Friday, June 19, 2020

Fly On The Wall During The June Emergence

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

At our house, life is slowly getting back to normal. We are emerging hesitantly from the quarantine and into the outside world. I'm feeling a bit like one of the Morlocks from H.G. Wells' movie "The Time Machine" ( and I probably look like one, too!). The lifting of lockdown restrictions in my area has meant more time spent with my adult kids and grandkids, which has been awesome. We were able to celebrate my daughter's 31st birthday after a quick stop at the cemetery to take flowers to her twin brother (you can read Jason's story that was published last year in The New York Times HERE). She and her fiance just moved into a house and lucky for us, it is nearby, plus it has a pool! Yay!

The not-so-great thing that happened earlier this month was that my youngest pug became very ill out of the blue and needed emergency lung surgery. He had an extremely rare condition but it was fixable through surgery, so of course, we did whatever possible to save our fur baby's life (Yoda is only three). I'm happy to report that he is now doing GREAT, running around, and playing with his other puggy siblings. Life is good!

As for the fly on the wall, he has overheard a few interesting snippets of humor around our house this month:

"By my calculations, I expect I'll be giving birth in December to my pandemic food baby."
"Lucky you. My COVID-19 food baby is already full-term."

"This coffee went right through me. I need to go to the bathroom ASAP."
"Me too!"
"That's how you can tell we've been married a long time---our bowels are in sync."

"Our water bill has gotten ridiculously high. Maybe we should only shower once a week to lower cost!"
"That would most definitely enforce social distancing."

"I was once young and virile."
"Now you're just old and sterile."

"You give me such large portions at mealtime that I'm afraid I'm going to get a hernia carrying my dinner plate."

"Aren't you going to stay and watch Good Morning America's 'Play Of The Day' segment?"
"No, because Mother Nature is calling and I need to go do my poop of the day."

"Hey Mom, can I borrow your air mattress? I think it's in your closet."
"I doubt that I can find it. There could be another family living in that closet and I wouldn't even know it."

     And....that's a wrap! See you next month with all of the other Morlocks!

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

Baking In A Tornado        
Never Ever Give Up Hope   
Menopausal Mother         
Spatulas on Parade            

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Guest Novelist Heather Wardell: The Menopause Support Group

     Today on the blog I'm sharing something new and fun---a sneak peek at author Heather Wardell's upcoming novel, The Menopause Support Group." A brief summary of the book: Three very different women (cancer survivor Emily, career-obsessed Michelle, and busybody Brenda) and their fellow menopause support group members work through career crises, marriage disasters, and the world's worst birthday celebration as they learn together what it means to be a woman in menopause and beyond.

     I am completely intrigued by Heather's novel and can't wait to read it. The book will be released on June 30th, so be sure and grab a copy (links for ordering are below). Here's a sample from one of the book chapters to further convince you. Enjoy!

                           THE MENOPAUSE SUPPORT GROUP

Maria leads me to the circle of chairs, where I end up sitting next to her as she introduces me to the group then says, "Michelle, what's your story? As much or as little as you want to tell us."
"I'm... I'm thirty-nine," I say, "and I think I've been in menopause for about half a year now. I get on average seventeen hot flashes a day, I track them, and—"
"That's good," Brenda puts in, "it'll help you figure out what causes them. I track mine too, and—"
"Yes, thank you, Brenda," Maria says firmly. "Michelle's speaking."
Brenda mumbles something and I say over her, "I don't have any kids, and... well, I'm not sure I'm happy with that." Understatement, but enough for this group. "And that's about it."
Everyone murmurs some version of "Nice to meet you," and Maria says it more clearly then adds, "And you've picked a good week to start, as today's topic is hot flashes. This week we have an official topic, next week we'll just talk about whatever interests the group, and so on back and forth. As we always do when it's a topic week, I'll present some information from the doctors and then we'll discuss it and give our own tips and tricks. So..."
She picks up a binder from the floor beside her and begins. She doesn't just read it, which is great because that annoys me, but looks back regularly to keep herself on topic.
"Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, affecting three out of every four people going through it. They're caused by a lack of estrogen, which in turn is caused by the ovaries shutting down or beginning to shut down. It's thought that the body's temperature regulation uses estrogen to some extent, and so without it the body thinks you're in hot conditions and so acts accordingly. With the symptoms we know. Which are?"
"Red face."
"Red chest."
"Red everything."
Everyone looks at Lisa who laughs. "I figure the red hair and lipstick distract the eye from the red skin and the sweat. Worth a shot, right?"
Maria smiles and nods as several more symptoms are thrown out, all of which I have during my flashes.
"It's the racing heart I find really difficult," I say, surprised I want to be involved right away. "Makes me feel like I'm panicking."
Maria nods and so do several of the others, including Brenda. "We'll talk about ways to help with that," Maria says, then adds, "Shortly," over Brenda's attempt to talk about it right now.
Brenda subsides; Maria continues to explain the biology of hot flashes for another few minutes, then ends with, "But understanding why they happen doesn't necessarily help us control them. What have you found to work for you?"
The usual things I've seen online, like deep breathing and wearing layers, come up first, and someone suggests a few essential oils that might help, then Lisa says, "Green primer."
The other ladies, none of whom are wearing much makeup, look confused, but I turn to her and say, "Really?"
She nods and holds both hands up to her face as if framing it. "Having a flash right this second. Can you tell?"
We all peer at her and shake our heads.

