Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mom website-aholics 12 Step Program

1. We need to admit that we are powerless over our mom website, that our household messes have become unmanageable- but we don't feel like it.

2. We should come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore our sanity- but we don't want to, plus we enjoy our insanity.

3. We're supposed to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him- but God is too busy to plan play dates and Mom's Night Outs for us.

4. We may have to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. But that would take time away from starting discussions and posting.

5. We will admit to our DH's, DD's, DS's, LO's, SO's, BF's*, ourselves, and to other human acronyms the exact nature of our wrongs- wait, it's wrong to be a mom website addict?

6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all the defects of character- screw that, we're happy with our defective addiction.

7. We could humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings but the keyboard doesn't have any more room for "F" buttons.

8. When we find the time, we'll make a list of all the persons we've harmed blown off and become willing to make amends to them all- as long as they agree to join our mom website.

9. When we're finished going through all our open tabs with discussions we must comment on we will make amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others- or if there's a chat and win contest going on.

10. We will continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it- then immediately start a new discussion to vent about it.

11. We'll seek through prayer discussions to improve our conscious contact with God our mom website as we understand it, praying commenting on our knowledge of His will for us our growing ability to navigate the site with ease and the power to become an expert poster.

12. If we ever decide to pull ourselves away from our mom website we'll have a spiritual awakening as a result of completing these steps- and a cleaner house. We'll try to carry this message to new members, to practice these principles in all affairs, and to drag whoever we can deep into the depths of the mom website addiction.

Adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc by Kaytii Angel

* DH- dear husband, DD- dear daughter, DS- dear son, LO- little one, SO- significant other, BF- boyfriend

Thursday, September 17, 2009

History of the Hula Hoop

Wham-O can't claim to be the inventor of the Hula Hoop. That right belongs to the Egyptians who shaped grape vines into circles. Children rolled them, tossed them, and swung them around their hips. The Greeks used them to lose weight. The British blamed back problems and heart attacks on hula hooping in the 1400's. The Japanese banned them comparing them to the improper Elvis's hip shaking. And Russia thought they were "the emptiness of American culture."

But what defined the popularity of the phenomenon? The 50's. Australian businessman Alex Tolmer started selling plastic hoops at his department store, Toltoys, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica. Wham-O bought the rights, trademarked the name and sold 20 million hoops in six months- for $1.98 in 1958. Thanks to cheap plastic and Wal Mart, you can still buy them for that price. Or you can spend a couple of dollars extra for a higher quality, sturdier hoop.

The Hula Hoop is making a comeback since it's extreme popularity in the 50's. It's become a fun cardio exercise as well as a way to tone muscles. Hooping groups are forming everywhere across the United States. I hate to exercise so I try to find things that intrest me. I love my dance DVD's and my stability ball. Now I love my Hula Hoop.

Buying one has not only helped me, it's helping my 12 and 15 year old daughter's as well. After telling Kelly, the older one, that I'd hooped for 10 minutes without dropping she issued a challenge. She wanted to see which of us could hoop longer. She beat me by two and a half minutes but only because I had to put my younger two to bed- after one hour of hooping. Yeah, that's right- one hour. After doing this research I discovered 600 calories can be burned in an hour. WOW! I'm sure it requires much more physical exerction than I did but it's very promising!

I'm looking forward to another fabulous adventure of toning and weight loss- but tons of fun. Care to go hooping with me?

Hula Hoop

The History of the Hula Hoop

A new fitness craze- Hula Hooping?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Open your hearts to a stranger

I was recently made aware of a post on a site called An excited mom, Shauna, posted a discussion on the Tampa Bay site announcing her engagement. She soon received many congratulations from several moms. It wasn't until Shauna posted that she wanted her friend, Angela, to be her maid of honor "if we can get her out here" that the moms realized Shauna lived in Texas. Originally, Shauna wanted to get married on 10/10/10 but since her fiance, Derrick's, best friend was being deployed overseas, they moved the date to 10/24/09. The date worked for the best man but not for the maid of honor. The final date was set for 11/1/09. With the date set, Shauna posted the following discussion on the Tampa Bay site:

I am moving up the wedding by a year due to Derricks Best Friend being sent to Afganastan. I REALLY want Angela out here for this day. Is there anyone who might have frequent Flyer Miles they could maybe spare so i can get her out here. I know its ALOT to ask but we are very strapped for money with moving this up. My Family really isnt helping out so we are doing everything. If anyone has ideas or can help in anyway that would be GREAT! Thanks again for everyones help!

Immediately ideas started pouring in for inexpensive flights. No one had any frequent flyer miles but one mom suggested setting up a paypal account for anyone who wanted to donate money. Moms quickly started sending donations each expressing how much they wished they could give more. Others started suggesting locations and ways to have a frugal wedding. Some had met Angela at various MomsLikeMe activities but none had ever met Shauna since she lives in Texas. These moms were opening their hearts to a stranger. One mom decided to take things into her own hands. Faith marched over to the Dallas site and posted this:

HI There,

My name is Faith and I am part of the Tampa Bay site and love it. I have had such a fun summer and have met some amazing moms and kids from our site. Recently, I read a post from one of your members, Shauna, who was so excited to be newly engaged and was planning a wedding for November 1st, 2009. Some of the amazing Tampa moms were willing to donate some money to try and get enough funds together to have Shauna's best friend from Tampa flown out for the wedding........

