Category Archives: Children

Weighted Blankets and a Long Distance Thank You

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A wonderful girls weighted blanket made by Kathy Anderson.

A wonderful girls weighted blanket made by Kathy Anderson.

 

For years I have had the privilege of working in health care and through those years I’ve worked with many amazing people.  One of those amazing young women is my friend Kathy’s daughter who has Sanfilippo syndrome (MPS-III).  To learn more about Sanfilippo syndrome please read:  https://roxannesrandoms.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/sanfilippo-syndrome/  .

 

Weighted blankets, lap pads and vests can be a very beneficial, non-invasive, non-drug therapy for individuals with a Sensory Processing Disorder.  To explain:  sensory processing is how we perceive, filter and act on information received from our senses.  Our senses include sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and movement.  A Sensory Processing Disorder means that your brain isn’t able to process the information it receives from all of the senses (it is also sometimes referred to as a Sensory Integration Disorder).  Simply put you just aren’t able to properly process sensory stimuli.   Some examples of SPD/SID are:  autism spectrum disorders including Rett syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome, ADD, ADHD, and CP.  As we know, SPD does not discriminate and can affect all ages and races.

 

Many parents or family members of individuals with a SPD struggle to figure out and find what therapies work best for their loved one.  There are many medications out there that can assist with symptoms, but with many families wanting to go the more natural non-invasive route, weight and pressure therapies are awesome alternatives.  Weighted blankets, lap pads and vests can all provide a constant and even deep pressure that can help with sensory input.  The weight provides a proprioceptive input to the brain which is very calming.

 

Weighted blankets have also been shown to be beneficial for people with insomnia, traumatic brain injuries, RLS, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain and many other conditions.

 

 

Researching weighted blankets can be overwhelming as there are many options and typically the price range is between $60-$190 depending on the size and weight of the blanket needed.  Please make sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist prior to choosing your blanket.  There are many large companies out there that make weighted blankets, but I have always been a fan of supporting small businesses and keeping it local, so I am recommending my friend Kathy.  Kathy’s rates are very reasonable and her blankets are very well made (along with being made with love).   Kathy’s rates for blankets are as follows:  4lb= $30,  5lb=$35,  6lb=$40,  7lb=$45,  8lb = $50,  9lb =$60,  11lb= $70,  12lb= $85,  13lb= $95.  Kathy will make blanket to the weight that your loved one needs (all sizes from children to adult).  Kathy picks great fabrics and will actually take your special requests, so that your loved one will have the perfect blanket for them.  You can go to: https://www.facebook.com/WeightedBlanketsLapPadsVests  to see more of Kathy’s creations.  You can also email Kathy at weight4less@aol.com and ask her any questions and place your special order.

 

 

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A fun boys weighted blanked made by Kathy Anderson.

 

This last Christmas was a very tight one in our home, as we had just moved and hadn’t found jobs in our new state, so we just didn’t have Christmas.  My birthday is Christmas Eve and I received the best gift anyone could ever get, a handwritten thank you card.  The card said:

Roxanne,

     I ordered a weighted blanket for my son with MPSIII from Kathy Anderson.  It was awesome & so was her pricing 🙂  She let me know she was able to make them for the special kiddos at that price due to donations from generous people like you who help her with her fabric purchases.  Thank you so much for your contribution to Reed’s blanket!

Merry Christmas

Love,

Zezee

Not only did this wonderful heartfelt card bring me to tears, but it also brought my husband to tears.  Knowing that my little donation was turned into a blanket that is able to help a wonderful young man warms my heart.

Kathy is able to keep the costs of her blankets so reasonable because of donations.  Big, small and everything in-between helps.  Many times families are struggling with money and can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a weighted blanket, especially with the cost of insurance, medications and other therapies.  I know take this moment to kindly request that if you have $1, $5, or more that you can donate to help a family who has a loved one that will benefit from a weighted blanket, please do so.  You can email Kathy at weight4less@aol.com to see how you can help and donate.

