Monthly Archives: December 2008

Morningside Mom’s 2009 Resolutions for Barack Obama

The December holidays are finally winding down. Decorations are to be packed up, our homes are being put back into order and left over holiday goodies are being cleaned out of refrigerators. So naturally, as we are fed up with our past week of excess, what comes to mind during the December wind down? Resolutions. And lots of them. But I am a realistic person and I know that my personal resolution lists rarely pan out. So this year, I am doing it a little differently. I would like to consider what sort of resolutions Obama might want to make for 2009. Perhaps you may have a few to add to his list as well.

On the eve of a hope-filled New Year and his first inauguration, Barack Obama’s resolution list has got to be about a mile long. Although, I’m not sure how he can discriminate his resolution list from the endlessly unfurling to-do list draped over his desk right now.

In the midst of all that is to be taken seriously in the New Year, The Red Stapler Chronicles had some resolutions for Obama that gave me a good laugh. For example:

  • Fix the leaking faucet in the Oval Office to immediately save tax payer’s money
  • Make sure new puppy gets along with Biden’s new dog to avoid dog fighting scandal.

Now it’s my turn. Here are a few suggested resolutions this liberal minded mom might add to President-elect Obama’s list:

  • Prepare that pedestal.

    With so much work ahead of him, folks may shove him right off that pedestal if he doesn’t change things on day one. Or, it could go the other way. Any difference he makes at all could officially establish his superhero status and permanence on that pedestal. Either way, he needs to ready his pedestal and be prepared for anything.

  • Keep that ego in check.

    With all the inauguration fanfare and Obama mania ringing in the streets, he needs to keep a grounded perspective. I am expecting Michelle to see right through it all and remind him who Barack really is.

  • Keep it real.

    President or not, he must remember his roots, his family, his heritage and the real reasons he got into politics in the first place.

  • Don’t forget the moms.

    With his wife and mother-in-law dropping everything to raise his children, he better recognize the kind of work mothers actually do and that women nationwide are expecting more focus on rights for working mothers during his presidency.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

    President-elect Obama is a funny guy. There is not much to laugh at right now but his sense of humor will serve him and this White House well in the midst of it all.

  • Stay squeaky clean.

    After our last democratic president, I shudder to think about what sort of damage one stupid, selfish decision could do right now.

  • Keep those promises.

    As any politician does during an election, Obama has made a lot of them. The difference is that this time if he doesn’t keep those promises and we don’t see change happen, a recession will be the least of our problems.

  • Play with your kids.

    There is no better way to keep perspective and maintain sanity than to play with your children after a long day at the office solving the world’s problems.

And finally, I would like to wish the President-elect, his family and this entire country a very happy and hopeful New Year indeed.

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne
-Robert Burns, 1788

 Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Holidays, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Presidency, Reccomendations, Women, Working moms

Happy Holidays from the Cutest Two Year Old on Earth

Holiday giggles and yuletide glee have taken over my home. We’re baking sugar cookies, tracking Santa on Norad and wrapping presents madly.

(Sidebar: My dilemma. My 5 year old’s “Santa” presents are being wrapped in same paper as everyone other’s presents. Will he notice? Will he pick out my handwriting, already? The stress of making sure he believes has even surfaced in my dreams: last night I dreamt I forgot to put out all the presents and T. woke up to find that Santa NEVER came…)

But back to the fun. We’ve got cookies and loaves of bread to make for family and Christmas lights to scout tonight and “Twas the Night before Christmas” to recite. It’s really such a wonderful time.

So as my gift to you, I am sharing with you something quite precious: the cutest two year old in the world singing his favorite Christmas carols.

To all of my readers, whatever your holiday, may you have a wonderful celebration filled with family, tradition and joy.

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Filed under Boys, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Parenting, Traditions

Blogger Cheer: Giveaway Winners and Posts to Share

Two winners have been chosen at random.org for my Muvee Reveal Blogger Cheer Giveaway! And they are (drumroll, please)….

1) Heather from East Coast Transplant

2) Shellie from Creating with Shellie

CONGRATULATIONS!

I would also like to list the posts that entrants submitted too. It’s just one more way to spread some blogger cheer. If you have some time, check these out! Maybe you’ll discover a great new blog.

Over the Hill and Through the Woods at Chickens in the Road

Bizzie Princess and her Christmas Concert by Bizzie Mommy

Christmas Clutter at Dirt and Noise

Santa May Sue by Lipzip

The Greatest Dog Story in the World – Be a Part of It by ThreeDogBlog

Top Holiday Gifts – Noisy Toys for Nieces and Nephews by Dad’s House

This Playroom Thing at Finding Yourself, Despite Yourself

A Silent Night by Dress up and Diaper Changes

First Wild card Blog Tour by Laura William’s Musings

Thoughts from the Mrs.