Well.... to cut a long story short, Shauna has decided to postpone the wedding due to lack of funds. I was thinking to myself..... surely there must be some moms/people/organizations willing to help out Shauna in her time of need. Is there anybody out there on this site in Dallas/Ft. Worth or through any connections that could help out Shauna with: Flowers, finger foods, photography in order for her still to have her wedding on November 1st, 2009 it would be amazing for her. The Tampa moms jump at the chance to help out their fellow site members and am hoping that there maybe somebody in Texas that would like to help out their fellow mom too. Thanks for taking the time to read my message. Please post if you are able to help her out... Thanks from Tampa - Faith

Hope you don't mind me jumping onto your site to post this......

The response was dismal. One mom offered to do a home party for the bachelorette party and a couple others suggested websites with tips for having an inexpensive wedding.

Then Shauna surprised everyone by posting the following:

Hi Ladies I wanted to update everyone on what is going on. We are putting off the wedding due to finances. Everyone should be getting a refund on the money you sent to send Angie out here. I thank you all for your help with this. Im sorry to have put everyone in a spot. Thanks again for everything!

Faith and the other Tampa Bay moms did not accept this new news. Another mom,Kathryn, suggested Shauna put the paypal account back up and see what could be done to get the wedding paid for plus fly Angela out. Faith started a new post on the Tampa Bay site to let them know the latest news of the account being reposted. Frustrated with the lack of help from the Dallas moms, Kathryn all but instigated a showdown between the two sites. Crickets were all that could be heard from Dallas while a noise level that would rival any rock concert was pouring from Tampa Bay. Money, dresses, flowers, guest books, cake toppers galore were being offered to make sure this wedding happened....for a stranger. Shauna and Angela were left speechless and humbled. After hearing about this amazing show of compassion, I knew I had to let the world know. There is so much evil and destruction going on in the world today. It seems negativity has taken over our newspapers, magazines, television, and the internet. It's these little stories of hope, love, and compassion that need to make the headlines. This gives people the warm fuzzy feelings that can ooze across the world if people choose to share, to care, and to give.

I implore you to join me and these selfless moms in a quest to make a dream come true. Oprah does it, Ellen does it, now we can too. Be a part of joining this couple, their family, and their best friends on a joyous day they will remember for the rest of their lives. No one is asking for anyone to go broke in donating. It's amazing how quickly $20, $10, $5, and even $1 can add up. In just 2 days, they raised $80 before deciding to cancel. The account is back up and ready for you to give if you choose.

Join me in opening our hearts to a stranger. Click- Derrick and Shauna- A lifetime of love.

Steven Curtis Chapman, Bio Dad, and Me

I recently discovered that blogspot counts "drafts" as posts. My 100th post was most likely 90-something. I'm getting close to 200 so today I decided to start going through my drafts to either finish or delete them. I'm not sure why I never posted this one as it was pretty much finished. This was a very special day for me that I will always remember:

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the day with my biological dad. If this is your first time visiting my blog let me catch you up to speed (if you've followed all along bear with me for a moment). I was adopted when I was two days old. I started searching for my biological mother when I turned 18 and 17 years later, I finally found her. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever meet my biological father as most do not want to be found. A year later, we've developed a wonderful relationship and I am blessed to have him in my life.

I love, love, love Steven Curtis Chapman and was ultra excited when I found out he was coming to Glory at the Gardens at Busch Gardens. I sent bio dad an email and asked him if he wanted to come. He did! We got there early so we could walk around the park for a while. I got him on my favorite roller coaster, Montu, and it was a blast-at least for me. Then we wandered through the animals leading Kelly, my fifteen year old daughter, on a wild goose chase as she tried to catch up with us. She was there with a friend. Eventually she found us at the hippos which is my favorite animal. I could stay there all day (which you kind of have to if you want to see them doing anything exciting). The three of us wandered through the park giving bio dad a chance to get to know Kelly without my other three kids around. I don't know how to explain their relationship before then. It's not that they didn't get along they just didn't have an opportunity to really learn more about each other. On this day they talked and bio dad was able to watch the unique relationship Kelly and I have with each other.

On our way to the concert area we passed Sheikra, my second favorite roller coaster. Since I usually have the little kids with me I don't get to ride it often. Kelly convinced bio dad to ride it even though he thought he would have a heart attack and die. We only ride in the front so we can look down the 200 feet of track which is at a ninety degree angle. They dangle you like that for about 5 seconds then let you go. I scream the whole way down...every time. Bio dad liked this one, too.

Eventually we made out way to the concert area. We were a few minutes late but I now know that it was part of a plan God had. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that I'd said something that ticked bio dad off. We talked about it on the phone before he picked me up and touched on it a little while we walked around the park. Just after we walked in Steven Curtis Chapman started to sing a song called "God is God."