 

Weighted vest made by Kathy Anderson.

Weighted vest made by Kathy Anderson.

 

Some Helpful Links:

http://www.spdfoundation.net/

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/proprioceptive-dysfunction.html

http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/

http://www.autismspeaks.org/

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An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

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An Open Letter to Ann Coulter.

THANK YOU John Franklin Stephens for your wonderful heartfelt letter!!

Please take the time to learn more and educate others by going to http://www.r-word.org/

Emotional Chords and How We Play Them

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We all have emotions.  Happy, sad, angry, miffed, excited…all emotions.  We feel emotions in different situations, around different people and in different ways.  Sometimes it purely depends on the situation as to how you will react emotion wise, other times it depends on the day.  Example:  That movie or commercial that always pulls at your heart-strings–sometimes when you watch it you feel that emotional connection and respond by really thinking about the theme and acknowledging it, other times you see it and end up bawling for 15 minutes (and no, not the cute cry…the ugly cry, snot and all).  How we chose to process those emotions is where things sometimes get a little tricky.

The following is an emotion wheel that I thought would be fun to use pictures of our dog Doc showing some of the different emotions.  Pets are always great at helping people regulate their own emotions and studies have shown that pets are also great therapy.

 

Doc emotions through pictures.

When something happens in your life that does strike an emotional chord, learning how to react can be a real challenge, we have to learn how to play those emotional chords.  Yesterday a friend of mines young son was at school and injured himself during gym by running into the corner of a wall.  Joe’s injury required that he get 5 stitches in his temple area.  Joe did not cry, nor did his mother, yet when she contacted me about his injury she explained how hard it was for her to stay strong and not to cry so that Joe would be able to stay brave.  It is hard seeing someone you love hurt or in pain and in some situations the best thing that you can do is play your own emotional chords very softly so that the other person’s emotions do not escalate.  My friend did a perfect job keeping her own emotions in-check because they helped her son stay calm.  Later in the evening when Joe’s father arrived at home Joe showed that he had a great sense of humor about the injury by jokingly telling his dad that “he took on the whole class” and that the cut was all he got out of it 🙂

Part of our way of dealing with our own emotions depends on how we chose to look at life.  If you look at life and think that the world is out to get you and that life in general sucks, you emotions will also portray that.  If you try to stay upbeat and positive, even when life hands you the occasional lemon, your emotions will portray that.

Our emotions and moods also rub off on those around us…or other people’s emotions can rub off on us, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.  I have one friend that stands out as always being happy (well, 98% of the time at least).  He has a great sense of humor and loves to make other people laugh and have fun.  If you are in a funk of a mood that day, within just a few minutes around him your entire day will brighten and your emotions will be uplifted.  A smile and a laugh really help in keeping emotions in-check.  On the other hand I have a friend who is always a “Debbie-Downer” she is either mad, angry, ticked-off or irritated all of the time…gosh, imagine how much stress that puts on your body to be feeling those emotions all of the time.!?  Even when something super positive happens in her life, rather than being happy and excited that it will happen, she choses to look at it and say “well, it wont last.”  Your life and emotions all come down to your own choices.  Chose to be happy, chose to be sad…it is all up to you.  Yes, sometimes people are actually not able to control their own emotions which can lead to depression and other health issues, but counseling & some medications (depending on each individual situation) can really help balance out the different emotions.

Years ago I had a friend that would call me in tears at least three times a week and tell me the horrible things her then boyfriend (now husband) would say to her when they were fighting or arguing.  After a few months of this I finally stopped her in the middle of one of her venting sessions and told her that the next time she called me she needed to tell me at least 3 positive things that he said or done for her before she started telling me about all of the negative things.  This made her stop and actually look at all of the positive things that he said and did, which helped her not focus on the negative things as much.  A few months later their arguing and fighting had lessened and their communication had opened.  After one of their arguments where he had said something horrible to her she finally asked him why he says such mean things to her when they fight and his answer was “you hurt my feelings so I just wanted to say the meanest thing I could think of so your feelings would hurt too.”  This made her realize that there were two sets of emotions in the relationship, and when she only focused on hers and he only focused on his their relationship sucked, but when they took the little time to focus on each others emotions their relationship became much stronger.