Humor Du Jour by Three {Ps} in a Pod

(And I just wanted to note: MomBabe, I couldn’t read your link! If you try it again, I will add it to the list!)

Keep reading blogs, folks! It’s what makes the blogosphere go ’round.

Congrats again to the readers and have a wonderful weekend!

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Contests, Gifts, Techie Stuff

Michelle Obama as First Lady, Feminist and Mom in Chief

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I can’t help but empathize with Michelle Obama right now. As a mother of two small children myself, I keep trying to imagine what she is going through as she prepares her family for life in the White House. I think about her little girls growing up in Washington DC as I did, attending a school right down the road from where I grew up. And as I empathise with our future first lady, my ears perk up when I read both about the support and criticism she is receiving as an accomplished woman who has decided to make her role in the White House “mom-in-chief”.

There can be no more daunting task than trying to raise the First Children. Can you imagine? Your daughters must live in a virtual museum with some of the tightest security world wide. There is no spontaneously running over to a neighbor’s house to play.  They will be isolated and protected from the world and yet they will have the most public lives of any child.

And so Michelle Obama has chosen to make parenting these children her priority. However, within days of learning about her future in the White House, Michelle had already received her fair share of advice. Hillary has jumped in to say her piece. Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, had a few things to say. And even FDR’s grandson offered some words of wisdom. While Michelle did not formally ask for Laura Bush’s advice, the current first lady did share her suggestions with the press later.

I wonder what comfort she has taken from all of this advice, if any. I wonder how much more advice is coming down the pike from other celebrity parents or those with political agendas or even advice from your average “Jane Parent” who always thinks she knows better anyway.

However, while Michelle prepares her girls and faces all of this advice, she must deal with those who already criticize her decision to put her girls first. Michelle is certainly an accomplished woman. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she continued on to work as an associate at a law firm and hold six board of director positions. She founded programs, she lead community outreach – she made “change” happen long before it was cool for an Obama to do so. But now, as her husband has been elected to be President, she has chosen to bring her career to a screeching halt and just be… well… a mom.

In a fascinating article written by Rebecca Traister at Salon.com, Michelle’s choices to focus on the traditional worries of a First Lady leave the author concerned. 

“…some of the most extraordinary [qualities of Michelle Obama] — the ones that set her apart from many of her predecessors in the East Wing — are already falling victim to a nostalgic complacency about familial roles, and to an apparent commitment to re-creating Camelot with an African-American cast, but little modern tweaking of the role of wife and mother.”

She argues Michelle could push the envelope and bring a more career minded feminist into the role of a first lady. She seems disappointed she has chosen to put her role as a mother and wife first and foremost, while leaving all the rest behind.

Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post discusses the ever present question that arises between married parents such as the Obamas: who will work and who will raise the children?

“The brutal reality is that, like our president-elect, most men do not wrestle quite so strenuously with these competing desires [to work or raise your family]. So when the needs of our families collide with the demands of our jobs, it is usually the woman’s career that yields.”

She implies that Michelle was not given much of a choice in this matter. When Obama was elected President, her career had to end. And there was no other choice but to make her children a priority.

But has Michelle truly failed as a feminist by focusing on her children? Is her career an utter failure because she is stepping aside from it for the meantime? Has she lost all credibility as a potentially new, modern, variety of First Lady?

According to Geraldine Brooks at The Daily Beast, she can make parenting her priority while still representing women as a powerful example.

“She is smart enough and subtle enough to have worked out that so-called Mom issues can make for meaty public policy.”

And then explains that her position as a mother in the White House will in fact bring much needed attention to women who struggle daily as they balance their careers and family.

“Work-family balance? What is that, really, but a polite way of putting the feminist agenda of equal pay and decent childcare back on the table after so many years of neglect?”

Meghan O’Rourke at Slate.com sympathises that, once again, no matter if a woman chooses either work or parenting as the priority, they will be criticized for their choice. And most of often a woman’s biggest critic is herself. She then goes on to make this final point.

“The best way Michelle Obama can act as a role model for women right now is not by making the decision any one of us would make (because we’d all make different decisions), but by reminding us that life is fleeting, and we ought to immerse ourselves in the opportunities and joys of our own life as it exists. Not as it might exist.”

