The Importance of Being Reese: August 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Miley: I spent all last night thinking about what I would say to you if you were my daughter. I thought of my own mother, who thankfully instilled in me a sense of pride. She taught me to respect myself enough to command the respect of others. I thought about all the mothers across the nation who were probably sitting their too-young daughters down and trying to explain to them why someone they had once aspired to be had such little respect for herself.

And so Miley, this is what I came up with: whether you realize it or not, whether you intended for it to happen or not, you ARE a role model. Young girls look to you for guidance. With a power such as the one you've been granted, comes the moral obligation to live your life in a way that inspires greatness from others. What you did at the VMA's only added to the masses of voices that insist that women are objects to be displayed. We are so much more than that. You are so much more than that. My daughter is so much more than that. If you can't respect yourself, respect the young girls who idolize you enough to let them know that they are that worth more than the instant gratification of having men praise them for their beauty, tawdry behavior and exposed skin. Beauty fades. Class does not.

Dear Robin: You really should be ashamed of yourself. I once thought of you as an incredibly sexy man. Now the only thing I see when I look at you is a middle-aged sellout trying to cope with his midlife crisis and reaffirm his manhood by exploiting a young woman who is clearly troubled. So congratulations, your CD now gets an all expenses paid trip to my trash can. But rest assured, you'll have John Mayer and Chris Brown around to keep you company.

Dear Jasmine: Mommy loves you more than you will ever know. Never forget that....
P.S. If you EVER pull a stunt like Miley Cyrus did at the VMA's, I will ground you so hard, it'll make a life sentence at Alcatraz look like a vacation.

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Weekend Wanderings

It almost seems impossible that someone as young as Anne Frank was so insightful and positive. Even in the face of all the terrible atrocities she faced in her short life she was the epitome of grace.

A few days ago I wrote a post about the seedy underbelly of the blogosphere; GOMI. Lately, I've found myself more and more disenchanted with the blogosphere--with the world in general really. But then I saw this quote by Anne Frank. It put things into perspective. It reminds me that despite my feelings to the contrary,  I have options. When I'm feeling sad, I have the option to escape. I have the freedom to leave the confines of my home. This is so much more that Anne did.

And so this weekend, we escaped.  We traded in the noisy overbearing city for a few hours of quiet reprieve in the mountains. It wasn't much, but it was enough. And for that am grateful.

Nature has this way of reminding us that there is so much more magnificence in the world than what you can find in a mall. It reminds me that there is so much more to the world than what can be found on a computer screen.

We enjoyed every second of our adventure. This was the first time Jasmine has been hiking, so she was just bubbling over with excitement at the prospect of being unleashed into the wilderness. She ran ahead of us eager to explore the unfamiliar.

James was in his element. Quietly taking in the beauty that nature had to offer. We enjoyed our time together; as all families should from time to time. 

Every single person we passed on the trail was kind.  They all had the same look in their eyes. A look of contentment. I suppose we probably had the same look in our eyes as well. We stopped and chatted with nearly everyone saw. It's amazing what you can learn about a person in a few minutes. 

By the time our adventure came to an end, I could tell no one was ready to leave. So as we drove away and the mountains faded into the distance, Anne's words reverberated in my mind and I made a solemn promise that we would soon return.

August Group Giveaway

As August winds down, you'll have one more opportunity to check out the lovely ladies that have been keeping my sidebar pretty for the past two months. They have been so generous with the prizes for this giveaway so be sure to show them some love on their blog/social media sites. All three of these ladies are awesome so you won't be disappointed.

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1 Journal

As always, in order to win, you must be following ALL three of the blogs listed in the Rafflecopter widget. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. This contest is a winner take all kind of deal, so one lucky winner will walk away with all of these AMAZING prizes. Contest will end Monday, September 2nd at 12:00 a.m.  Good luck to all! 
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Be Kind

I've never understood why it is that some people choose to hurt others. As a child, one of my closest friends was relentlessly bullied. Years later, she is still  broken. I often wonder what became of her tormentors. Are they remorseful? Are they aware of the lasting impact they've had?  Or do they enjoy knowing that she still carries the pain of her childhood with her?

One day my daughter will come home from school, tears in her eyes; broken. I wish I would be able to truthfully tell her that it gets better. I can't. Once upon a time I believed in the decency and kindness of people. I still do, only now it's been marred by the reality that some people choose to hurt others just because they can.

A lifetime of experiences and a recent revelation by Forbes have taught me that one simple fact--because they can.  Because they can do it without fear of repercussion. Because they can do it without a conscience. Because this is what our society has become. A mean girl, hiding behind her keyboard, causing others misery because she can.

So no, I do not believe that Get Off My Internets should have been included on Forbes' list of best websites for women. In fact, it troubles me greatly that it was. What does this say about us as women if a site created for the sole purpose of tearing down other women is considered enlightening and inspiring?