My Greeting Videos

Here are the lyrics:

And the pain falls like a curtain
On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don't know

And the questions without answers
Come and paralyze the dancer
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move
Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must
On this truth that my life has been formed from the dust

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He's painting
God is God and I am man
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God

And the sky begins to thunder
And I'm filled with awe and wonder
Til the only burning question that remains
Is who am I

Can I form a single mountain
Take the stars in hand and count them
Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me
He is first and last before all that has been
Beyond all that will pass

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He's painting
God is God and I am man
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God

Oh, how great are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge
How unsearchable for to Him and through Him and from Him are all things

So let us worship before the throne
Of the One who is worthy of worship alone

This touched us in a way I wish I could explain. It really puts your life into perspective. For those who think they know it all, can do whatever they want with out thinking about repercussions, who think only of themselves, who believe
they are in control, you're not. God, or whatever higher power you believe in, that is who is in control.

Specific memories of that day have already begun to fade but the memory of walking into that field during this song with a man I never thought I'd meet and have come to love- that memory will be with me forever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking a break...

All this Alzheimer's research is doing a number on me. I'm exhausted and depressed both which are risk factors in developing the disease. Sooooo, it's time to do a little giggling!

I'm shifting through my notebooks, little pieces of paper, and "notes" app on my phone to put together funny little things that have happened in the last week. Well, at least I thought they were funny. You may read them and think they are dull. If that's the case, I'm sorry you and I don't share the same sense of humor. It just proves mine's better!


So, last night Kelly, my 15 year old, came in and asked me for help with her Algebra 2 homework- something about slopes. I looked at it and said, "Ugh. I'm not good at this kind of math." Kelly replied, "You're bad at everything that involves math." Well then why the hell did she ask me for help??


I keep looking at this note I wrote to myself- "takes few minutes to reset dates on bottom." Apparently it was important because I wrote it down but I can't, for the life of me, remember what the heck it means.


My five year old son, Carson, was mad because I didn't let him go through the baby gate to put his scooter in the living room (I did it for him). "Mommy yo-" he started to say. I cut him off telling him, "Watch your mouth!" To which he replied, "But I can't see my mouth."


Caron: Why is Daddy so grumpy?

Me: I don't know

Carson: Maybe he's got his feather's in a bunch.


Hubby and I were both kissing our three year old, Maisie, good night at the same time. "U bowff wuv me," she said, then "more kisses." We kissed her several more times. "Ok, that's enough," she declared. Awwww.


I took Maisie on a play date to the mall yesterday with several of my friends and their kids. One of the moms said, "Kaytii, watch." So I turned around and watched Maisie holding hands with two of her friends on top of a giant hamburger. They counted to three and jumped off. Maisie landed on her face. I turned around to look at one of the moms and she's trying hard not to laugh. "I swear they did it perfectly three times just before!" Uh-huh. I kept watching to see the "perfect" jump I'd missed before. They did it three more times- unsuccessfully, with Maisie falling every time. Thanks for bringing that to my attention mommies! (Maisie was find, BTW) She thought it was hilarious.


Yesterday morning, Maisie, demanded her morning bottle. Yes, I know, she shouldn't have one at age three but she's the baby so deal with it. The playroom is always a disaster so I spent 20 minutes picking up 60 Webkinz, Castle Mega Blocks, 10,000 Legos, and 20 Tinkerbell toys. No bottle. I checked the dishwasher. Found it. At least the playroom is cleaner now.


I've come to the conclusion that nothing in my house is ever where it is, except when it is.

Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

Hmmmm, the first couple of websites I read were not very helpful when I started researching the causes of Alzheimer's Disease. "Visiting our site is a great step." "Scientists are still working on finding the cause." They say third times a charm- or three strikes and you're out. Luckily it was the latter.

Scientists are still researching the causes of Alzheimer's but they have uncovered risk factors which may be helpful.

The first risk factor is age. The older you get, the more likely you are to develop Alzheimer's which is the most common form of dementia. Several sites said the same thing- one out of every eight people over 65 have Alzheimer's. Once you hit 85 the chances jump to nearly one out of every two. "The probability of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nearly doubles every five years after age 65." "Unless new treatments are developed to decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, the number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease in the United States is expected to be 14 million by the year 2050." Very scary statistics.

The next risk factor is family history. This is going to be difficult to write about as my adopted grandma had Alzheimer's as well as my biological grandmother (and her mom). This means that my adopted mom, my two adopted sisters, my biological mom, my two biological sisters, biological brother and myself are all at risk. We are 2-3 times more likely to develop the disease than those with no family history. The more close relatives that have Alzheimer's the more the risk increases. Also, more women than men develop the disease. People who have suffered traumatic head injuries and those with less than eight years of education are also more likely.

Genetics are also involved as risk factors:

1) Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Scientists have so far identified one Alzheimer risk gene called apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4).

APOE-e4 is one of three common forms of the APOE gene; the others are APOE-e2 and APOE-e3. APOE provides the blueprint for one of the proteins that carries cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Everyone inherits a copy of some form of APOE from each parent. Those who inherit one copy of APOE-e4 have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit two copies have an even higher risk, but not a certainty. Scientists do not yet know how APOE-e4 raises risk. In addition to raising risk, APOE-e4 may tend to make symptoms appear at a younger age than usual.

Experts believe there may be as many as a dozen other Alzheimer risk genes in addition to APOE-e4.

2) Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder. Scientists have found rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s in only a few hundred extended families worldwide.