This leads me to think of a variety of questions, that hopefully also make you think:

Have you ever said something to just purposely hurt someone elses feelings?

How often do you stop to think about how your emotions affect the people around you?

Do you let other people’s emotions rub off on you?

How do you stay positive in a negative situation?

How do you stay strong when your emotions are tested?

How often do you just stop to think about other people’s emotions?

On days when you are sad have you found anything that helps make you feel emotionally better?  An emotional outlet that works for you?  Reading, baking, exercise, pet therapy?

How do you choose to play your emotions songs?

Do you find that little things often times “get” to you?  If so, how do you deal with them?

If you could choose three negative emotions to work on how you react to them, what would they be?

If you could choose three positive emotions to use more and make stronger in your daily life, what would they be?

Have you ever been so emotional that you have said or done something you later regret?

Have you ever transferred your emotions about a situation or about yourself onto someone else?  Example:  You are mad because you got in a car accident and you yell at the other driver, a few days later you realize that it was your own actions that caused the accident, so really the person you were mad at was yourself, yet you took it out on the other driver.

Have you ever let your own emotions hold you back in life?

Do you help others when they are on an emotional low?

Are their people in your life that you can look at and say “Susie is always happy” or “Jake is just a downer”?  How do you let their examples mold the emotions in your life?

As you have aged have you become better at controlling your own emotions?

Do you think that television is affecting the emotions of generations of young people?  Does seeing people get angry, scream, swear and turn a table over teach young people negative emotions or negative ways of dealing with their emotions?

Who are the three people in your life that you admire the most for their emotions and emotional support?

 

 

 

 

5 THINGS: The Appreciation Experiment.

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5 Things: The Appreciation Experiment. Find at: https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

In 2010 a friend of mine started posting 5 Things that she appreciated that day on her facebook page and the feedback she got from her friends was amazing.  This prompted her to start the 5 Things facebook page where anyone and everyone can post the 5 things that they appreciate, big, small and everything in-between, they are also able to read what other people are appreciating.  5 Things founder Sarah M:  “My days are often brighter when I take some time in the morning to reflect upon what makes me happy.  It is all too easy to get caught up in deadlines and “have-tos” and “just-gottas” and yes…even the sneaky “yeah-buts.”  Sarah realized that taking those few minutes a day to reflect can really help people slow down and take notice of what is truly important to them.

Far too often in todays rush-rush-technology-driven-work-harder-do-more-make-more society we overlook all of the little things in our lives that are so important.  We literally take the majority of our lives for granted.  How many of us take the time to be thankful for electricity when we are watching our favorite movie, writing a blog, hitting the snooze button in the morning?  Not many, because that is just one of the things that we have all gotten so accustom to having that we barely notice it is there anymore…but we sure do notice when it is gone.  Many of us are in overall good physical health, but how many of us acknowledge how thankful for that health we are?  We take advantage of being able to see, hear, smell, speak, taste, feel, touch, walk, dance…until something happens, something unexpected…an accident, an illness, a fall…whatever factor that takes a portion of your health away, and typically it is not until that factor happens that we finally start to realize how much we appreciate(d) that part of our health…and if we are lucky we will heal and regain that part of our health back and be able to hopefully appreciate its importance of it for the rest of our lives.

Thinking about appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness brings to mind a whirlwind of questions.  Each question will have a different answer for each person.  Each question may have one answer today and then a year from now a completely different answer.  Life changes, the things that we love and care for change, the things we find important change, yet we should always be able to come up with a list of things that we appreciate in life.  The following are just some of the questions that I came up with that I think everyone should stop, think about and take notice of:

How many of the daily things that you take for granted would you notice and miss if they were gone?

What in your life do you put the most value on?  Family?  Friends?  Pets?  Material items?  Money?  God?

