Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Please Don't Let Me Be The Oldest Mom In The PTA: Guest Post by Sharon O'Donnell

   Good news! There's a brand new book out for mid-life moms who still have school-age children. I'm so excited to introduce you to humor writer Sharon O'Donnell, who is on the blog today to share a few excerpts from her wonderful new book, Please Don't Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA. Please welcome Sharon to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love! 

A brand new humor book
for mid-life moms!
Please Don’t Let Me Be
the Oldest Mom in the PTA
by Sharon O’Donnell

                                                              Available now!

Sometimes breastfeeding & menopause aren’t that far apart! In this new humor book, award-winning columnist Sharon O’Donnell shares funny & poignant stories of being an ‘older’ mom. Nothing like buying diaper rash cream and age spot cream at the same time or having hot flashes on a college tour with your teen. She includes that awful moment when someone mistakes you for your child’s grandmother and that moment when you realize you might be the oldest mom in the PTA. Sharon is also the author of humor book House of Testosterone. More info at www.sharonodonnellauthor.com

                                                                    "The PTA Meeting"

So there I was finally, walking into a PTA meeting filled with parents who probably couldn’t even vaguely remember the Nixon administration and first watched The Brady Bunch in syndication, rather than the original run of the show on Friday nights on ABC.  I was from another generation there amidst the cute, bubbly women in form-fitting jeans and capris with tans and no age spots. Moms with no spider veins.  Moms who didn’t need to hold the meeting agenda at arm’s length to be able to read it. Moms with genuine enthusiasm for the upcoming magazine fundraiser. Before the meeting started, I hung around near the back of the room, trying not to draw attention to myself.  
I enjoyed the performance, although I realized, as all the younger moms aimed their state-of-the-art mini VCRs at their little American Idols, that I had forgotten my own clunky video camera at home. That’s another thing about being an older mom with age-gap kids:  with my older boys, I was so prepared for things like school concerts— battery charged, extra tape, the whole works. Yet, with the third child, I’d had other things on my mind like helping my middle son study for a science test or picking up my oldest son from basketball practice; remembering a video camera on the way out the door is sometimes simply too much to ask. In the future, I will have to explain to Jason why there is a lot more video of his brothers’ school programs than his. 
After the school concert at the PTA meeting, there were some brief business topics discussed and something about new playground equipment was voted on. Afterwards, everyone was invited to have cookies and punch and to mingle. I didn’t want to be anti-social, but I really didn’t feel much like mingling that night, particularly with other moms who might not even have been born the year I graduated from high school. 
And then I saw her across the crowded room, sitting near the stage. (Cue violin music). A kindred spirit. She was an attractive brunette, but it was obvious from some wrinkles and bit of turkey neck sag that she was at least as old as I was. Maybe—dare I say it—older??  My heart started beating fast like it used to when I’d see a cute guy taller than me out at the nightclubs. I had to meet her. 

                                                       "School Days"  

Having my youngest son, Jason, nine and six years after my two other boys meant that the school years would seem to drag on indefinitely and that we’d have sons at multiple schools at one time. There were several years when Jason was in elementary school, our middle boy David was in middle school, and Billy, our oldest was in a new high school that he had been reassigned to when it opened. When Billy was 15, he rode the bus, but it didn’t always come at the same time each morning and was unreliable. So a few times I’d have to take him to school, which meant I’d have to wake up Jason and have him ride with us. 
  To get to Billy’s high school, we had to drive through back roads; although the traffic is heavy due to the proximity of a Research Triangle Park, Billy’s high school was located in the middle of nowhere with no fast food places or gas stations along the way. On one particular morning during the first few weeks of school, Billy’s bus was late, so I pulled kindergartner Jason out of bed and put him in the van so we could drive Billy. We were about five minutes away and running late, when Jason yelled that he had to poop. It wasn’t like I could pull into a Shell station and let him run in because nothing was nearby. Nothing. And I’d taken the portable potty chair out of the SUV the previous year. 
  I was racing to try to get Billy to school on time, so I shouted to Jason the only advice I could think of at the moment:  “Squeeze your butt cheeks together!” Every time Jason would protest, I’d shout again, “Squeeze your butt cheeks together!” as I drove like a mad woman through the stretches of two lane, winding roads. By the time we arrived at the school, Jason had fallen asleep, poor little guy. With squeezed butt checks.