When Alzheimer’s disease is caused by deterministic genes, it is called “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” and many family members in multiple generations are affected. True familial Alzheimer’s accounts for less than 5 percent of cases.

Genetic tests are available for both APOE-e4 and the rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. However, health professionals do not currently recommend routine genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Testing for APOE-e4 is sometimes included as a part of research studies.

Nothing can be done about the above risk factors but there are some things people can do to try to prevent or slow the onset of Alzheimer's. Avoiding traumatic head injuries early in life is one. Be sure to use seat belts in vehicles and proper head gear when playing sports. Also, take good care of your heart. "The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. Work with your doctor to monitor your heart health and treat any problems that arise."

Evidence is also mounting for the promotion of exercise and a healthy diet to reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, staying socially active, and engaging in intellectually stimulating activities have also been shown to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, there is a strong link between heart health and brain health. Those who are free of heart disease or related conditions are at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia than those who have cardiovascular problems.

The more I research this horrible disease the more I learn and find to blog about. After this one I may have to take a break as it's been very exhausting and emotional. But if it makes others more aware and helps even one person then my messy house and lack of sleep is well worth it.

Resources used:

What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

Risk Factors


Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet

Alzheimer's Disease

Related posts by RMS Snowdrop:

Caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's- a deeper look

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's stole my grandma

Alzheimer's stole my Nanny

If I develop Alzheimer's- A letter to my family

Next up: Alzheimer's and aluminum

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's

I remember when my mom brought my grandma from Indiana to Florida to live with us. Just before, Grandma almost transferred all of her money into a scam artists account. This was a big sign that her memory was deteriorating. My mom cared for Grandma at home as long as she could. Eventually the decision to put her in a nursing home had to be made. It was a very touch decision. Most people don't want to put the care of their loved ones into the hands of others but sometimes there just isn't any other choice.

There is a lot of support for the caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. With the help of the internet the options are almost endless.

Alzheimer's affects the brain in a way that the person loses their ability to remember things (both short term and long term), to think, communicate, and eventually simple functions like using the bathroom, walking, and talking. Grandma had to do physical therapy to help her remember how to swallow. Understanding the phases of Alzheimer's is important for loved ones taking care of and those visiting the person affected with the disease. Here are the three visible phases (the earliest usually isn't detected until 10-20 years after the onset):

Mild AD

As AD progresses, memory loss continues and changes in other cognitive abilities appear. Problems can include getting lost, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, poor judgment, and mood and personality changes. People often are first diagnosed in this stage.

Moderate AD

In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. Memory loss and confusion increase, and people begin to have problems recognizing family and friends. They may be unable to learn new things, carry out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed), or cope with new situations. They may have hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, and may behave impulsively.

Severe AD

By the final stage, plaques and tangles have spread throughout the brain and brain tissue has shrunk significantly. People with severe AD cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down.

It's important to talk to your loved one about their long term care before the disease progresses too deep into the mild stage. It will be very frustrating for them to learn that eventually they will have no control over their lives and decisions that they used to make for themselves. Make sure you do your research for the many questions you will have. Find a local support group for yourself and those close to your loved one. Having a place to vent with people who are going through the same things you're going through is important in taking care of your own needs. Find other family members who will be willing to help in the care. You can't do it by yourself. You will should to look into having home care if you plan on avoiding placing your loved one in a home so you can take time for yourself.

Eventually, however, most Alzheimer's patients need to be placed in a home. Before the Alzheimer's gets bad, you may want to look at different nursing homes and let your loved one be involved in the decision making. Do your research. Not all homes are what they seem. There are now lawyers that specialize in cases against nursing homes that don't take care of their patients. There are many more homes that provide excellent care, though. Take your time choosing the right one.

Learning someone you care about has Alzheimer's will bring about a whole slew of questions and emotions. Caregivers need to remember to not only do what they can to help their loved one but must also remember to take care of themselves.

Excellent resources:

Caregiving: Getting help from other caregivers

Understanding How AD Changes People—Challenges and Coping Strategies

Caregiving: Getting Started

Caregiver: Stressed Out? Advice to help you out

Caregiving: Insights for caregivers

Home and Family

Related posts by RMS Snowdrop:

Alzheimer's- a deeper look

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's stole my grandma

Alzheimer's stole my Nanny

If I develop Alzheimer's- A letter to my family

Alzheimer's- a deeper look

Scientists around the globe are striving to not only understand what causes Alzheimer's but how to slow it down and have hopes of curing it as well. I came across two articles from U.S. News which discuss scientists latest finds in researching the genes that may cause Alzheimer's.

Trio of Gene Variations That May Raise Alzheimer's Risks explains how defects in CLU, CR1 and PICALM genes may increase ones chance of developing Alzheimer's.

"Although the role of these two new genes [CLU and CR1] . . . is not yet known in detail, previous studies suggest that they may be involved in the elimination of the major component of amyloid plaques," explained Amouyel, the leader of the team that studied the CLU and CR1 genes. "Genetic variants at CLU, CR1 and APOE may influence susceptibility to late-onset forms of the disease."

The collaboration of scientists from all over the world plus more than 20,000 individuals that volunteered for the study has provided the biggest genetic breakthrough in over ten years. Finding the gene variants may help them discover new treatments to slow or cure the disease. Three Genes Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Risk is a similar article. Click here to read.

