Archive for May, 2009

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ depresses me: What’s a mom to do?

We settled in on Saturday night to finally watch “Slumdog Millionaire” on DVD. I knew it won a bunch of Oscars, I knew it was set in India, and I knew they lived in the slums.

However, I didn’t expect (probably stupidly) the amount of heartwrenching violence and sadness that these poor children endured growing up in the movie.

Here’s a plot summary if you haven’t seen it. (Spoiler Alert – it gives all the details!)

While I know the “Slumdog Millionaire” story is fictional, sadly I am certain there are thousands of children around the world being sold, traded, abused, forced into slavery, prostitution and to beg on the streets. I’m also certain there are orphaned children living on the streets trying to take care of themselves just as the film depicted.

After crying my way through the movie, I picked my baby up from her crib and brought her into our bed for the night. I just wanted to hold her and love her. I was so sad for the children that don’t have a parent to take care of …

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Top travel dilemmas for families: What are yours?

Could you fit clothes for five people into the bag -- including a baby?

Could you fit clothes for five people into the bag — including a baby?

We took the kids on a quickie trip to Disney World over the Memorial Day weekend, and even before we left the house Michael and I had multiple fights. (Not a surprise to regular readers!) I’m not sure if we fight because we have different traveling styles or if it’s just a man/woman thing. Here are the top travel dilemmas we fight about:

1. How many suitcases does a family of five need for a three-day trip to Disney?

My husband insisted we should only take 1! (I’ll wait quietly while you think about that – one suitcase for five people — including a baby. Babies need a lot of extra stuff.)

We had a fight about it of course. I twittered the question later that night and got a reassuring reply that he was wrong.

So how many bags does a family of five need? I would say two bags for clothes, one for shoes, and one for toiletries. As I finally shoved all our clothes into one bag, Michael walks in with a second …

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Is tattooing a child worse than piercing ears, circumcision?

A Floyd County man has been charged with child cruelty after authorities say he tattooed his 3-year-old son.

The AJC reports:

Floyd County Police Sgt. Teri Davis said Eugene Ashley, 24, tattooed the back of his son’s right shoulder with “DB,” which stands for “Daddy’s Boy,” sometime this spring. The man told police he was intoxicated at the time, Davis said.

The children remain with their mother; Eugene Ashley was arrested May 21 and faces charges of child cruelty and tattooing a person younger than 18 years old, the latter being a misdemeanor, Davis said.

Now granted nobody wants an allegedly drunk, non-professional tattoo artist working on them, but I wonder … is tattooing a child worse than piercing a baby’s ears or circumcising a newborn boy?

I get that there’s a law about not tattooing someone under 18, but why is that more worthy of a law than the other two? Is it simply because the other two are done more frequently so they have become socially acceptable?

Does it have …

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Is your treadmill a danger to your kids?

Boxer Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter died Tuesday after her neck apparently got caught in a cord dangling from a treadmill at her Phoenix home.

Police said Exodus either slipped or put her head in the loop of a cord hanging under the console and suffocated. She was pronounced dead just before noon after being on life support, said police Sgt. Andy Hill, who called the injury a “tragic accident.”

While absolutely tragic, some statistics suggests it’s not that unusual.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

“…almost 5,500 youngsters under age 5 were treated in emergency rooms in 2006 and 2007 for treadmill-related injuries, according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

“Most had cuts, bruises and scrapes, primarily on the hands or fingers; one child’s injury required an amputation. Thirty-two percent had their hands caught in or on the treadmill, in some cases suffering serious friction burns.”

“Consumer Reports researchers noticed burns were more …

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Enter to win our ‘Next Food Network Star’ prize package!

I am so excited to share with you this great giveaway from the AJC and The Food Network.

The fifth season of “The Next Food Network Star” is about to begin on June 7, and we are going to send several lucky winners to a VIP viewing party at the Art Institute of Atlanta for the premiere episode. We also have a prize package worth about $350 for our grand prize winner.

Click this link to enter the contest! (The link is up and LIVE!)

The Food Network is one of our family’s favorite channels on TV. My 6-year-old son loves to curl up with me at night to watch the “Food Network Challenge.” He especially loves any challenges that involve cake – the Dr. Seuss cake challenge, the Disney cake challenge, the wedding cake challenge. He’s mesmerized.

My husband Michael likes to watch “Everyday Italian.” I don’t think he’s really learning Italian cooking. I just think he’s staring at the super sexy host Giada.

