Category: Love & Relationships

Dad Must Take Down Cardboard Fort or Pay Fine

Posted on Apr 14, 2015 by 2 Comments

Remember the days when you played outside, knew your neighbors, and people in the neighborhood actually talked to each other?

If you didn’t like something your neighbor was doing you’d talk to them about it, or if they saw your kids doing something they shouldn’t be doing, they’d talk to you.

Today that’s become more and more rare. Many places have enacted deed restrictions and homeowner’s associations to keep people in line – without neighbors even talking to each other personally.

A good example of this came up in Ogden, Utah, this past week. A father of two by the name of Jeremy Trentelman decided to build an elaborate cardboard-box fort in the yard for his kids.

It looked somewhat like a castle – something I would have thought fantastic as a kid. His kids thought it great as well and the project gave Trentelman the pleasure of seeing the kids crawl in and through all the little passageways and doors.

That is until the city of Ogden warned him that the fort must be disassembled by April 13.

Why such a fuss over a cardboard fort? The “structure” was in violation of building codes. If he didn’t take it down, he’d be facing fines for the violation.

Does this seem absurd to any other common-sense people? It seems like a structure that rain can “bring down” would not really be considered a true structure that could be in violation of code.

Trentelman agrees. He said, “The whole thing is just ridiculous. I thought I was just building a fort out of cardboard, tape and a little love, but apparently it’s making a statement.”

Trentleman’s children are 3 ½ and 2 years old. He had collected several five-foot-by four-foot boxes, which were used to ship botanical trees at the home and garden center where he works.

He built the fort as a diversion from TV for his kids, but shortly after the project was finished Ogden delivered a warning. It wasn’t a citation, but an official letter letting him know he was in violation for having “waste materials or junk” in his yard.

While we can all blame the city, I have to wonder how the officials knew about the fort so quickly. I imagine a nosy neighbor peeking through drawn curtains mumbling about a neighbor building a fort of cardboard boxes.

If it really made them so unhappy why not go out and talk to Trentleman? Probably because they knew they’d look like a fool. Instead, they sent the city officials to do the dirty work. And if Trentleman didn’t comply he would have to pay a $125 fee.

He also had the option of paying $25 to contest it. He did consider doing that, but changed his mind. I can’t blame him. These types of things often do not side with common sense.

Photo credits: Sandy Miller

Toxic Behaviors that Kill a Relationship

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 by No Comments

Today it seems we have experts on every topic you can think of from politics, to religion, to love. Often when I hear an expert’s opinion, I am amazed at what I’m listening to.

Most often, it’s either common sense that’s been handed down for generations, or some nonsensical blather that sounds like it belongs in a work of fiction. But every once in a while, being reminded that common sense still has a place in the world is a bit comforting.

For instance, Peter Pearson, the cofounder of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California, recently talked about “relationship killers” he sees in his practice. There were no surprises. I agree with the traits he points to as toxic to a relationship.

Couple
Holding on to a “why should I have to change” attitude

Healthy relationships grow. It requires give and take, and that means change for both parties. Sometimes it might be something as small as which way you put the toilet paper on the dispenser.

When someone in the relationship refuses to change, it leads to frustrations. The person making all the concessions tends to get fed up and turns into what their partner perceives as demanding — or a nag. Not being willing to change is toxic to a relationship because it handicaps the relationship process and leaves both people unsatisfied.

Withdrawing to avoid showing vulnerability

Change isn’t easy, but it is part of a healthy relationship as two people grow together. When one person withdraws into their own little protective bubble to avoid showing any vulnerability this, too, can be toxic.

Pearson says, “The price for leaving your bubble is the risk that you might get rejected, and that it takes effort to manage your emotional reactions. You pay a price if you stay hunkered down, since the partner then has their rationale for not changing.” That means neither person should withdraw, and both should be willing to change.

Living with a stranger in a withered relationship

How many times have you heard about couples who fall in love, have a family, build a career, and when the kids leave home they discover they are living with a stranger? It’s like they’ve lived two separate lives while being in the same house.

Pearson admits such a situation is ripe for an affair when one or both people meet someone who makes them feel alive again. To avoid falling into this pit, it is important to be conscientious in your relationship. Don’t assume your partner knows what you want, and don’t take them for granted. Stay connected and do things together.

Adapting too much

While healthy relationships are made up of two people who do things together, it doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. We do have different preferences, and habits.