In another study, it is believed that colds and coughs may speed up the progression of Alzheimer's. It may be that infections cause inflammation in the body, which speeds up the damage caused by Alzheimer's. However, another explanation for the link is that people with worsening Alzheimer's are more vulnerable to infections.

In this study, 275 Alzheimer's patients spent six months taking a series of tests which involved memory, thinking, as well as measuring TNF-alpha (a chemical that helps create inflammation). This is what was found:

Their carers were asked to record any illnesses or injuries, such as coughs, colds, upset stomachs, urinary tract infections, falls, and bruises.

People who had higher TNF-alpha at the start of the study had slightly lower scores on memory and thinking tests after six months. People with low levels had a drop of about 0.8 points, compared with 2.4 points for people with high levels.

About half the people in the study had at least one infection or injury. These people were also likely to get poorer test scores. People who hadn't been ill saw their average score drop by 1.6 points, compared with 3.5 for people who had at least one infection or injury.

Although the researchers did find a bigger drop in test scores for people suffering inflammation, the differences were small. They amount to about 2 points, and the scale ran from 0 to 70. Doctors usually say that there must be a change of about 4 points on this scale before you'd notice a difference in the severity of someone's Alzheimer's.

How reliable are the findings?

The study did find a link between infections and worsening Alzheimer's, but it's impossible to be sure that these illnesses really caused the decline. It might be that as people become more ill with Alzheimer's, they're more vulnerable to infections and injuries. For example, research has shown that people who have Alzheimer's have a higher risk of falls. It's also possible that someone struggling to look after themselves might have difficulty with things like regularly washing their hands, which can increase the risk of colds and flu.

Another issue is that infections can make people confused. This could have led to lower scores in the memory tests, rather than worsening Alzheimer's. The researchers took cases of delirium caused by infection into account, but they might have missed milder cases of confusion.

In an effort to find a cure or to delay the progress of Alzheimer's researchers looked at a cancer drug that make it easier for neurons in the brain to manufacture new proteins in mice. Read more here: Cancer Drug May Fight Alzheimer's

Related Articles:

New Alzheimer's Gene Target's Found

National Institute on Aging

Participating in Alzheimer's Research

AD Clinical Trials: Questions and Answers

Related posts by RMS Snowdrop:

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's stole my grandma

Alzheimer's stole my Nanny

If I develop Alzheimer's: A letter to my family

What is Alzheimer's?

In 1901, Aloi Alzheimer, a German physician, had a patient brought to him with symptoms he'd never seen before. Fifty-one year old Frau Auguste D. was having problems with her memory, a hard time speaking and understanding what others were saying to her, as well as suspicions her husband was cheating on her. Following her death in the spring of 1906, Dr. Alzheimer asked the family's permission to do an autopsy. This is what he found in Auguste’s brain, "he saw dramatic shrinkage, especially of the cortex, the outer layer involved in memory, thinking, judgment and speech. Under the microscope, he also saw widespread fatty deposits in small blood vessels, dead and dying brain cells, and abnormal deposits in and around cells."

The following November, Dr. Alzheimer brought this case to a scientific meeting. "In 1910, Emil Kraepelin, a psychiatrist noted for his work in naming and classifying brain disorders, proposed that the disease be named after Alzheimer."

From the introduction of What is Alzheimer's?:

  • Is a progressive and fatal brain disease. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. For more information, see Warning Signs and Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

  • Is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. For more information about other causes of dementia, please see Related Dementias.

  • Has no current cure. But treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s. There is an accelerating worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, or prevent it from developing. Learn more about recent progress in Alzheimer research funded by the Alzheimer’s Association in the Research section.
Currently no one knows what causes Alzheimer's to start but it is known that it begins in the section of the brain for recent memory then spreads. The disease destroys brain cells and starts anywhere from ten to twenty years before any symptoms are visible. Unfortunately the number of those affected by Alzheimer's will only increase as more and more people are living longer lives. How long they will live depends on when they were diagnosed, the sex of the person, and if there are any other health problems- anywhere from three to more than ten years.

Here is a more in-depth description of how Alzheimer's works-

From the National Aging Institute Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet:

Tangles begin to develop deep in the brain, in an area called the entorhinal cortex, and plaques form in other areas. As more and more plaques and tangles form in particular brain areas, healthy neurons begin to work less efficiently. Then, they lose their ability to function and communicate with each other, and eventually they die. This damaging process spreads to a nearby structure, called the hippocampus, which is essential in forming memories. As the death of neurons increases, affected brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stage of AD, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.

The very early signs of Alzheimer's can mostly only be seen in brain scans. Reading the mild signs of Alzheimer's was scary because it sounds like how I am now at 36. My mom just told me that it's because I have four busy kids. I hope she's right! My biological maternal grandmother has it, her mom had it, and This is about the stage my grandma was in when we first noticed something wasn't right.

Mild AD

As AD progresses, memory loss continues and changes in other cognitive abilities appear. Problems can include getting lost, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, poor judgment, and mood and personality changes. People often are first diagnosed in this stage.