What makes us happy?

If you only had 5 minutes to take the “important” things out of your house what would they be?

Can money every truly buy happiness?

Do you appreciate the things in your life that you waste?  Food?

What would you do if you lost everything?

What would you miss most if you lost everything?

Who would you thank if you knew today would be your last?

How many of the people in your life actually know how much you appreciate them?  How do you show them?

Does your spouse/significant other feel your love and appreciation for them?  Do you thank them?  Compliment them?  Remind them?

5 Things:  The Appreciation Experiment encourages you to stop and take just a few minutes out of your day and share the 5 things you appreciate.  They may be little things that you are appreciating at that moment like your morning cup of coffee or big things that you appreciate every day of your life like your spouse and children.  You may be looking out your window at the time and be glad to see the sun shining and hear bird chirping.  Whatever it is at that moment that you appreciate…SHARE.  Being able to read the things that others appreciate can also shed light on some of the things you’ve been accidentally overlooking.

TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY TO APPRECIATE!            https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

 

 

 

 

20 Lessons from Reality…TV.

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1.  Drink, drink more, drink even more.

2.  Strangers and “friends” are both used for one night stands (typically after #1).

3.  Fake.  Fake boobs.  Fake tans.  Fake lips.  Fake hair.  Fake hair color.  Fake eyelashes.  Fake teeth.  Fake butts.  Fake bellies.  Fake nails.  FAKE PERSONALITIES!

4.  Being disrespectful is normal and acceptable.

5.  There are no consequences for your actions.  Go ahead, punch his lights out and pull her hair extensions!

6.  Money grows on trees, so make sure to use that credit card for EVERYTHING!  $1,500 shoes, hells yeah!

7.  Morals?  WTF!

8.  The best way to deal with your issues is to scream and swear loudly while overturning tables and trying to attack someone.

9.  Clothing is optional in any circumstance.

10.  When clothing is worn it needs to be tight and tiny.  Seriously, bending over and showing the world your snatch is 100% normal, just make sure that you are going commando.

11.  BLING!!!

12.  Be a glutton and then get liposuction.

13.  You can disrespect your family, but if anyone else does kick their ass.

14.  Good sportsmanship is when you show everyone how much better you are than them.

15.  Marriage is just a contract that can be broken at any time….even 72 days later.  Marriage is also a fantastic tool to assist with self-promotion.

16.  Dogs and small children make great accessories.

17.  Brand names help make you who you are, they must be worn at all times.

18.  Drugs are a speed dial away and you’re only “hot” if you do them.

19.  Men and women will do anything for true love, as long as it is being video taped.

20.  Laws are made to be broken because no matter what you do if you’re famous a slap on the wrist is all you’ll get.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM REALITY TV?

Sad when you think about it and realize that most reality tv is targeting people between 13-25.

Lost Children: Generation of Technology

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Recently I have seen many posts online referring to how different the “older” generation’s childhood was from our current generations.  These post range from not having air conditioning, cable, cell phones to actually going outside and playing to burn of excess energy.  From reading the variety of posts it made the wheels in my mind start turning and made me wonder just really how different are the children of today.

I was born in the late 70’s and can say that I was alive and participating in the world for a total of 1 week in 1979.  I was a child of the 80’s and a teen of the 90’s.  During the 80’s we were one of the first families on our block to get a VCR and my family had a membership to the local video store. I was limited to 3 movies per week and that was the extent of my television, the rest of my time was spent playing outside, drawing, pretending, doing homework, reading and being a kid.  Some of the basic toys that I loved was coloring books, slinky, stuffed animals, etch-a-sketch (I would get so frustrated when my family would walk by and purposely bump it just to mess with me), and of course the mighty bicycle.   I remember my parents (in 1985) bringing me home a Teddy Ruxpin as a surprise and I was terrified of him (terrified!!!)…seriously, those of you who remember Teddy Ruxpin tell me he wasn’t creepy.  Moving into the 90’s of course everything changed.  Nintendo, Sega and other gaming systems became all the rage, and I do have to admit that for a while I was very good at Super Mario, my specialty—flying.  My father also made sure that I kept active and limited video game and television time.  Some of his favorite tasks to keep me busy with was having me haul in wood, do dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn and other things that the typical teen doesn’t find very cool.  I am grateful to my father for having made me do those things, because not only did they get me off my butt and outside most of the time, but they also taught me a great amount about responsibility and what it means to be a successful adult…the fresh air was also good for me.