When we got back home, he woke up and went immediately into the bathroom. Later that day when Billy got home he said, “Mom, I was sitting in class and I started thinking about you yelling at Jason for him to squeeze his butt cheeks together, and I almost laughed out loud.”  Yes, I live only to make my children smile. At the time, though, it was a very serious situation. Actually, “Squeeze your butt cheeks together” isn’t bad advice if you think about. It always makes you look skinnier in jeans. 

Author Bio:  Sharon O’Donnell is a writer from Cary, NC and is the author of two humor books: Please Don’t Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA (released in July/2018) and House of Testosterone: One Mom’s Survival in a Household of MalesShe has written articles for Good Housekeeping and Better Homes & Gardens, and was an award-winning columnist for The Cary News for 12 years. She lives in Cary with her husband of 30 years and their youngest son, 17-year-old Jason, with frequent visits from sons Billy, 27, and David, 24. And of course their male long-haired dachshund, Fenway. You can find her at sharondonnellauthor.comwww.uplit.org , momsofboys.com, or @4boysanddog 

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Brain On Menopause

     I've been in a menopausal state of mind for eight years now, and my brain could really use a break. The endless mind chatter keeps me awake most nights and disrupts my thoughts like an attention-seeking toddler when I'm trying to get things accomplished during the day.

     In a menopausal way of thinking, the little things become the big things, and not in a good way. My husband and kids think I've lost my mind because of the ridiculous arguments we've gotten into. I have always had an A-type personality, but these Jekyll and Hyde mood swings need to stop for the sake of my own (and my family's) sanity. Thankfully, I have a husband and some pretty awesome kids who totally get it, so they give me a wide berth when they see the steam coming out of my ears


     If you were to crawl inside my head on any given day, these are the things my menopausal brain would say to you:

"I'm going to be really good today on my diet. I'll eat an egg white omelet, a small salad for lunch, then salmon for.....OH LOOK! A DONUT!"

"Geez, it's so effing hot in this house. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT??"

"Oh man, my bed looks so comfy....and I'm so tired. What would it hurt to take a little nap?"
**Wakes three hours later wondering what century she is in**

"I love you, but if you leave another strand of your used floss on the bookshelf, I swear I will strangle you with it in your sleep."

"It's 4:00a.m. Why am I still awake, wondering how people potty train rabbits?"

"Today was awful. I hate everyone and everything. Wait, you have chocolate? OMG I'm so happy! What a great day!"

"Where did I leave my damn car keys? Oh, here they are.....okay, which one of you numbskulls put my keys in the shower?  Huh? It was me? No way, I didn't do that. I couldn't have.....could I?"

"Sweetheart, you're my little shnookums and I love you so much....wait. Stop! ARE YOU KIDDING? DO I LOOK LIKE I WANT TO HAVE SEX RIGHT NOW?"

"A BOGO sale on fiber pills? Hell yeah, I'm gonna stock up. One can never own too many fiber pills."

" I didn't forget to pick up the dog food. It's your fault because you forgot to remind me."

"It's raining and now our plans are ruined and my life sucks so I'm going back to bed and don't even think about talking to me right now."

"Let's order pizza tonight. No, wait---I think I want Chinese food instead....but tacos also sound really good. Actually, I could go for a juicy steak. Or maybe a burger. Or chicken wings---yes, that's what I want! Can I get a slice of pizza on the side with that?"

"Just pour the wine and don't ask any questions."

"Who used the last roll of toilet paper without replacing it? I will hunt you down and kill you."

"It's freezing cold in this restaurant. Honey, can I borrow your jacket?"
<<five minutes later>> "Waiter, can you please turn up the fans? It's ridiculously hot in here."

