Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mario Marathon Time again!!

Our setup for MM7 – the feed is happening on a 32” TV, with chats and twitter on my laptop.

I’ve talked about Mario Marathon a zillion times, once here, again here, made some cookies here, and so on. (Search the blog for Mario Marathon to see the posts I’ve shared over the last 4 years!)

I’m sharing again.

The guys started their event on Friday, so at the time I’m writing this, they have been playing for 53 and a half hours. Unfortunately, last night, they endured a DDoS attack and were unable to properly process donations. As a result, they are behind pace.

Donations, you say? Yep. See, Mario Marathon is a volunteer run charity event. Exactly *ZERO* dollars of the money raised is used to cover the overhead for the organizers. They use their vacation time and personal funds to operate the event. All money raised goes directly to this amazing organization, Child’s Play Charity. Child’s Play uses the funds raised to fulfill wish lists from children’s hospitals around the world – games, books, movies and more. From the Child’s Play Charity site:

Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

Before the start of the event this year, Mario Marathon was responsible for bringing in over $400,000 to Child’s Play. I’d love to see them cross over the $500,000 mark this year! I continue to be so grateful for healthy children, and fight hard for families who are not as fortunate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sun & Skin

A few years ago, I got a strange phone call from my stepmother.

“Thank you for teaching your kids to be so diligent about sunscreen.” 

I was a little perplexed at first, but she went on to explain about the week that they had taken our children to Florida, and how the kids were adamant about making sure they were lotioned up before leaving the hotel each day. Then she dropped this bomb on me:

“They found some spots on your dad. He goes in to have them removed tomorrow.”

My dad had skin cancer. Two different kinds, in fact, on two different spots of his body. My fair skinned, red headed father, whose coloring I have inherited, and passed on to my kids. He’s fine now, thank goodness, but will have to be carefully checked for the rest of his life.

My oldest is the most like me – we tend to burn easily, and our skin is crazy stupid sensitive, his even more than mine. The wrong laundry detergent, lotion or bug spray results in a horrid, itchy rash. Sunscreen? Same thing.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to review a sunscreen, and we fell in LOVE with the brand. SmartShield is our go-to sun protection, and I have purchased several more bottles since that review. They’ve rolled out a new product, and asked me to give it a shot, and I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Rehydrating Face Cream  w/SPF 45<br/> 1.7oz

Enter the SmartShield Rehydrating Face Cream with SPF 45. People, my face still struggles with 15 year old type issues. I break out, my skin tends to be oily, and heavy face creams? Oh my. So, this was going to be a big test! How would my face respond to a product that was first and foremost a sunscreen, but also was a moisturizer?

Beautifully.

No breakout. No rash. No greasy feel. It wore beautifully under my  makeup without causing running or caking.  My skin feels smooth and well hydrated, and I get the bonus of knowing it’s protected!

I’ve now been using it daily for a little over 2 weeks with the same results. I’ve worked in the yard, sweating it out, with no running of the product. I’ve not experienced any negative reaction, and I haven’t burned!

The cream is just that – it’s a creamier texture than I typically used as a moisturizer, but it doesn’t apply heavy. It goes on smoothly, and disappears instantly. It comes in an easy to use pump bottle, and 1-2 pumps is plenty to cover my face & neck, as well as the tops of my ears. It’s quickly becoming part of my morning routine, as sun protection should be!

Check out the SmartShield website for more details on this and their other products, including self-tanners, insect repellent products and more.

Disclosure: I was provided a bottle of SmartShield Rehydrating Face Cream with SPF 45 at no cost to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received in connection with this review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#SuitYourself and #YouSuitMe

Body image is such a difficult, personal thing. Women verbalize it more, but men face challenges as well. To compound the issue, we tend tear others down, especially when safely behind a keyboard and screen name. Somewhere along the way, society taught us that we will feel better knowing that someone feels worse.

I have a daughter who I am trying my DAMNEDEST to bring up to be strong in her confidence of herself. Having been what could generously be described as small my whole life, I know the feelings that my long, lean daughter might face. It crushed me the other morning when she came bouncing in to tell me what she weighed, and was excited because she had gained 3 pounds. I never, ever want her weight to be a focal point for her!

Many of you, my friends, are also raising kids. Let's work on teaching them 2 things -

First – that they are beautifully and wonderfully made. What some might perceive as flaws are an element of their design.  We are not all supposed to be the same (wouldn’t THAT be boring!?) and that they are loved, supported and fantastic, just like they are.

Second – that others around us are also beautiful and wonderful. Do your kids hear you laughing about someone’s appearance? Or making snide comments? Do you spend more time tearing others down or building them up? How do you talk about YOURSELF? Are you constantly focusing on a bulge, a bumpy area or a jiggly spot? What could you be saying (or NOT saying) that reaffirms for your kids that we’re all beautiful in our own, unique ways?

We’re entering the time of year where we all show a little more skin. Shorts, tank tops, and of course the dreaded swim suit. Here’s where we have the chance to make a difference.

An Atlanta-based radio morning show, The Bert Show, is kicking off summer with their second year of empowerment. They are encouraging us all to take a swimsuit selfie and post it – Instagram, Facebook, whatever, but be BOLD in knowing that you’re powerful, beautiful and confident. The hashtag being used is #SuitYourself. Read more about it here, and see how things went last year!