It takes some adaptation, like when I join my husband at a baseball game but bring a book to read while I’m there. The problem comes in when someone feels like they are the only one doing the adapting, and according to Pearson that happens based on three assumptions:

  • “I have to please my partner in order to be accepted.”
  • “We can’t want different things, because if we want different things, the relationship won’t last.”
  • “If I speak up, I’ll be criticized. The consequences will be too negative.”

These types of assumptions lead to toxic dynamics where one person dominates the other, where no one talks about anything that matters, and where at least one of the people do whatever they can just to avoid conflict.

Once any of these mindsets take hold, it takes work to overcome them, and communication is the place to start.

Photo credits: BuzzFeedYellow

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Spend Easter as Family

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 by No Comments

Easter Sunday brought Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon back together for the day, even as their impending divorce moves forward. They spent the day as a family with their three-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe.

Divorce is never easy, and sometimes the kids pay a price too high, so it was good to see the two stars put their differences aside to make the day special for the kids.

The famous couple took the kids to the New York Bronx Zoo to celebrate Easter. While there Mariah took a moment to share a family photo on social media. It captured an instant in time from the Easter egg hunt, and below the post she captioned “Happy Easter!!! #ontheegghunt #NYiswild.”

It showed each of the parents holding a themed bucket with the kids immersed in hunt mode searching out the next egg. Nick had his hand on Mariah’s back. I thought it a sweet moment that showed the two of them still get along even though they have their differences.

Mariah looked great in a pink dress with a matching leather jacket, and Nick who is equally known for his style, had on an orange sweatshirt and snapback hat. He regrammed Mariah’s post adding, “Best Easter Sunday @BronxZoo Roc & Roe had a blast finding eggs all over the Zoo! #FestiveFamily #HappyEaster.”

It was sad news to hear the couple was splitting last year. While they separated last June, Cannon didn’t actually file for divorce until January of this year. He has made it clear the kids’ welfare is important to both he and Mariah, and the body language in the Easter photo shows that the couple’s relationship is still friendly or at least amicable.

I’m so glad to see it.

Cannon told US Weekly, “My kids kind of get the experience the both worlds. They get Manhattan and a little bit of Jersey.” I like his attitude.

Photo credits: Websta

Mother Uses Facebook to Apologize for Her Daughters’ Behavior

Posted on Apr 3, 2015 by 1 Comment

I’m not always a fan of the way people use Facebook with an agenda, but when one Birmingham, Alabama mom, Kyesha Smith Wood, heard what her daughters had done, she went to Facebook to see if she could make amends for her daughters’ “rude and obnoxious” behavior.

Since then, the post has gone viral.

The two girls had gone to the movies to see the new Cinderella flick with their brother. They sat behind another mom, Rebecca Boyd and her 12-year-old daughter, Ashley.

Unfortunately for the Boyds, the girls behind them giggled, kicked their seats, and just generally misbehaved throughout the movie. Mrs. Boyd turned around to address the behavior but they just giggled at her and continued to spoil the mother-daughter night out.

After the movie was over, Boyd told her 12-year-old daughter to go to the car. She’d be close behind.

She took the opportunity to talk to the two teenage girls who had ruined her evening out. She reminded them that their behavior affects other people around them, and went on to explain to them that her husband had just been laid off and this was the last time she and her daughter would be taking in a movie together for a long time and that they had ruined it.

The incident had aggravated her, but she left it behind saying, “They are not bad kids. They just made bad choices.”

Often that would be the end of it, but in stepped the brother who witnessed the whole thing. He told Mom, Kyesha Smith Wood, what had happened and she was furious.

She took a chance and posted a note on Facebook saying “This is a long shot, but I’m looking for a woman that was at Tannehill Premier tonight seeing Cinderella at 7 p.m.” She went on to explain her daughter’s bad behavior, Boyd’s confrontation, and that she was humiliated.

She invited Boyd to private message her if she read the message saying, “I can assure you that these girls are being strongly dealt with and appropriately punished. This rude, disrespectful, and awful behavior is unacceptable and they owe you an apology. My husband and I are having them write your apology letter tonight and we would like to pay for your next movie and snacks out of their allowance. Please message me if this is you. I apologize profusely for their disrespect.”

The post was shared by the local Jefferson County Sheriff’s office, and from there it was shared more than 51,000 times with almost 260,000 likes by the time I read it.