"Why am I always so bloated? My belly is huge! I look like I'm pregnant.....with a baby elephant."

"Yes, I know I've put on some weight recently. No, it has nothing to do with my eating habits. It's not my dumpling cravings either, I swear. It's just menopause."


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Surviving The First Few Days Of A Keto Diet

     Today on the blog, I'm welcoming back Nagendra to discuss the benefits of using supplements while on a Keto diet.

Surviving the First Few Days of A Keto Diet

Part of the reason why keto diet is so popular, of course, is because people have been agreeing that it does work. Maybe the end result varies from person to person, but a good share of people sure get what they want with the keto diet, be it faster metabolism, weight loss, or simply better energy. The hi-fat, med-protein, and low-carbs combination indeed sounds legit.
However, switching your regular diet into a keto diet isn’t as easy as changing your TV channel. First, you have to resist the temptation of consuming carbs and sugar. That’s a whole range of tasty food, including bread of any kind, cake and cookies, as well as other sweets. Second, your body, at first, will experience withdrawal. 
You may think that it’s nothing. All kinds of diets, after all, will have the same side effect. But, don’t underestimate it. Maybe, the effect won’t be so bad to affect your health, but it could be bad enough to tempt you to quit. You don’t want to quit when you’ve just started, right? It’s just not cool. So, how can you be cool about switching to a keto diet? 
Let’s see what we can do about it.
Understanding Keto-flu
When people start their keto diet, they usually experience unpleasant symptoms as their body is trying to get used to using fat as their main source of energy. The symptoms usually include feeling lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous, and low energy. Keto-flu is the term used to for these withdrawal symptoms.
Some people can endure this and get into a keto diet easily within few days. However, everybody has different levels of tolerance, and for others, these symptoms can disturb their daily life. If you happen to be in the latter group, then getting into a keto diet is more challenging than you think. However, there are several things you can do to help you survive the hardest part of keto-flu to get into a keto diet.
  1. Get adequate protein
The Keto diet puts emphasis on high intake of good fat and low intake of carbohydrate. A lot of people forget about protein between the fat and carbohydrate, but it’s important to understand how much of the protein you should get every day that is enough to keep your body functioning---but not too much that it stops you from going into ketosis.
You still need protein in a keto diet because there are some organs that can’t use ketones from fat as fuel. These organs are red blood cells, as well as some parts of your brain and your kidneys. Those are organs you don’t want to have run out of fuel. Protein is also necessary to maintain your ideal body mass. 
Lack of protein can be the reason for your keto-flu symptoms, so make sure to incorporate protein into your meal plan. A study has stated that the most optimal intake of protein for a keto diet (for health-maintaining and weight-loss reason, not as medical treatment for epilepsy, cancer, and diabetes type 2) is 1 gram to 1.5 gram per kg body weight. Don’t overeat the protein though, or it can butcher your ketosis.
  1. Choose not just any fat, but good fat
In a keto diet, you are expected to fulfil 60%-80% of your daily calorie necessity from fat. Because of this large number, you should be careful in choosing what kind of fat you want to put inside your body. Choose the wrong kind and you’ll get the effect in a not-so-small consequence.
Not all fats are created equal. There is bad fat and good fat. Bad fats are those that causes the classic fat-induced diseases, like indigestion, a high level of bad cholesterol, inflammation, and even stroke and heart disease. Bad fat can be found mostly in processed food, like ham, sausages, and margarine, as well as oil found in factory-made cookies and snacks. Avoid them like the plague, if you can. Bad oil can also be found in oil made from pressed plant seed, like sunflower oil or canola oil.    
You can find good fat in olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, walnut, fish oil, and fatty fish like tuna or salmon. Good fat helps your body get into ketosis faster with a far lower risk of inflammatory or other fat-induced diseases. If you think finding good fat sources are hard when you’re working, you can try some fat supplements that are keto-friendly. 
  1. Get help from some supplement
A lot of first time keto dieters would agree that adding supplements into their diet is a good decision. It help reduce keto-flu symptoms by ensuring you get the adequate intake of nutrients you need without overdosing on it. Just make sure to choose a zero-carb supplement, because with your low-carb diet, it is too risky to add more carbs from sources you don’t really think are loaded with it.
Some of the more ideal dieters may want to go into a keto-diet on their own. But I want to assure you that taking supplements helps a lot. It makes the process easier and less painful, and therefore you’re more likely to stick with the new routine instead of giving up.
I myself am very pleased with Kegenix result I got after consuming its product. It helps alleviate some of the worst symptoms of keto-flu, enough so I can feel full of energy again, even if I have cut most of my carbohydrate intake. 