I want to go one step further. I want to follow that hashtag, and comment on as many of those folks as I can, sharing something I LOVE about each person’s picture. I encourage you to do the same – if not as part of the #SuitYourself campaign, just make it a practice to compliment someone every single day. You will feel far better knowing that you’ve made someone smile than you ever would tearing someone down.

I’m going to add my own hashtag to the mix here, and comment with #YouSuitMe – because you do. You are who you are, and you should ROCK that confidence!

So – #SuitYourself (link to your photo in the comments for me!) and tell others #YouSuitMe!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cheers!

It’s about that time again! Tax season is officially knocking on my door.

This year is already different, as some staffing changes have meant some shifts in responsibilities. We’re adjusting and adapting, but it’s different. Knew it would be, but until you’re really in it, it’s always hard to know for sure.

I’m feeling really glad still that I decided to take the semester off from school – I think it just would be too much. I’m starting to feel like I’m actually finally recovering a little bit from the overwhelming fall that I had. I’m afraid that if I tried to take on a couple of classes during this tax season, I’d likely push myself right over the proverbial edge!

I’ve been doing some reading, and will have a couple of book reviews up soon.

I’m not one who typically does New Years Resolutions, but I’m trying hard to make me a focus this year. I spent a great deal of 2013 feeling spread very thin. I took on a LOT, even for me, and I felt it. I was tired – exhausted really, a lot of the time. I didn’t do as well as I should have with some of my course work, missing a couple of (very minor) deadlines, which was out of character for me. I accomplished a lot, but did so at the expense of time with my family, and taking care of myself. SO. I have decided that I really have to do a better job of focusing on myself and the relationships that I treasure. One of the first things I’m doing is making it a point to drink more water. I’m going to just take each thing a step at a time and work on little habits to make me a better Megan!

Oh!! I nearly forgot! Last spring I told you guys about Jeep participating in a St. Baldrick’s Event – this year it will be the ladies’ turn!! My daughter and I will be shaving our heads for pediatric cancer research in May!! You can scope out some of the details here, and I’ll be updating on the blog as well.

Happy New Year, Momsensers – here’s to 2014 being our best year ever!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Awkward Conversation…

So, hey.

It’s not even tax season, and I’ve been REALLY not good at this for a little bit.

Even this feels sort of … awkward. Like when you run into that old friend or co-worker somewhere, and you’re standing there smiling like an idiot, and it’s all “Hey! How are you!” and they’re all “Great! How have you been!” and you’re all “Fantastic!” and it just… stops there.

That’s been the biggest part of why I’ve not been here. I’m just in this place right now where I feel like there isn’t really anything to say. Which is silly, because honestly? The last several months have been full of events and activities. We’ve had holidays and birthdays and deaths and …

and there should be something in all that to say.

but there isn’t.

              somehow, the words just aren’t there.

 

I think, if you all are willing to bear with me through it, I’m going to just keep showing up and writing, even if it’s not really anything special. Because eventually? The words will come back. And I’d like to be ready for them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

About loss...

The thing is, when you lose someone, it's hard to know what's next. You enter a season of unknown, a season where the slightest thing will make you cry, and things that are not remotely funny make you laugh. You are so twisted around emotionally, you find yourself lost.

I fill my time with "busy" - busy with the kids, busy with homework, busy with work, or making food that no one feels up to eating. Because busy means I'm not thinking. Not thinking means I'm not feeling. It means I can just shut it all off for a while.

But when the busy stops? That's when it gets hard. That's when the hurt comes. When the tears flow. When you find yourself hiding in the bathroom so the kids don't see you cry. You find yourself searching for something else to be the busy again so that the hurt goes away, or at least is buried deeply enough that you don't have to pay attention to it.

I'm looking forward to the angry part.

I handle angry much better than sad.

For today?

I'll stay busy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Gold with Envy

I was never a girl who was in to pink anyway. These days, I have to really fight to not be bitter about it.

I don’t begrudge them their month. I’m even continually impressed by how many organizations step up and promote the pink.

It crushes me, however, to watch it push into September.

September is for the kids.

September is gold.

Where are those organizations when the kids are involved? Why isn’t my soup can gold, and why aren’t  my favorite receiver’s gloves gold, and where are the gold ribbon displays at the grocery, and the convenience store, and, well, dammit, where is the gold?

I see it here and there, in part because I am looking. Because much of my social network is looking, and we share the images. We celebrate the businesses that support the kids that are fighting. We hunt it out, the gold.

The pink? It’s everywhere. My emails are full of it, my stores are flooded with it. They’ve worked hard for that, and I know we all know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, but I know so many who have been touched by pediatric cancer! I know how drastically underfunded research is where the kids are concerned. I know what the ramifications can be of the limited treatment options that exist for our kids. I’ve seen the young athlete battling his way back from a wheelchair to a walker. I’ve seen the aspiring singer suffer such dramatic hearing loss.  I’ve visited the grave of a little girl who spent more of her short 10 years on this earth fighting cancer than she did living without it.

So, I try to not be bitter, I know that cancer is hard for anyone, but I cannot help but want the gold to be as recognizable as the pink. For it to be as supported as the pink.

I at least want it to get to use its whole month, without being crowded out by the pink….