Mrs. Wood could have just punished her kids, but she went the extra mile to try to make things right for Boyd and her daughter and to teach her kids a life lesson.

Photo credits: Facebook

Sweat Pants Blamed as Number 1 Cause for Divorce

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 by No Comments

Sweat pants are at the center of a new controversy. It all started when new mom Eva Mendes talked about her six-month-old daughter, Esmeralda, and her appreciation for motherhood in an interview with Extra’s AJ Calloway.

She talked about how much she appreciates her own mother now, that she understands so much more, but then she went on to reveal her secret rule for keeping Hollywood’s hottest leading man, Ryan Gosling happing at home.

She said, “You can’t do sweatpants… ladies, number one cause of divorce in America, sweatpants, no!”

Instead of focusing on her new appreciation for her own mother, the media ran with the sweatpants ball turning it into a controversy. Isn’t that what hooks viewers?

Boyfriend Gosling weighed in on Twitter letting people know Mendes was joking about sweatpants, but I bet that doesn’t get as much coverage.

I first heard about it on the Fox and Friends morning show when guest Dolly Parton was promoting the 30th anniversary of her theme park, Dollywood. They asked her about her stance on sweatpants.

Parton, who has been married to the same man for 48 years, said “I don’t think I’ll be getting a divorce anytime soon because I either wear tight pants or no pants.”

I about spit out my coffee. Yes, I’m sure she was kidding, and in my book it was a great come back to a rather silly question.

What do you think of sweatpants? I own a couple of pairs to wear when I work out in the winter months, but I don’t wear them like they are a pair of jeans.

My reasoning isn’t my marriage. It isn’t even style. It is my waistline.

Sweatpants allow a measure of comfort that permits the waistline to grow without any warning signs. I choose to wear pants with a waistband that warns me when they are getting too tight. The discomfort reminds me to skip seconds, to forego that dessert, and to exercise regularly.

A waistband works better for me than a scale because it’s with me wherever I go.

Photo credits: Amazon

Moment of Dread When You Realize the Your Child Is Quiet

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 by 1 Comment

Life is full of chaos for moms of toddlers. They are always on the move, except when they are napping. Or at least you think they are napping.

One time, when my daughter napped a little longer than usual, I peeked in on her to find that she had climbed up onto the changing table, painted the wall in Vaseline, and stuck tissues here and there in what I guessed to be an effort to clean it up, or maybe a work of art. Not sure. All I can tell you is that it was a big mess trying to clean Vaseline off the wall, my child, and everything else she had touched.

It’s funny how we can long for a little bit of quiet. We even enjoy it. Then suddenly we realize it’s too quiet! And why? They are doing something fascinating of course. Like when my daughter painted my bedspread and her outfit with my mascara. (Hairspray did get most of it out.)

During those times of “golden” silence, I’d often find my son had dumped the shampoo down the tub drain, or that he had unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper, his favorite activity.

The fact is, that most of the time when our tots are too quiet, it means they aren’t just being quiet. They are up to no good.

Looking back at those times, now, they are cute. Like when my son was just learning to walk, but knew how to climb. He pushed the kitchen chair to the counter, climbed up and taste-tested the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with his little fingers.

The thing that’s amazing is that it takes almost no time for them to create a mess or at least get into something they shouldn’t be.

At the time it was frustrating, but today, some of my favorite pics are from those times, when I grabbed the camera and snapped a picture.

How about your kids? What have you found them doing in those quiet moments? Remember to cherish even these times, because in the future you’ll be laughing together over them.

Photo credits: Personal photo used with permission

Bride Marries Wedding Guest Instead of Groom

Posted on Mar 23, 2015 by No Comments

A lot goes into a wedding. Not just planning and finances but there’s also a lot of emotional commitment involved. When the big day comes, and all goes well, it’s the thing memories are made of.

For one 23-year-old Indian bride, by the name of Indira, things were going according to plan until her husband-to-be suffered an epileptic seizure during the ceremony.

A medical event is enough to ruin any wedding, but there’s a twist to this story. The bride walked out married…but to one of the guests.

Just before the vows were exchanged, the groom, Jugal Kishore, collapsed to the floor. He was rushed to the hospital. Normally, wouldn’t you expect the bride to go to the hospital?

Not this time. Instead of being worried or upset for his welfare, she was angry. Angry because she didn’t know her fiancé was an epileptic. Just one of those things he never mentioned I guess.