When my father was a child toys were made to last forever.  They were sturdy.  They were metal.  They had sharp edges.  They were meant to be played with.  They were toys that had substance and longevity, unlike the toys of today’s era.  Many of the toys that my father played with were made in America, the good old U.S. of A.  I truly believe that the toys that last are the toys of the past.  Majority of the toys that are currently on the market for this generations children are made in China or whichever country the manufacturer can find to produce it the fastest and cheapest, in doing this I believe quality is completely lost.  The toys of today are made out of plastic and have nice rounded corners and edges so that there is virtually no chance of a child hurting themselves.  At this point pretty much the only thing on the toys that will hurt the children is some of the paint that is chalked full of lead.  Of course you want to keep your children safe, but then isn’t part of growing up having battle wound stories to tell.

Enough about today’s toys…let us move onto electronics and the mass addiction that today’s society has on them.  Majority of the adults that I know have a computer, cell phone, MP3 player, high-def tv, dvd/bluray, etc…but the question loudly ringing through my mind is WHY ON EARTH DO CHILDREN NEED ALL OF THESE ITEMS TOO???  I worked as a nanny with a child who was right in the 2-year-old range and his parents would let him play with their I-Phones and if they did not he would throw a fit.  The parents also would play Wii with him…seriously, the kid is 2!  In his bedroom he had a MP3 player and docking station and would refuse to even think about going to bed or taking a nap unless music was playing.   At 2 years of age he already knew that he would rather play with his parent’s phones than go outside and I find that sad.

 

How young is too young for children to be obsessed with technology?

How much technology is too much?

Should children be regulated on their technology consumption?

Are parents to blame for using technology as babysitters rather than taking the time and actually interacting with their children?

How many parents are encouraging physical activity—outside?

How unhealthy does our current generation on children need to get before our red flags go up and something changes?

How many parents are hands on in teaching their children about the world around them?  Nature?  Cooking?  Mechanics?  The basic life skills that will be much-needed as an adult.

Being that Christmas is just a little over a day away I wonder how many parents/family members/etc. will get the children in their lives something educational or something that promotes physical activity that is not completely dependent on technology?  I keep seeing Santa on the news and  hearing children asking for I-Pads, video game systems and other items along the same line, which makes my heart sad because when I was young you would have never asked for items so expensive.  No wonder families are struggling to get by.  Going off of the Christmas and Santa thing it makes me wonder how parents explain where toys were made to their children.  According to the Santa myth his elves all hand make the toys at the North Pole, yet if you have a child who is of reading age and they read the bottom of a toy and it says “Made in China” I wonder how exactly does a parent explain that one away?

Children used to enjoy going outside to play, playing until they were exhausted and using their imaginations.  I feel like a lot of the children today are going to lack many of skills that we and generations prior to us have taken for granted for so many years such as CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY, and RESOURCEFULNESS.  When children used to be able to imagine a stick was a sword they could swing or a horse they could ride that took a great amount of imagination and mental exercise.  Now all kids have to do is go online or play a video game that swings the sword at the tap of a button or makes the horse run with a click of the paddle, the game is being their imagination for them and due to that I feel like there is a lost generation being raised.

In closing, children of my father’s generation and earlier were like little MacGyver’s, while the children of today’s generation are like little Mac Guys (sorry Justin Long, nothing against you as an actor).  Please take time to encourage your children and the children around you to be creative, use their imaginations, burn energy outside and look at this amazing world we live in through their own eyes in splendid wonder.