The next stage is:

Moderate AD

In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. Memory loss and confusion increase, and people begin to have problems recognizing family and friends. They may be unable to learn new things, carry out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed), or cope with new situations. They may have hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, and may behave impulsively.

This may sound odd but I feel grateful that this is the last stage my grandma went through. The Saturday before she died my mom took her out to lunch and they had a good time. Grandma couldn't remember much from one minute to the next and according to my mom, seemed frustrated by that. A few days later she was rushed to the hospital where she died from bowel blockage. She hadn't gone to the bathroom for a while but told the doctor that she had. She didn't know who anyone was or where she was. Of course she didn't know if she'd gone to the bathroom recently. However, this prevented her from reaching the last stage which in my opinion was a good thing.

Severe AD

By the final stage, plaques and tangles have spread throughout the brain and brain tissue has shrunk significantly. People with severe AD cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down.

I hope that you have learned a little more about Alzheimer's and have a better understanding of this devastating disease. I know that I learned a lot.

Please visit my other posts on this subject:

Alzheimer's stole my grandma

Azheimer's stole my Nanny

If I develop Azheimer's- A letter to my family

Sites I used in this post:

What is Alzheimer's?

National Institute on Aging

Run for the Fallen- 2nd annual

On Sunday, August 23rd at 9:00 AM I was among over 500 people ready to walk/run to remember Marines who have lost their lives T.A.M.P.A./Tampa Area Marine Parents Association was founded in April of 2004 as a support group for families located in the state of Florida who have a family member serving in the United States Marine Corps. Last year 266 walkers and runners participated in the event. This year there were over 500.

This is was not a fund raiser, just a commemorative event to honor each of the fallen heroes in the state of Florida for OEF/OIF. I participated to walk for those Marines who we have lost and for my half brother, Brian.

The following email is from a participant from last year's run and was read during the opening ceremony. Cyd, who organized this event with her family had to choke back tears while reading it. The entire crowd was silent and at the end I witnessed many wiping tears away, myself included.

My name is Coleen and I met you at the run 2 weeks ago------I am a volunteer with Deb's organization, Grateful American Coin, and introduced myself to you and also met your daughter that day.
I thought you would like to hear a follow-up story. I walked for Pfc Joshua Brown. When I got home I "googled" the name and found a few different articles about his passing a little over a year ago. I couldn't let it go at that so, although I couldn't find his family's address, I did find his home church in Michigan (his pastor was quoted in a few articles along with the name of the church). I sent him a letter asking him to pass along my condolences and also to let his parents know we are thinking about him down here in Florida through this walk, and how much we appreciate his service to our country. I also included the bib from the race with Joshua's name and a Grateful American Coin.

I received a letter from his pastor today. And a greater surprise was to receive a call from Wayne Brown, Joshua's father, tonight at home. He and his wife were calling from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Mr. Brown called to thank me for the kind gesture. It was an extremely moving call. We talked for a few minutes and I reiterated what I had stated in my letter and how we in Florida had not forgotten.

I want to thank you and your organization for putting this together. Also to Deb for passing it along to me. As you can imagine, I have coined many people since I joined Deb's mission and I gotta tell you, this is by far the most meaningful experience for me to date. Although you touched many lives that day, know that you also touched the lives of Joshua's parents over a thousand miles away in Michigan. -Colleen

It was truly pleasurable to participate in such a wonderful event. I'm already looking forward to next year and know that I will be doing more than walking or running. I want to be a part of making it happen. Seeing the huge jump in participants from last year to this year I have a feeling they are going to need all the help they can get. My hope is that the number of people involved grows quickly but the number of those who are to be remembered does not. My prayers and thoughts go out to all the families and friends who have soldiers that have given their lives to defend our freedom and help countries in need. To all who are injured, I wish them a quick recovery.

In Loving Memory of Those We Personally Knew
Who Have Paid The Ultimate Sacrifice

LCpl Andrew J. Aviles, USMC - April 7, 2003 - OIF

Major Richard Gannon II, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
LCpl Gary VanLeuvan, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
LCpl Ruben Vadlez, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Christopher Gibson, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Michael Smith Jr., USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Ronald R. Payne Jr., USMC - May 7, 2004 - OEF
LCpl Jacob Lugo, USMC - August 24, 2004 - OIF

PFC Roberto Baez, USArmy - October 3, 2005 - OIF
Cpl Joseph Bier, USMC - December 7, 2005 - OIF
Cpl Scott Procopio, USMC - April 2, 2006 - OIF
LCpl KunYoung Kim, USMC - April 2, 2006 - OIF
Sgt. Lea R. Mills, USMC - April 28, 2006 - OIF
SSgt Joseph Fuerst, USANG - June 24, 2006 - OEF
PFC Christopher T. Riviere, USMC - September 26, 2006 - OIF

SSgt Sandy R. Britt, USArmy - August 21, 2007 - OIF

LCpl Jordan C. Haerter, USMC - April 22, 2008 - OIF

LCpl Alberto Francesconi, USMC - January 1, 2009 - OEF


I've heard that word thousands of times in the last fifteen years of raising my kids. I understood when I was preggo with my oldest that I would lose certain things; time, sleep, boobs, my girlish figure. But there were other things I was unprepared to everything!