Heather Wardell, Women's Fiction with Depth, Humor, and Heart
Heather is a natural 1200-wpm speed reader and the author of twenty-one novels. She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and can’t imagine ever leaving it. In her spare time, she reads, swims, walks, lifts weights, crochets, changes her hair colour, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.
***Pre-order is live now at 99 cents and the book will be released June 30th. The price goes up to $3.99 after July 4th. There will be a print version at $18.95 but likely not until early July.
Amazon - 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Speech And Language Therapy Is Going Online--What Moms Need To Know

     Today on the blog my guest is Leanne Sherred, President and Founder of Expressable, an online speech therapy company. If you have a child in your family who has speech or language difficulties, Expressable is an affordable and convenient way to get online help from speech language pathologists. The timing for this online learning program is perfect during the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone is staying home. Please read all about the multiple benefits of the program and check out Leanne's site below.

Speech and Language Therapy is Going Online - What Moms Need to Know

Chances are, many Menopausal Mom readers have a kiddo with speech or language difficulties. Maybe they have a stutter. Maybe they’re not able to pronounce sounds, words, or phrases correctly for their age. Or perhaps they have challenges with literacy or language comprehension. 

These issues are fairly common and, in fact, affect millions of children and adults every year. 

Obviously, you want the very best for your child. Every child deserves to find their voice. Plus, having strong speech and language skills is essential for a child’s academic, social, and emotional development. That’s why it’s often recommended they see a speech language pathologist, the most qualified professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat these issues. 

But what about online speech therapy? Maybe you haven’t given it much of a thought. But we do everything online these days - from shopping, to travel bookings, to reading this blog - so why not speech therapy? 

Online speech therapy was already exploding in popularity - and that was before COVID-19. Suddenly, with schools and clinics closed, tons of families turned to teletherapy to continue these vital services. Even as the country reopens and we all begin to return to normal life, there’s a reason many families aren’t looking back. From affordability to convenience, teletherapy has so many advantages.  

What is Online Speech Therapy? 

Teletherapy is just like traditional speech therapy, but speech language pathologists deliver services online via modern video conferencing. We all became pretty proficient at Zoom and FaceTime during the quarantine. This is really no different, except on the other end of the line is a qualified professional. 

Is Online Speech Therapy Effective? 

Receiving speech therapy services online is a pretty new and unfamiliar delivery method for many families. And understandably, it can raise many important questions. Is it effective? Will my child receive the same level of care and attention? What does the research say? 

Fortunately, there’s a lot of research available. Two of the prominent studies were conducted by Kent State University and the Ohio Department of Public Health. Each compared children receiving online speech therapy to children receiving in-person therapy. Each child was evaluated before they started therapy and after, to see how much improvement was made. 

The results were clear: children in both groups made significant progress towards their speech and language goals, with no difference between delivery methods. In short, online speech therapy was put to the test - and it passed with flying colors. 

Benefits of Online Speech Therapy:

There’s a reason more families are turning to online speech therapy every day - either to help their children or to receive services themselves. I’ve outlined a few of these advantages below:

  • Affordability: Speech therapy coverage is routinely denied as a covered benefit by many insurance companies. What’s worse, paying out-of-pocket can be extremely expensive. By taking services online, many of the traditional costs of running a practice don’t apply (think rent, overhead, administration). These cost savings get passed down to families, making therapy considerably more affordable.
  • Convenience: Who wants to deal with long commute times? With the click of a button, you can access face-to-face speech therapy services from the comfort of your home. Additionally, people often learn in an environment they’re most comfortable with.
  • Flexibility: Parents are living busy and hectic lives, and fitting speech therapy into a 9-5 schedule often isn’t possible. With online speech therapy, you have the added flexibility of attending sessions that fit best for your family - whether that’s on the weekends after baseball practice or Wednesday night after dinner.
  • Parent-Therapist Relationships: Studies show that parents and caretakers play a huge role in improving their child’s speech and language development. Just like learning any other skill, it requires practice at home. With online speech therapy, many parents sit side-by-side with their child and attend their sessions together.. This means parents can learn tips and strategies for reinforcing best practices at home. 

About Leanne Sherred, M.S. CCC-SLP:
Leanne calls Austin, Texas home but studied Speech and Hearing Sciences at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and gained her Master's in Speech-language pathology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She has worked in pediatric outpatient clinics, schools, early intervention, and home health. Leanne is currently the President and Founder of Expressable, an online speech therapy company that envisions a modern and affordable way for anyone who needs speech therapy to access these vital services. 


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