Keto diet is healthy and useful, not only for weight loss, but also for maintaining health, as well as lowering the risk of several acute diseases like cancer and diabetes type 2. It’s worth it to give up your current diet for the keto diet, because the keto diet is tasty and easy. What makes it difficult is the first few days during the transition, when you’ll feel lethargic most of the day and just want to call it quits. But make sure to get enough protein to fuel your organs, get energy from good fats, and consume supplements to fulfil all the nutrients you could be missing, and you’ll see that it’s not as bad you fear.

Nagendra works as freelancer and also runs an infographic website "www.infographicportal.com" which lists quality infographics along short summary under various categories found across Internet. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fly On The Wall At A Gender Reveal Party

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, five bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a peek at life behind closed doors.

     This month there has been a lot of "buzz" (see what I did there, Mr. Fly?) going around about the gender of my soon-to-be second grandchild. My daughter decided to have a "gender reveal" party, which is the latest fad among pregnant millennials. The way it works is that the expectant couple invites all of their family and friends to a party to share in the big moment of surprise when the baby's gender is revealed, usually in some fabulous sort of way. In our case, the reveal was done with two cannon-like tubes that were shot into the air. One released confetti, and the other, glittery smoke.

     At the count of three, the expectant couple shot the cannons and guess what? PINK! I'm expecting another granddaughter! And I couldn't be more thrilled because I absolutely adore the granddaughter I already have, and I think it's pretty awesome that she is getting a sister.

     The theme of the party was "Staches and Lashes," and everything was decorated in pink and blue. People who thought the reveal would prove that my daughter was carrying a boy wore fuzzy mustaches. Those who thought it was a girl, wore fake eyelashes.

     Here is the tricky part: only 1-2 people were allowed to know the gender of the baby a month ahead of time so that the contents of the cannons (the colors) could be ordered accurately. Yes, that person was me. I knew the gender, but had to keep my mouth shut the entire month. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT WAS??

     The party was wonderful---great food, good music to dance to, a fun photo booth, beautiful decorations, an exciting "reveal" moment, and a room full of all the people we love. What could be better than that? I'll let the pictures speak for themselves......

The proud Mommy and Daddy-to-be with my first granddaughter

Dad-to-be with Poppy-to-be

Party time with friends and Aunts & Uncles-to-be

Great friends and family

Auntie-to-be with Daddy-to-be

Photo Booth: Will it be a boy or a girl?

Shenanigans with an Uncle-to-be

The girls having photo booth fun

My sweet Isabella, the big sister-to-be

This Great-Uncle-to-be is not shy about wearing "lashes"---he predicted a girl!

More Aunties-to-be in the photo booth

Mommy & Daddy-to-be celebrating with friends. World Cup: GO BRASIL!!

Somebody predicted a boy and was most definitely wrong! Girls rule!


Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado. com
Menopausal Mother                     http://www.menopausalmom.com/
Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot. com
Spatulas on Parade                   https:// spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
My Brand of Crazy                   https://sarahsbrandcrazy. blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Got Hot Flashes? Try Cold Therapy

     Now that summer is here in sunny south Florida, my hot flashes are doubly worse in the 90+ degree heat. Recently, I received an ice towel from Ron Bester, founding partner of koldtec, a company that manufactures wearable cooling gear.