I understand freedom of speech as well as anyone. What I don't understand is actively seeking someone out to cause them misery.  Somewhere along the way our definition of freedom has become so convoluted and distorted that we truly believe we can behave any way we choose without fear of consequences.

The true irony is that if half of the people who "participate" in this site applied just a shred of their dedication to doing something positive or constructive the world would be just a little bit more beautiful. It only takes one. One single person to change a life or leave an impact. In the end, we are the one's who decide whether that impact is positive or negative.

Stop tearing others down and be the one who makes a difference.

Because I know soon or later someone will choose to end their life as a result of this. And I pray in my heart that those involved will be able to live with themselves.

Plato said if far more eloquently than I ever could, "be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle."

5 Tips for Dealing With Child Bullies

As you guys may remember, I'm a huge proponent of fighting bullying. I've always been pretty vocal about it, so I decided it was high time to publish a post about how to deal with a suspected case of bullying.

Now that our children are heading back to the classroom, it is the perfect time for us to begin talking with them about bullying. Children who are being bullied may be reluctant to discuss the issue; making it even more difficult to open up the conversation. As adults, we must be aware of the sensitive nature of the topic and learn to talk openly and truthfully with our kids. To help you get started, here are a few tips on how to approach the situation if you suspect your child may the the victim of a bully.

1. Remain calm. Getting angry or upset may only exacerbate an already delicate situation. Allow your child to speak openly and comfortably with you. Provide support and advice. Let your child know that what is happening is not okay and it is not their fault.

2. Research your schools harassment policy.  Most schools have a written policy about bullying. Take the time to read over it and ensure that what is happening with your child is bullying. Remember, bullying is not just one incident, it is an a series of ongoing incidents that are intentional, harmful and repetitive.

3. Approach the school. Although children typically are not overjoyed with the prospect of getting the school involved, intervention from the school is generally what prevents bullying from escalating even further. Keep a detailed account of incidents. Print off any emails, facebook comments, tweets, ect that may provide evidence to back your child's claim. Make an appointment to speak with the principal or counselor. Make sure they realize the severity of the situation and how it is affecting your child.

4. Consider taking further action. If the school is being lax about the situation, don't be afraid to take this to a higher level. Contact the school board, the media, the police. Don't be ashamed or feel that you are overreacting. That is your prerogative as a parent.  Let someone know your child is being bullied and it needs to stop.

5. Boost your kids confidence. This is probably the most useful method of combating bullying. Bullies target people they feel are weak or inferior. Getting your child more active in sports or other activities that they enjoy may cause the bully to back off. It's important for your children to feel loved at a time like this. Encourage them to take part in activities that make them happy.

 Here are some additional resources to help with bullying.

Kids Health: Helping Kids Deal With Bullying
Empowering Parents: My Child Is Being Bullied

Also, be sure that you are talking openly and honestly about bullying and ensure that your child understands what it is. Don't be afraid to get involved if you find out your child is actually the culprit. The more you talk to your children, the less likely they are to become, or be the victim of bullies.

10 Signs You're An Actual Nerd

Apparently Nerdy is the new black. I'm not sure when the transformation happened. It must have been somewhere between the explosion of the quaint little chain coffee shops that pepper every corner of every block, and the first episode of The Big Bang Theory. Either way, Nerds are now considered chic.

Unfortunately for me, I was a nerd well before the hipsters began sprouting up with their prescription-less glasses and Talk Nerdy To Me screen t-shirts. I've alluded to this before in a previous post, but I was a nerd well before it was considered cool.

I'll admit, I get a bit territorial when I see someone who's clearly unqualified trying to encroach on my title. It is a title I have proudly suffered and spilled blood for. Still, I am happy to welcome my truly nerdy brother's and sisters into the fold. Curious about whether or not you fit the bill? Check out this list of ten signs you're an actual nerd.

1.You are a blogger and understand any of the following acronyms: HTML, SEO, or CSS.
2. You know the difference between there, their, and they're.
3.  You are a proud Whovian and can explain temporal paradoxes without the use of Google or Wikipedia.
4. You get excited every year on March 14th.
5. You silently correct people's grammar while they're speaking to you.
6. You still don't know what YOLO means.
7. You own more comic books than shoes.
8. You can name at least five NPR programs.
9. You've dressed up as one of the following for Halloween: a Tardis, a Stormtrooper, a Rubik's cube, or a Starfleet member.
10. You'd happily choose Comic-Con over an all expense paid trip to NYC any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

So there we have it. Of course this list is not exhaustive, but it's a start for those who have found themselves teetering on the edge of nerdom. If you can relate to at least three of these items on the list, well then welcome to the dark side ;)

So are you a true nerd? If so, how do you feel about this new hipster trend and the rise of fake nerds?

Making Milk Is Not a Superpower-- Parenting is

I've been searching for a way to put this a diplomatically as possible. Still, I know this post will somehow inadvertently offend someone. Let me caveat this simply by saying I have no intention of offending anyone. I just want to address something that has bothered me for quite a while now.