Sleep and time went first as Kelly was a very colicky baby. My images of a quiet, cooing baby went out the window the day we brought her home- she did NOT act like that the four days we were in the hospital! As I attempted to nurse, there went the boobs. This was followed by my favorite food, chips and salsa. Apparently this was not good for a new baby's tummy. Ok, I can live with that, too.

Four kids later nothing is mine. They've taken over everything. My oldest two daughters take my clothes, socks, make up, jewelry, even my sports bra! My youngest two take my drinks, food, even my toothbrush! My CD's, DVD's, TV, computer, paper, notebooks, pens, patience, time, girlish figure, my bed....all gone.

A little over a year ago, I started taking "me" time. I filled my big garden tub up with floral smelling bubbles, lit some vanilla or strawberry candles, found a juicy Harlequin Romance book and tried to relax. "MOMMY I'M HUNGRY!" "MOMMY I'M THIRSTY!" "MOMMY SHE HIT ME!" What the hell am I supposed to do about that while I'm nekked in the tub? This is MY "ME" TIME dammit!

A couple of months ago, I realized that not one square inch of our 2100 square foot house was mine. Not a one. Even Hubby had his office, it's a walk-in closet but still, there are no children or toys in there...ever. I looked around trying to find a corner. Bingo! My grandma's hutch. I spent half the day clearing out all the crap that was shoved in the drawers whenever we did the "oh crap, the in-laws will be here in twenty minutes clean up." I put all my romance books in there. My markers, crayons, and coloring books (which, yes, the kids have broken and colored in), are all stored underneath and in the drawers, my exercise magazines that I read but never use are lines up perfectly on the shelf....MINE, MINE, MINE!

So far it's safe. My bras, toothbrushes, food, boobs, time, sleep, and bath time all belong to my kids. But the hutch is mine.....and my underwear. But I'm sure even that will find it's way into the hands of my children eventually. As long as it's not my son's.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Don't Mess with SAHM's

People often think that us SAHM's (stay-at-home-moms) have it easy. Here's the perception many people have of us:

We get out of bed and start the coffee pot. We gently wake our sleeping babes because we have all the patience in the world since we don't have to be at an office with big bad boss every morning at 8 AM, work clothes ironed, hair perfectly done, and make up applied to perfection.

We pour our coffee into a ceramic coffee mug and check on the kids. They are getting dressed in their ironed pants, crisp clean shirts, and matching socks. We gently move them along to eat their freshly-made chocolate chip pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice, and perfectly toasted toast. Then it's off to the bathroom to brush and floss. After making their balanced lunch while finishing our coffee we usher them into the car, drive to school, and drop them off with lingering hugs and kisses.

Here's the reality- We grudgingly get out of bed in our rumpled pj's, hair in last night's pony tail, and yesterday's make up smeared across our faces. We make something that looks like coffee and dump it into a to-go cup. We run down the hall yelling, "Wake up! You're gonna be late!" Our kids grab clothes from under the pile that's been accumulating for the last several days, find two socks that don't even remotely match, and spend the next 10 minutes searching for a shoe. We put on ratty slippers from ten Christmas's ago, grab our cup of caffeine, a box of Poptarts, and a cup of milk for everyone to take one sip of (we don't have time to pull over for the Heimlich after all). We pull out of the driveway with kids pulling on shoes, buckling seat belts, and scarfing down Poptarts. We yell at at every idiot who dares to pull in front of us because we will NOT be that parent whose kids are late for matter what stains are on their shirts and how many crumbs are on their faces. We pull into the car loop shove them out the door, tell them to run, then park to share our morning horror stories with the other moms standing their in their pj's with last night's pony tails, helping to unsmear yesterday's make up, drinking our much needed coffee, and scowling at all the perfectly made up working moms who are scowling at us for being in our pj's.

Then we come home, look at the incredible mess our wonderful children have made that resembles the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2004. We clean for about thirty minutes then quit because we've developed that "I'll do it later" attitude since we know how much extra time we have since we don't have to work in an office. We're grumbly and bitchy because our houses are a mess and we have no excuse since we're home all day. We chat with our internet friends, read a book, and watch exercise shows on TV (notice I said "watch" not "do") until it's time to pick the kids up and fill out the masses of paperwork each school thinks it's necessary to send home- so much for the country going green.

This brings me to the inspiration for this post. I love teachers....well most of them but man do I hate the beginning of school. As if we don't have enough to do trying to get the kids back on their school bedtime schedules and getting the house in somewhat of an order so homework assignments don't get lost in the first week- then we get hit with school supply lists. I think teachers work all summer on these to get us back for sending our kids for them to deal with for nine months. This year I had three very long, specific lists of school supplies since my son is a big kindergartner. Fighting other parents who crowded the aisles while dragging four grumpy kids to two different stores was not my idea of fun. And curse the companies who thought it would be fun to put designs and characters on the front of notebooks then quadrupling the price. Apparently, plain fifty cent spiral notebooks are no longer acceptable.

Apparently for this mom it wasn't fun either:

Dear Mrs. X:

In just over a week, you will be my son’s Grade 1 teacher. He is ever so excited to be under your tutelage. Why, since the last day of kindergarten, entering your class was all he could talk about. He gleefully thrust a piece of paper into my hand on that June afternoon, and said, “Here’s a list of the stuff I need for school next September!”

