries out loud and then tell them to a partner. We then spent another 20 minutes decorating coffee mugs with the answers to our fears. We were told that it helps with schizophrenia and disturbed thoughts. (I somehow missed the connection between me as a teacher and schizophrenia...)
- The first day, we had a 8 hour training and only 20 minutes (I am NOT kidding) was spent doing the thing we came to learn. The rest of the 7 hours 40 minutes was getting us to feel empowered by telling us weird, inappropriate stories.
- Such stories included telling us one of the instructor's IQ; one of the instructors telling us she could "smell a drunk" and "knew if they had cats" immediately upon entering an elevator with someone; telling us she used to be a Roman Catholic, but now she was a pentecostal - because she "discovered the truth" and then invited her pastor up to introduce himself; one instructor telling us his political beliefs; one told us that her mom was leukemia free and that prayer works; one told us that the other day in church a homeless man was sitting in the pews and when another woman was making disparaging remarks, our instructor walked over and talked to her. Again, what does that have to do with this training? It was literally as if whenever a thought occurred to either of them, they just blurted it out randomly.
- They led us in prayer before we ate lunch the first day.
- He discussed this game for a good amount of the presentation over the course of the two days and then never told us how to play it or gave us any info on how to do it (although, I do know that if I were to play it, I will save kids from "drug trafficking, sex trade...and the Taliban")
- They regularly said "Oh yeah, those instructions in the packet we gave you were wrong...You need to add a step in..." or "Oh. Sorry. We use those terms interchangeably, but they are the same thing..."
- They KEPT saying over and over and over about how it was scientifically proven that if we implemented the program, we would see a 14% improvement in our test scores. Then day 2 when someone asked if the instructors had a video of it in action because she was having a hard time visualizing it, they said that it had only been done in an academic lab setting, which is why they didn't have any videos. Ummmm? Then how do you know I'll get a 14% improvement?
- She cried several times throughout the presentation at random times. It was uncomfortable and weird. One time was when she was giving a man who came to show us a 3D video (that had nothing to do with what we came to learn) a recycled aluminum can pin to wear. She also talked to us several times about re-purposing and how we should buy re-purposed art (like telephone wire bracelets) which she also sold at lunch the second day.
- We had to break down the tables, chairs, etc. at the end of each day because they were having church service in the room.
- It was the most unorganized, non-linear, "let me NOT tell you how to actually do this program" type of training I have ever been to. Ever. But what was funny was that they kept saying over and over that we HAD to follow the PROTOCOL exactly or we wouldn't get results. Ummm....what protocol?!?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I never know what to say, but of one thing I am certain. Heaven gained a beautiful angel and earth lost a beautiful soul way too soon. I pray so much that she has found Cole and wrapped him in her arms. I would be honored if she loves on him for me until I can get there. If you would all take a moment to say a prayer for their family, I am sure it would mean a lot.
Here are some ways you can prevent melanoma from www. melanoma.org
Check Your SkinResearch has shown that patients, not doctors, are most likely to spot a melanoma. This data reinforces the importance of thoroughly checking your skin each month. Early detection could save your life.
The MRF has created an awareness piece aimed at educating the public on the importance of self skin exams. You can view the Who is Most Likely to Spot Your Melanoma? mirrored booklet.
The ABCDE's of melanoma should be followed as guidelines and ANY suspicious mole or lesion should be brought to the immediate attention of a dermatologist. This is especially true if you notice any changes in a mole or lesion, including (but not limited to): bleeding, itching, and changes in color or size. The "Ugly Duckling" theory can also be applied - look for spots that are new, changing, unusual or different from other spots on your body.
Practice Safe SunApproximately 65 percent of melanomas—the most deadly form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States—are attributed to ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning beds.
Although melanoma may develop in parts of your body that are not exposed to the sun, the Melanoma Research Foundation recommends the following sun safety practices for all skin types to help prevent melanoma and other skin cancers:
Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin—even on cloudy days—year-round.
- Be sure to use a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Look for ingredients in your sunscreen such as titanium dioxide and mexoryl, which block UVA rays better.
- Use enough sunscreen. To protect your entire body, use approximately an ounce of sunscreen (about a full shot glass) and apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
- Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating, even if the bottle says it’s waterproof or long lasting.