     Folks, this product has been a lifesaver for me. I wore it to a local park last month and walked the mile long trail with the cooling gear wrapped around my neck. It kept me cool the entire time! I also had my husband use it for his outdoor landscaping job, and it saved him from a possible heat stroke. I absolutely LOVE this product and highly recommend it to women experiencing hot flashes or for anyone who is frequently outdoors in the heat.

     Here is a little info on the koldtec cooling gear:

We know hot flashes are unpredictable. So, if we can't prevent hot flashes from occurring in the first place, then let's do our best to manage the outcome. Body science dictates that dynamic hormonal shots will affect your internal thermostat. With that in mind, how do we re-regulate and restore our natural temperature?

                        Two Words---Cold Therapy
WWeeWe know hot flashes are unpredictable. So, if we can't prevent hot flashes from occurring in the first place, then let's We our best to manage the outcome. Body science dictates that dynamic hormonal shifts will affect your internal thermostat. With that in mind, how do we re-regulate and restore our natural temperature?Two 
Did you know that by cooling certain pulse points of the body you are able to decrease the core temperature of the entire body? Numerous pulse points are located throughout the body; the most significant being in your neck. Pulse points are specific areas where you can actually feel the pulse of your blood due to the beat of your heart. Because blood runs so closely to the skin in these specific areas, cooling the pulse points also allows for blood to be cooled as it passes, creating an overall refreshed feeling. And since the brain represents the most sensitive tissue to changes in core temperature, the close proximity of the neck makes it the optimal place to receive a cold sensation. The best part is: cold therapy is all natural. If you’ve done your research, you’ll soon realize that no magic pill exists to eliminate hot flashes. Most people will always opt for a simple and organic approach to wellness when given the choice. You’re simply helping your body do what it’s naturally designed to do!
When Water is Not Enough – You Need Ice

Regular tap water can run as low as 60 degrees on average; certainly refreshing to drink, but not enough to challenge a serious hot flash. Your body needs an instant and long-lasting chill that only ice can achieve.
The koldtec ice towel packs 6 ounces of engineered ice that naturally conforms to the shape of your neck. And it delivers 5X the cooling power - dramatically outperforming any other traditional cooling towel.
What you’ll love the most – it’s eco-friendly, reusable and all natural. Just pop it back in the freezer when you are done. And use the insulated travel tube to make sure you’re ready for that unannounced hot flash – anywhere, anytime!

If you're interested in koldtec products, please go to the following link: https://www.koldtec.com/pages/wellness-update

Friday, June 15, 2018

Winning The Dad Lottery: Happy Father's Day!

     With Father's Day approaching, I've spent this past week thinking about my husband and how blessed I am to have him. Many of you may not know this, but I met Mac on a blind date in 1982, and although it wasn't love at first sight, all it took that night was one kiss in the parking lot and I knew he was THE ONE. Call it chemistry, call it destiny; either way, I knew I'd found my soulmate.

I was recovering from an abusive relationship at the time, and the last thing I needed was another man in my life, but Mac was different. His compassion, honor, quick wit and loyalty convinced me that he was a keeper, and here we are, 34 years later with four adult children, one feisty granddaughter and....SURPRISE! Another grand baby on the way!

     Our children won the dad lottery when the powers that be decided that we would have four kids. The role of father is one Mac embraced wholeheartedly from the very beginning, spending every spare moment he had with his family: Wiffle Ball games in the backyard, shave cream fights on the lawn, helping to coach our son's little league team, attending every one of our daughters' marathon-
length dance recitals, and pushing the kids in a cart around the grocery store while they each picked out their favorite treat.

He played "monster" for hours whenever the kids asked, chasing them around in the dark with their friends no matter how tired he was after work. He volunteered in their school classrooms, attended overnight field trips with them, and served on the PTA board. He taught them how to Rollerblade and ride a bike (and eventually taught them how to drive). He played basketball and hockey in the driveway every Sunday with all the neighborhood kids, helped our kids build their science projects, study for their exams, and was always available for cuddling on the couch whenever they felt sick.