For whatever reason, this statement has always bothered me. It's especially interesting that it troubles me because I breastfed my own daughter for 15 months. I suppose I should feel proud of myself when I see this statement, that I should feel empowered and strong, but honestly it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think of how this statement affects the women who, for whatever reason, either choose not to breastfeed, or are incapable of doing so. I think about how it may make them feel and instead of feeling proud, I feel sad.

It almost feels as if this statement is telling other mother's that they are inferior to me because I breastfed. That is not the message I want to send to other mothers. I want other mothers to know that I respect their decisions; however different they may be from mine. I realize that I don't have all the answers when it comes to parenting--most days I feel as if I'm screwing my job up one day at a time. Like most mothers, I just try to do the best I can and hope like hell something sticks.

I wrote a post about birthing a few months ago that I feel really touches on this topic. For whatever reason, parenting and birthing styles have always been extremely controversial topics in the mommy circle. Whenever either topic comes up, the claws come out-- friends turn against friends, cruel things are said. I'm not trying to add to that. I just want other mother's to know that it's not breastfeeding, co-parenting, or homeschooling that make you a superhero; in the eyes of your child, loving them is what makes you the superhero.

So, how do you handle the stress of other parents who criticize your parenting decision?


10 Classic Movies for Every Woman in her 20's

This topic comes after I had an interesting conversation with one of my peers in class the other day. We somehow managed to get on the subject of classic movies. This classmate (we'll just call her "Katherine") proceeded to tell me about her undying love for classic movies. However, when I asked her what her favorite was, she gave me this "oh she's serious look," and I could practically see the sweat beading up on her forehead.

I finally took pity on the poor girl and asked.

"Well, what about Gone With The Wind?"

Which she instantly perked up to. She said she felt like she could totally relate to Sara O'Hara. I didn't have the heart to tell her that, (1) not only was her name Scarlett O'Hara, but (2)  Scarlett was completely and unabashedly racist. The irony of having that conversation with "Katherine" who is--er a few shades lighter than me, was too great to miss.

More to the point, when I say I love the classics, I mean it. People sometimes jokingly tell me I was born in the wrong era. They're probably right.  I've decided to put together a list of my absolute favorite classics that I highly recommend all ladies in their 20's should see.

1). An Imitation of Life
No matter how many times I watch it, I still cry at the end

2. Sabrina
Back in the time when the "good guy" got the girl

3. It's a Wonderful Life
 I would marry James Stewart. You know, if he weren't dead...

4. It Happened One Night
This movie jump started my love for journalism.

5. The Philadelphia Story
 James and Cary = major charm alert

6. Singing in the Rain
The movies that jump started my love for classics

7. Charade
 One of my favorites by Hitchcock. Has a really great twist.

8. The Birds
  Another great Hitchcock film

9. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  I've never been one to call a man beautiful, but Sidney Poitier is beautiful inside and out.

And last but not least,

10. The Shop Around the Corner
 Mr. Stewart at his finest

There are a ton of other classics that I'm madly in love with. Maybe I'll do another list in a while. If you've never watched any of these, please give at least one a try. After all what's better then snuggling up on the couch with your sweetie, glass of wine in hand while the sweet sounds of La Vie La Rose filter through the air?

Adventures at Adventure Landing

Kiddie Amusement Park, North Carolina, Summer Fun
North Carolina summers typically dictate that you spend as little time outside as humanly possible. Normally during the dreaded one month "Dog Days" period, the only time I willingly go outside between the hours of 12:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. is if I'm making a mad dash to the car.

This year however; the weather as been mildly bearable. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that we have been relentlessly battered by an unrelenting month long deluge of summer storms. Normally I enjoy the brief reprieve from the heat and use the rain as an excuse to curl up a bit longer in bed or catch up on some reading. This year has been an exception. After three straight weeks of rain, Jasmine has been bouncing of the walls. Figuratively and literally.

There's only so many episodes of Dora the Explorer and only so many times you can read Oh! The Places You'll Go! before you need a little outdoor playtime to unwind.

Luckily, a few weeks ago we managed to sneak in a few hours of fun outside at Adventure Landing before the clouds opened up with their daily "outpouring of love." It was our first time there. Jasmine immediately took to the carousel, so 30 minutes and 30 tokens later we finally had to drag her off the machine so that other kids could have a turn.

She immediately cheered up again once when we made our way outside to check out some of the kiddie rides. Apparently she takes after her Daddy and loves planes. Luckily, she also takes after me and enjoys sitting in them and not jumping out of them for fun.

Next up, we took a ride on the Choo-Choo Train where Jasmine was kind enough to give us her own impersonation of the Train whistle. What can I say, my kid's got skills ;)

After a few trips around the train tracks, we ambled around outside to check out the rest of the outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the other rides were geared more towards older kids, so we decided to call it a day.

I'm sure when I'm not around to hover, James will take her back and let her ride the big kid rides. And probably allow her to eat all the chocolate she can handle. Because apparently, that's what daddies are for.