- Remember, wearing sunscreen is not a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun. Sunscreen is just one component of sun safety.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
- Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Do not burn. Severe sunburns, especially during childhood, increase your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancer. Just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
- Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Current research indicates there is no way to get a tan through ultraviolet exposure without increasing the risk for skin cancer.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
- Be aware of medications that can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs have the ability to make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Posted by J Howard at 7:35 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Yes. It's Tuesday. But since I'm home and that rarely happens during the week, I thought I'd celebrate in the midst of snotty noses, tons of tears, and droppers full of acetaminophen.
I am loving my adorable husband and all the time we're spending together reading The Five Love Languages at night in bed. We're both exhausted and it'd be easy to crawl into bed and pass out, but we're making an effort to spend quiet time together every night connecting. I am learning so much about marriage, love, and most of all Mr. Howard. I wish I had actually read the book before I was even married...or even before I was dating anyone. I would have been so much better so much earlier. It also has opened my eyes to how I communicate love to my kids and even friends!
I am loving my adorable kids. I think that goes without saying, though. I know I've said this before and I think it a million times a day, but we are blessed. Our lives have changed so tremendously and there are moments when it is hard to recognize our house, the words coming out of my mouth regularly (you know, things like "Let's go on the potty like a big boy!"), my to-do lists, and grocery lists. But it is a miraculous blessing; of that I am certain.
I am loving the black pull-over I stole from Mr. Howard's closet. It is perfect for a "My Kids are Sick, so I Stayed Home with Them" day. I am wondering how appropriate it will look when I head out to my work meeting this afternoon wearing it and jeans...notice I use the words "wonder" and "when" because I have no plans to change.
Monday, January 23, 2012
First it was Aiden...
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Aiden and Isabella are both in 3 month and 3-6 month clothes. They are both still in size 1 diapers. They aren't sitting yet at all, but Connor REALLY struggled with this too. He was walking before he would sit unassisted. They both sit on the couch and in their bumbos. They both put objects in their mouths regularly and pass objects from hand to hand. They both giggle and love being tickled, although Isabella seems more ticklish and squeels; while Aiden finds things more funny (hiccuping, running towards him, making faces). They both are so in love with Connor! Aiden seems to be comforted a bit more by me than Mr. Howard (Aiden loves to be walked and rocked and bounced, which, happens to be my specialty), but Isabella is totally a Daddy's Girl. If he's in the room, you can bet that her eyes will be glued to him (and oh, it just melts my heart!).
Isabella has the most beautiful eyes. They just have a sparkle to them and she squints them in such a way when her daddy is around. My heart just melts when she bats her eyes and looks up at us - just wanting to soak in every word we're saying to her, every gesture we're making, and every smile we flash at her.
Can you tell how obsessed we are with our kids?!? I just really think we make such cute babies!!
I'm trying not to worry or compare, but all my friends with babies the same age (and even younger) have kiddos who are achieving more milestones than Aiden and Izzy. I know they were a month premature and that drastically affects things, but I just want all to be well in their world. I know I have a few blogging friends with twins. Are you experiencing this at all?
P.S My darling hubby did these photos this week (wasn't that sweet?!?) while I was starting bathtime with Connor. And oops...he took the teddy bear photograph sideways. Honestly I think I'm going to re-do it today portrait style. Is that obsessive compulsive? I just want to be able to put all the photos up for their first birthday. Hi! My name is Mrs. Howard and I am a picture control freak.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
For those of you not on pinterest, I HIGHLY recommend it! Highly! It can be a time suck, but honestly it's just like everything - it is what you make of it.
But what you will LOVE about it is the virtual online sort of "Favorite Places." You can pin anything on the Internet anywhere and then you'll have it. It has seriously revolutionized party planning - because you can pin a cake from one website and then pin table cloths from another and balloons from another and have one central picture board. It, I'm sure, has also revolutionized house decorating for the same reason. I've included a screen print of what I see when I log in. I've only just begun, but it is amazing!!
Posted by J Howard at 5:34 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For Connor's first Christmas in 2009, we went to a pottery place where we picked out a Christmas plate and painted it as a family. We stamped the plate with his footprints to remember how tiny he was. When we had the twins we knew we wanted them to have their own plates, but we weren't sure if we wanted to get three matching plates so they could all put them out for Santa or whether or not we wanted different ones. At the end of December, we took the babies to continue our "First Christmas Plate" Tradition. Connor stayed with my mom, Debbie, Nathan, and Erin.