Mac also taught them to love unconditionally and to never, EVER, take the unique closeness that we share in our family for granted. Our kids know that their dad always has their backs, and that they can count on him to feel safe.

The list goes on and on, and there aren't enough words to describe how appreciative I am that he is the father of our four, amazing children.

Amazing because of him.

Happy Father's Day Mac, and to all the hard working fathers out there celebrating this special day of recognition. You deserve the best!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This past week I was featured on Motherhood Collective.  You can read about my funny experience with head lice here: https://motherhoodcollective.blog/2018/06/07/the-5-stages-of-head-lice-from-denial-to-depression/#more-1748

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Is Menopause Driving You Crazy?

     I don't know about you, but menopause is making me a little bit crazy these days. Maybe it's the hot flashes. Maybe it's the constant fatigue and forgetfulness. Either way, I am always searching for a solution to lessen the symptoms.

     Today on the blog I have a special guest who has discovered something that works to make menopause more bearable and she is here to share it with all of us. Please welcome Mary Sisson from Hot Shots to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love!

                                  Is Menopause Driving You Crazy?

As if being a woman wasn’t tough enough! - When we reach the stage in our lives where we look forward to sailing into a life without periods, cramps, bloating and all the wonderful misery that goes along with all of that….SURPRISE! Here comes menopause. Yes. Yet another phase of womanhood that can turn your hourglass figure into that of a pineapple, your skin tone goes from peachy and tight to something that looks like it was a skin graft off of a tyrannosaurus rex, you get 5-alarm hot flashes with no good looking firemen standing by to put out the flames and when the fire burns out - you are suddenly freezing in cold wet clothes or pajamas, you suffer from periodic moments of CRS (can’t remember stuff), and you get mood swings that have you going from happy as a clam to being capable of biting the heads off of small animals in the blink of an eye. Sound familiar? It’s miserable and that’s putting it lightly.
There is finally a product out there that can provide relief - safely and without side effects. Really. It’s not a pill full of chemicals. It’s not a placebo designed to trick your brain into feeling relief. It’s actually a mix of some of mother nature’s best ingredients that, when mixed together, create honest-to-goodness relief from bloating, weight gain, hot sweats, freeze outs, poor skin tone, and mood swings. It’s about time! After all, mother nature had a hand in this whole menopause business. The least she can do is provide something to take the misery out of it. 
If you want to put your menopause on hold, it's time to try Hot Shots! Use code Firsttime10 for $10 off your first order at www.meno-paused.com

                                   About The Author: Mary Sisson

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Mary Sisson. Jack of all trades - master of some. What’s that mean? It means I’ve performed in a few “rodeos” during my life. Not the kind with good looking cowboys riding amazing horses and bucking broncos. More like the kind of life experiences that help make me who I am.
I grew up on a farm in Schoenersville, Pennsylvania (that’s Pennsylvania Dutch country). Graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York as a chef. I Lived at the Jersey shore and in north Jersey and there, developed some thick skin. (Jersey is no joke you know….) I Worked as a cake decorator, nursery school teacher, elementary school secretary, meeting and event planner, banquet waitress, caterer, payroll specialist and my most recent gig….a benefits specialist. How’s that for all over the board? Yes, it’s pretty diverse but it’s given me plenty of experiences and I’m grateful for that. It actually gives me so much to draw upon when I write. 
And then there’s the whole lifetime achievements and memories that go along with being a Mom, Grandma, Wife, Step Mom, Aunt, Sister and Daughter. Those job titles go hand in handwith kids, grandkids, a husband, step kids, nieces & nephews, brothers and sisters and a mother, mother in law and father in law. A whole cast of characters that provide endless entertainment and fodder for thought. 

I love to write. Am I the next New York Times Best Selling Author? Who knows? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m doing something that I like to do and hopefully setting the stage to help readers to stop and think and remember. The icing on the cake (….that’s chef talk) is putting a smile on someone’s face.


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