My daughter and I love to watch “The Next Food Network Star.” If you haven’t …

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Thinking about Memorial Day and my father-in-law

I know Memorial Day is to honor soldiers who have fallen in battle. We owe a lot to those great men and women and their families. I am awed by their commitment to their country.

Our family knows a lot of men who are serving now or have served but I don’t think I personally know any who have died in action – thank goodness! One of the boys I went to high school with is now performing dangerous ops overseas. He has been in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous areas. He has a small child, and I think about his family often. I worry for them.

We spent the weekend with my father-in-law who served 29 years in the U.S. Army. He was a Green Beret, jumped from planes and eventually worked his way up to Warrant Officer. He is one tough man, and I do admire his bravery and strength.

Share with us your stories about soldiers you know — family or friends.

On other notes:

Parents can register their children ages 7 – 12 for the Peachtree Jr., which is a non-competitive 3K run in …

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Tips for Six Flags and your summer memories

Growing up Atlanta, Six Flags was an annual summer event. Our summer camp took us, and it was always the best day. We went in groups of six or so with teenage counselors. The counselors were willing to ride everything, and actually harassed kids into riding scary coasters. We ate crappy food and were sick as dogs by the time we loaded back onto the bus. It was thrilling!

As I got older, Six Flags was all about trying to sit next to a boy you liked and hopefully getting kissed or holding hands. The Monster Plantation, newly remodeled and now called the Monster Mansion, was the main site for make-out action. It was dark so nobody could see what was going on. (See a photo gallery of construction on the ride.)

The Scream Machine was also a good for holding hands – not too scary like the Mind Bender. You really had to concentrate on not falling out on the Mind Bender.  On the Log Jamboree you could try to snuggle up to the guy you liked if you made sure he was directly in front of …

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Do the King siblings feud more than other sibs?

I’m trying to figure out if Martin Luther King Jr.’s children fight more than other siblings or is just more public? Do you fight with your adult siblings? How do you handle conflict now?

It seems like MLK’s kids are constantly feuding. The latest fight is over the film rights to their father’s story.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

“DreamWorks Studios’ announcement Tuesday that it plans a big-screen epic on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. quickly sparked a new battle among his three feuding children.”

“Dexter King, who lives in California, negotiated the sale of rights by the King estate for what he hopes will be ‘the definitive film’ on his father’s life and legacy, he said in a press release.”

“But his brother and sister, Atlantans Martin Luther King III and Bernice King, said they only learned of the deal in an e-mail from him Tuesday morning as DreamWorks announced the film project.”

“They don’t consider the deal valid and plan to fight it, Bernice King said …

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SCHOOL’S OUT! Oh no, now what?

School’s out! Hooray! It’s SUMMER! (Gwinnett County gets out today, but the rest of Georgia will soon follow.)

There are very few sentiments that parents feel as excited about as kids but I think summer is one of them. (Christmas and Disney World are others.)

We love our teachers and we love our school, but I am so thrilled to have three months off from our regimented schedule. I am excited that the kids can sleep in. I am happy they can go back outside to play after dinner. And it’s such a relief not to have to say “Ok, it’s time to do your homework!” (Not to mention no more extra-curricular activities to drag three kids to.)

So I’m looking forward to having all this special unstructured time with them, but then the reality sets in. I have three children, 8,6 and 2, at home with now 24 hours a day for three months. What in the heck am I going to do with them?

My boss recently asked me this very question and I told her: “I plan to wear them out. Tired children are good …

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Is it OK to hang out alone with opposite sex after marriage?

We don’t actually know if Jon cheated on Kate but people sure have been outraged about him talking in several bars with a young woman and driving off with her. (US Weekly has a whole photo gallery devoted to their interaction.)

All the uproar has made me wonder: What types of behavior with the opposite sex are acceptable after marriage?

Is it OK for a husband to hang out at a bar with friends that are women?

Is it OK for women to talk on the phone to other men? What about to old boyfriends?

Is it OK to have dinner alone with a co-worker or friend who is the opposite sex? (Or does it depend on the person?)

Is it OK to visit the hotel room of the opposite sex on a business trip? (I’m thinking no on this one. It’s called the lobby – go to it!)

Is it OK to be alone in your house with a person of the opposite sex? Be in the office late alone?

Which social scenarios are acceptable and which are taboo?

A few months back a friend got a call from another woman asking her to come over …

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