And so my identification with Michelle Obama remains true. With two small children, and a mountain of advice, she must trust her instincts and raise her girls the best way she knows how.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will change the role and perceptions of the First Lady. And however she shakes things up, she has already made it unapologetically clear that she will make her girls her priority. In my mind’s eye, as a mother and brilliant leader able to remain fluid in her many roles as a woman, Michelle will make an excellent “First Feminist” indeed.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under daughters, Election, Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Guilt and motherhood, Hillary Clinton, Inspiring people, Marriage, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Parenting, Politics, Women, Working moms

Charities Entered in the HP Giveaway Contest

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During my HP Giveaway contest, I received some amazing entries. And I mean AMAZING. Choosing a winner seemed near impossible and I am about to show you why. But I did choose a winner and the Moms Without Moms Organization spent last weekend opening up all their computers and finding new homes for them at the Laura Walker Project. I am thrilled those computers will make a significant difference in the lives of the women they serve.

But back to my entrants. The stories. The heartache. The charities. And even once I had worked my list down, the remaining folks were honestly all equally deserving. Even since this contest has long passed, I think about their charities and the work so many of these folks do for others. So, I thought that the only small way I can give to these folks might be to introduce some of them to my readers. You see, there is amazing work happening out there, even during these very difficult times. Selfless giving happens daily, without any fanfare or fabulous HP giveaways hyping up the amazing work they do.

Please read along and learn a little something about some incredible charities that my entrants hoped to donate the the HP giveaway to.

But can ask one favor of you though? If you are able to, or if you know someone who can, please consider contributing to one of these charities. Or post this link on your blog encouraging folks to give. Or send this link to friends. Or Stumble it. Or tweet about it. Do what you can do to expose these charities to others. I believe in the power of word of mouth, blogging and community. Maybe some more good can come for these charities after all.

Also, forgive me. Rather than writing my own blurb about each place, I have copied quotes from most of their mission statements. They do a better job explaining themselves anyway. Ok, here we go…

Legacy Cultural Learning Community

“Muscogee-Seminole and Cherokee artist, Dana Tiger, founded Legacy Cultural Learning Community to offer “art making” as part of the daily lives of Native youth.  Since 2002, Legacy has provided art opportunities ranging from outdoor youth and elder camps where traditional foods are prepared on an open fire, to the production of film by 5th through 8th grade camera and technical directors.”

Arise for Social Justice

“Arise is a low-income rights, membership organization based in Springfield, MA. We were founded by welfare mothers who believe we have the right to speak for ourselves about the issues that affect our lives. Our membership is poor people, people who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness, working people and people who have been pushed to the side by society We organize around voting rights, housing, homelessness, access to health care, family rights and criminal injustice.”

Endependence Center

“ECI provides an array of independent living services to individuals with disabilities and to the community.  The purposes of ECI are two-fold; to prepare individuals, and to prepare the community for full integration of persons with disabilities into society.”

Lighthouse International

“Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to preserving vision and to providing critically needed vision and rehabilitation services to help people of all ages overcome the challenges of vision loss. Through clinical services, education, research, and advocacy, the Lighthouse enables people with low vision and blindness to enjoy safe, independent and productive lives.”

Wyoming Search and Rescue Association

The Wyoming Search and Rescue Association assists with “the employment, coordination and utilization of available resources and personnel in relieving distress, preserving life and removing survivors from the site of a disaster, emergency or hazard to safety in case of lost, stranded, entrapped or injured people.”

Vision Hope

“Presently Vision HOPE’s sole focus is on raising the necessary funds to operate Champions for Life Kids’ Camp. Foster children from the surrounding communities will participate in a variety of fun and educational activities in a non-competitive and non-threatening, loving environment. With a highly trained & devoted staff, these children will discover not only their inner strengths and abilities, but their self-worth as well.”

Peace for Kids

“Peace4Kids provides programs and services for foster and at-risk youth from ages 5-18, and after emancipation until age 24. Peace4Kids is truly on the front lines in addressing the needs of foster and at-risk youth in the South Los Angeles neighborhoods of Watts, Willowbrook and Compton.”

Schweinfurt’s SFAC (Soldier and Family Assistance Center)

“The SFAC is a one-stop location designed to provide support services regarding finances, child care, Family Advocacy, budgeting, Chaplain assistance, Legal Assistance, Military Personnel issues, logistics and transportation, installation access, benefits counseling, education and employment opportunities. The SFAC provides a warm, relaxed environment where Soldiers and their Families can gather to foster physical, spiritual and mental healing.”

Youth Power Center

Youth Power Center (YPC), located in Anacostia of Washington, DC, is a career training program that assists teenagers to empower them to reach their potential.

Zoe’s Heart

This blogger writes about her daughter’s dire need of a heart transplant. Visit her site to learn more.

Talking About Curing Autism

“Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACAhelps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.”