In that fit of anger, the bride asked one of the guests, by the name of Harpal Singh to marry her. He happened to be a member of her brother-in-law’s family. That’s enough of a surprise, but the real surprise is that he said yes!

He stepped into the groom’s shoes wearing jeans and a leather jacket. They exchanged vows and then Kishore, the original groom, returned after being released from the hospital.

You can imagine his surprise when he arrived to find his bride married to someone else. The Times of India reports that he begged her to change her mind, because he couldn’t face his family after such a humiliating turn of events. She said, “No.”

The celebration turned violent as the two families started throwing plates and cutlery. It led to a complaint being filed by Mr. Kishore, but he later retracted it.

Things settled, and life returned to normal. But it was a new normal. Mr. Kishore was still single, and the woman he thought was to be his bride now lives as the wife of another man.

All this took place in Rampur in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Sounds like a work of fiction, doesn’t it?

Photo credits: wikipedia

Brad and Angelina Adopting Again

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 by No Comments

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have six children, and rumors have resurfaced that they are ready to grow that number to seven. This would be the first child the couple would add to their family since they became husband and wife last August.

According to Women’s Day, the couple has reportedly started the process to adopt a two-year-old boy from Syria named “Moussa.”

After months of “top-secret negations,” Brad and his wife Angelina are allegedly ready to welcome a sweet two-year-old boy from Syria into their family. – Women’s Day

Pitt (51) and Jolie (39), are known for their large hearts, and are no strangers to the idea of adoption. Jolie had already adopted son, Maddox in 2002, before she and Pitt became a couple.

In 2005, the two of them traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Jolie adopted her second child Zahara Marley. In 2006, they legally changed the children’s last name from Jolie to Jolie Pitt.

In 2006, Angelina gave birth to their first biological child, Shiloh Nouvel in Swakopmund, Namibia and People magazine paid more than $4 million for the first pictures. The couple donated the money to charities that help African children.

In 2007, Angelina adopted a three year old, Pax Thien, from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Pitt adopted him in the United States in 2008.

In that same year, Jolie announced she was expecting twins, and in July gave birth to son Knox Leon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline in Nice, France. This time first rights for pictures of the babies were sold to both People and Hello! For $14 million and the money was donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

No word of exactly when Moussa will join the rest of the family. Angelina met the child while visiting as a United Nations ambassador for refugees and displaced people earlier this year.

At the time Moussa lived in the Altinozu refugee camp in Turkey. The little guy toddled up to her and gave her a hug when he saw she was crying. She kissed the top of his head the two were inseparable for the rest of her visit. Sounds like a match made for life!

Photo credits: HotPink17

Daddy Daughter Bonding Activities

Posted on Mar 16, 2015 by No Comments

My dad and I had a special relationship. He was the go-to person when I needed to talk. We laughed together, played together, and he was also the disciplinarian.

So how did we get so close when he worked second shift? First off, we left notes for each other. I’d leave mind on his pillow.

Dad took advantage of the weekends. We often went off and spent the day fishing, ice skating, or sometimes we’d would go for a scenic drive. At the time, that was my least favorite because I wasn’t into admiring the farmer’s fields and tree-lined streets, but it did give us time in the car to talk.

I think that’s the key. Bonding time needs to allow for time to communicate. If you’re not good at it, it just means you need more practice.

So if you can’t go skating or fishing, what are some things dads do today with their daughters? My dad is the one who taught me to ride a bike, but sometimes it is hard to find a common interest.

A good fall-back plan is to go out to eat. Going out for breakfast is my favorite, but any meal will do. It’s the perfect opportunity for the two of you sit at the same table and talk about what on your minds.

My father loved going to the Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum in Chicago. It’s where he grew up. He was better than a guide; he made museum visits just about as fun as a Night at the Museum movie.

My friend’s daughter loves birds, and she and her father built a birdhouse together. He even set up a camera inside and they watched bluebirds build a nest and raise a family. The possibilities are endless.

Thinking back on it today, I cherish the memories of time spent with my dad. As the oldest of seven, it wasn’t always just the two of us, but I couldn’t tell you who else was there. In my mind it was me and dad.

Today I think dads drive themselves crazy trying to carve out alone time with each child individually every time so they can bond, when really spending time together having fun will do the trick.

My dad used to play hide and seek with us and even tag. All you really have to do is share your life. It’s more than a daddy daughter dance. It’s a all-the-time kind of thing.

Photo credits: Mvideography