And I have to admit, I, too, was excited. I’m a school supplies geek from way back. And so, in early August, I set out to buy the items you’d listed.

It was on my fourth store that the realization began to sink in.

You’re a crafty b#tch, aren’t you?

This list was a thinly disguised test. Could I find the items, exactly as you’d prescribed? Because if not, my son would be That Kid, the one with the Problem Mother, Who Can’t Follow Directions.

For example, the glue sticks you requested. In the 40 gram size. Three of the little buggers. (What kind of massive, sticky project you’ve got planned for the first day of school that would require the students to bring all this glue, I cannot imagine.) But the 40 gram size doesn’t come in a convenient 3-pack. The /30 /gram size does. But clearly, those would be wildly inappropriate. So I got the individually priced 40’s, as per your instructions.

Another bit of fun was your request for 2 packs of 8 Crayola crayons (basic colors). The 24 packs, with their 24 /different /colors, sat there, on sale. I could have purchased /three/ of the 24 packs for the price I had to pay for the 8 packs. (Clearly, you’ll not be teaching the youngsters any sort of economics lessons this year.) Even the cashier looked at me, as if to say, “Pardon me, ma’am, but are you slow?” as I purchased these non-bargain crayons. But that’s what the list said. And I was committed to following the list.

But the last item, well, now, you saved your malice up for that one, didn’t you? “8 mm ruled notebooks”, you asked for. Simple enough. Except the standard size is /seven /millimetres. One. Millimetre. Difference. Do you realize, Mrs. X., exactly how infinitesimal the difference between 7 mm ruling and 8 mm ruling is? Pretty small, I assure you. The thickness of a fingernail, approximately. But that millimetre, that small bit of nothingness, made me drive to four different stores, over the course of three sweaty August hours. And when I finally, finally found the last remaining 8 mm notebooks, I took no pleasure in my victory. I merely shifted my focus. To you, Mrs. X.

You wanna dance, lady? Let’s dance.

Because I am just batsh#t crazy enough to play your games. And, in turn, come up with some of my own.

On show and share day, my son will be bringing the video of his birth. It will be labelled, “Ben’s First Puppy.” Enjoy.

He will be given a list of words, and daily, he will ask you what they mean. Words such as, “pedophile”, “anti-semite”, and “skank”. Good luck with those.

At some point, you will attempt to teach him mathematics. And I’m quite sure that, like most of your ilk, you will require my son to “show his work”. And he will.

Through interpretive dance.

Because that is who you’ve chosen to tangle with, toots. A stay at home mom who is not entirely balanced, and has altogether too much time on her hands. But is, most certainly, A Mother Who Can Follow Directions.



The above letter was passed on by a friend who got it from another website. I'd love to give this mom credit if I could. That's one bad-ass SAHM.

Friday, September 4, 2009

While feeding my youtube addiction the other day, I came across this video:

Adam Lambert Teams Up With to Support Public School Classrooms in Need

Yes, I'm a big Adam Lambert fan. I still think he should have won American Idol...and so does my cell phone bill. The editing is a little annoying but the message is what matters. We can't rely on the government to help our schools. It's up to us to make sure our students have the materials they need for them to succeed. We can do that by making donations to

I think it's great to see him hooking up with such a great organization as DonorsChoose.

How we started grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in our public schools.

Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations. He created so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.

Since launching in 2000, has empowered more than 200,000 teachers and citizen philanthropists to become change makers.

Our vision is of a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn. works by you visiting their site, searching through projects that have been submitted by classrooms or schools and choosing the one that you're the most passionate about. Each project has an explanation and a "give" box where you can choose how much to donate. This box also shows you the amount left that's needed, the numbers of days until the deadline, and how many people have donated.

Exploring Community By Opening Doors On Homes In The World
Ms. F.'s Classroom
High Poverty ?
Colorado ?

Exploring Community By Opening Doors On Homes In The World

It is imperative that students begin undertaking the task of placing themselves within our varied global society. This project offers them insight into the resilient and ingenious ways people survive...more

My students need 6 book titles, 1 large world map and 7 current giant world atlases.
To go: $145
Time left: 17 days
Any amount welcome.
Give $25
To go: $145
Time left: 17 days
Donors so far: 7
Sam from Houston, TX
"What you're doing is important. Thank you for teaching and learning these important things."

Giving doesn't get much easier than that! There are pages and pages of projects to choose from. Teachers need books, science equipment, rugs, bean bag chairs, art drying racks, electric pencil sharpeners, camcorders, SAT booklets, dumbells, children's books and games, binders, art supplies, etc. They are not asking for overly expensive and lavish items, just every day things to help the students learn and help them do their jobs better. had even made it extremely easy to find the project that you want most to help out. You can search by location, subject, urgency, cost, and days left. They have really put a lot of thought into this site and project. It's one of the easiest to use sites I've ever seen.

They even have a gift giving card which would be great for birthdays and weddings where people want to use "in lieu of..." when they feel they don't need gifts for themselves. You buy the card, your friend chooses a project then hears back from the classroom after they've received the gift. Easy peasy!

Check out this video, which features Claire Danes and Zach Efron, further explaining the program: National Expansion Event

I donated. Will you?