Kennebec Valley Community Action Program

“KVCAP offers a range of services for men, women, and children. These include Family Planning; home ownership, repair and weatherization services, heating assistance; transportation; and a teen center. We also support families through home visitation programs for first time parents, parenting classes, childcare and Head Start. Many of these programs are available to people of all income levels.

Capitol News Connection

“Capitol News Connection is an independent and innovative multimedia news service that brings politics ‘home’ to citizens with localized and custom-crafted reporting from Congress. A bridge from the ‘Beltway’ to the ‘Heartland’, CNC connects the dots and ensures all Americans have access to locally relevant, trustworthy, engaging and unbiased information. By bringing new relevance, transparency and accountability to the political process, CNC reporting empowers citizens to shape their own destinies by being active and effective participants in our democracy.”

Sacramento Loaves and Fishes

“Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. We provide an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services.”

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center

“Our mission is to provide opportunities and an environment for neighbors and families in southwest Indianapolis to improve lives, increase independence, and strengthen community through service and collaboration.”

Blogger Kate discussed their amazing adult re-entry computer education program and how it supports and assists “Baby Boomer” adults as they reinvent themselves at various points in their lives.

Ballet Tech

“Ballet Tech is dedicated to seeking out talented New York City public school students and provides a continuum of training from introductory through professional level training. Throughout the children’s instruction, dance classes, shoes and leotards are provided free of charge. During the first year of training, transportation is provided while students attend ballet classes on a school-time release program. Students who show the talent and passion required to study classical ballet are invited to attend The New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) – a cooperative, tuition-free venture between the NYC Department of Education and Ballet Tech. The School offers a rigorous academic curriculum paired with intensive dance training for students in grades 4 through 12.”

Cathedral Square Cooperation

“South Burlington Community Housing offers affordable housing for people with mobility impairments aged 62 and younger…the community offers nine one-bedroom apartments [and] a non-institutional setting where residents can live independently in a group setting. All residents participate in a care-pooling plan, which allows them to pool their resources to direct the caregiver staff of the community in providing their care, which allows more freedom and independence than a traditional care giving arrangement.”

And finally, there were many entrants who were enthusiastic about donating to these very important charities: the Salvation Army, the Make A Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Thank you for reading and giving anyway that you can!

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Children, Contests, Education, HP, Inspiring people, Money, Mothers, Philanthropy, Raising Awareness, Women, Working moms

Muvee Reveal Blogger Cheer Giveaway

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This weekend I had the opporitunity to try out a very fun new kind of movie making software called Muvee Reveal. Lucky me, I was approached last week and asked if I would like to do a review of the product. Considering I have a lovely new Canon HD video camera and the overwhelming project to create a “Best of my kids’ Christmases” DVD as a gift for my family… well, this review could not have come at a better time.

A newly updated version from the muvee autoproducer family, Muvee Reveal was explained to me as a very easy to use software that will create professional movies in a matter of four simple steps. I could not wait to try it out.

Sure enough. As soon as I downloaded the software, I added one hour of film I happened to have on my computer already. Then, clicked the transition I wanted, added a couple songs and pressed play. VOILA. Muvee Reveal took my film and transitioned through different scenes to the length of the songs I chose. While it did pull scenes randomly and flipped thorugh them fairly quickly, if I added more songs, it would lengthen the “show” and it really did a great job of picking nice scenes. I’m not sure how it does that. However, after doing some reading, apparently this software has a mind of its own and has been designed to focus on faces and sync them to the beat of the music. Um, how cool is that?

Now, if you want more control over the scenes, the transitions, the music, etc. – you can have that too. You can label scenes, do voice overs, add titles and credits and control which scenes you want in there. And then the software will help you share your movie just about anywhere such as the web, HD TV, a DVD or even your PSP.

So, do you want to play around with this software too? Well, guess what? The folks at Muvee were kind enough to offer TWO sets of software – valued at $79.95 – for a giveaway here on Morningside Mom. What a fun gift for someone (maybe even yourself) this holiday season, right? Read on for more details…

Muvee Reveal Blogger Cheer Giveaway

Well, if you know me, I like to do as much paying it forward as possible around these parts. And with this giveaway, I’d like to pay it forward to other bloggers. You see, I haven’t been reading in my google reader enough. I haven’t been spreading Blogger Karma NEARLY as much as I like to. So, maybe this contest can help with that. Especially with it being the holidays – lots of bloggers have ads on their sites and more hits could bring them a few more pennies from heaven. Lets help up some of their traffic!

Giveaway Rules

1) Go find your favorite blog, read one of their posts.

2) Comment. Tell them they wrote a great post and tell them you are going to post it here for this blogger cheer contest.

3) Come back here and paste their post link here.

4) You can enter as many blog sites as you would like. Each will count as an entry. I would encourage you to read some of the links others have posted too and comment on those!

5) I will pick two winners at random on Friday, December 19th.

That’s it! Now go love your fellow blogger and come back and tell me about it. I can’t wait to read some good posts and do some more giving this month. Good luck!

The best way to spread holiday cheer,

is reading blogs far and near!

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Gifts, Holidays, Karma, Movies, Techie Stuff

Keeping it Green this Holiday Season

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While getting caught up in the fun of the holidays, it is very easy to throw your usual rules aside and go all out – hoping to ensure the perfect holiday gathering for your family. We go on endless shopping sprees, the budget is long forgotten and so are some of our better “green” habits – all in the name of holiday cheer. The holidays don’t have a reputation of excess for nothing. However, here are some ways to try and keep your cool and stay green without having to forget the fun of the season too.

Decorating

Some of us will be buying Christmas trees this year to decorate. If you do decorate a tree, consider buying a potted tree and planting it after the season has passed. If that isn’t possible, be sure to contact your local Waste Management Program to find out how to recycle your Christmas tree. Also check Earth 911 for local Christmas tree recycling options.

When it’s time to string up the lights in my home, my inner Clark Griswold comes shining through. However, this year, if you happen to need new lights anyway, consider buying LED holiday lights to save energy. Or if you don’t have to buy new lights, be sure to keep your current lights on a timer so they are off during the day and when you go to sleep.

If you are looking for new ornaments this year, All Free Crafts suggests making ornaments out of recycled Christmas cards. I love to make salt dough ornaments with my children and those treasures will stay on my tree for years to come. Don’t forget about the extra things around the house that might spruce up your tree too like left over ribbon, restrung beads and buttons and even stringing good old fashioned popcorn garland for your tree.

Holiday Cards

It has never been easier to send e-cards or virtual greetings. I use Hallmark Smilebox to send festive slideshows, greetings and even movie clips. If you still prefer sending mailed cards, consider buying cards made on recycled paper this year. Some options are Cards Direct, Cards for Causes and Green Field Paper.

Cooking

Part of the holidays always includes cooking traditional meals for friends and relatives. Plan ahead and try to be a green chef this year. For example, try to buy organic foods when possible, think about some vegetarian meals and buy free range poultry and eggs. Another fun tip is to track down a local farm and buy your fruits and vegetables locally – they taste better and are usually more affordable.

Green Gifts

Gift giving is on everyone’s minds right now. Think carefully about what you are giving and why your are giving it. Grabbing as much “stuff” as possible just to wrap and stick under the tree isn’t a smart idea. Rather, buy one or two quality items, than a bunch of less well made, more likely to break items. Also, think about buying things that are personal, make some gifts and put your heart into the giving process. A hand knit scarf is always more valued than another boring tie.

Another inexpensive way to buy green gifts is to hop onto Craig’s list or shop in consignment stores. Recycling and saving a dollar never came so easy.

Finally, here are some links to articles or websites with green gift ideas: EDF.org, NRDC.org, Ecomall.com, and Treehugger.com. One of my favorites? Consider buying your loved one some poopoopaper. A fun gift and it’s certainly, er, been recycled.

Gift Wrapping

When I was a child, it was inevitable that as we opened our gifts a relative would shout out “I forgot one!” And they would run off and return with a gift wrapped in a towel or pillow case. We used to laugh about it then but now it really isn’t such a bad idea after all! If possible, try to make your own wrapping paper this year by using beautifully decorated paper bags, magazines, old posters, old maps and even the tried and true funny pages. And make my family proud, an old piece of cloth might even look beautiful with the right ribbon and sprucing up.

Another thought? Wrap presents that go together in one package. Also, try to avoid buying gifts that are too large that would take extra wrapping – they probably have too much packaging in them anyway.

If you do need to wrap some gifts in paper, track down some recycled gift wrapping.

Shipping

I know I still have to get my gift boxes sent off. When you do, try to find old boxes to mail your gifts, be sure to avoid the plastic peanuts and use old newspaper and other pieces from your recycle bin to pack your items. Sometimes I save my sons used ziplock bags and then blow them up for cushion in the boxes.

Finally, you should know that the USPS is actually doing an excellent job of being green about their shipping. They have eco-friendly packaging and even soy based inks and non toxic adhesives. To learn more, go check out their site.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Getting green, Gifts, Holidays, Raising Awareness, Reccomendations, Recycling, Shopping, Thinking outside the box, Traditions, Unnecessary stuff