For a person who loves to give and get hugs this social distancing due to COVID-19 has been tough.  I was talking to a friend the other day and said that when this is done I just want to invite all of my friends over and have a giant hug fest. But there’s one person I want to hug more than anyone – my friend Barb.

Barb has cancer. The bad kind.

Its’ been almost a year since her diagnosis and through that time I’ve learned a great deal about being a friend.

The Universe brought us together through our daughters’ shared activity of All-Star Cheer. Our first clue that we were destined to meet was the realization that I had attended high school with her husband and we had many mutual friends.

When you’re an All-Star Cheer mom you spend most weekends throughout the winter travelling to competitions.  Barb and I would share hotel rooms either by ourselves or with other cheer moms.  But the two of us were the early risers and the mornings were our time to drink coffee and have deep conversations about life.  Barb had already had a close call with death due to other health issues and my first-born Connor had died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at 4 months old.  We came from the same working-class background and had similar beliefs about life in general.

Her daughter’s All-Star Cheer career ended when she headed off to college but our friendship remained strong although we saw less of each other.

And then she received her diagnosis – Stage 3B liver cancer.

I remember just a few weeks prior we had been out to dinner with our husbands and she mentioned that she had been losing weight.  She chalked it up to stress due to new job responsibilities and her son starting active duty for the USAF as a 2nd Lieutenant for Pilot Training in Texas.

When she told me the news and we had our first “serious” conversation I didn’t have the right words yet.  Barb’s my only friend to have been diagnosed with cancer. So, I merely listened.  And then I hung up the phone and broke down crying.  I cried for many days.  This in and of itself was a strange experience for me.  When Connor died, I cried so much I didn’t think I had any tears left in my body.  And, in a way, it made me numb towards death.  Since then I have lost my father, my wonderful Uncle and several other people but few tears came. But Barb was different and it broke down a wall in me that I thought would be up forever.  My friend isn’t supposed to die! We have kids and husbands and shared experiences!

I remember after Connor died my peer support counselor told me that I’m allowed to have a pity party but then I need to snap out of it and get back to living.  I knew that Barb needed me to be there for her – I mean really be there for her.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  She immediately decided that she would not turn to Dr. Google to read about her cancer.  Rather she would focus on the task at hand of fighting it.  I intended to roll-up my sleeves and be in her corner of the ring.

Our first tough conversation was me admitting that I felt helpless and wouldn’t always know what to say but that I promised her I would always listen and really hear her. That I would not make false assurances or pretend things weren’t as grave as they were.

It’s not easy sitting with grief and death.  It’s even more difficult to actually discuss it.

Maybe it’s because my son died and through that experience I realized that the last things a person wants to hear are false promises of hope or platitudes. The person who is ill or grieving just ends up feeling as if they’re not heard or that their feelings are irrelevant.

Grief and facing one’s mortality can be an isolating experience.  Death makes most people extremely uncomfortable so by not talking about it we can pretend it’s not real.  As the saying goes, “Denial is not a river in Egypt

But there’s a difference between denial and optimism just as there’s a difference between negativity and pragmatism.

The type of chemo Barb went through required her to come home with an IV for 48 hours every other week.  Prior to the start of that she was in and out of the hospital at least seven times over the course of two months.  She was exhausted and scared. When her chemo started she asked if I could sit with her on the days when she had her IV. She wouldn’t be able to do anything and because of terrible neuropathy she couldn’t touch or be exposed to anything cold.  Even a cold drink was too painful. She would also be too weak to get up from the couch. As a person who had been a caregiver all her life it was, at first, hard for Barb to accept care.  Being cared for creates a level of vulnerability that leaves the person almost raw. For me, however, being the caregiver was an honor.

And so began a new journey in our friendship that strengthened every other Thursday. Every visit was different.  Sometimes she was so weak she couldn’t speak and so I would simply sit there next to her.  Other times she had strength and we would talk about everything from what was new on Netflix to what our kids were up to.  Out of the blue one day she said she felt like a burger so we ordered up a meal from McDonalds on Uber Eats. And yes, there were those times when we cried together and she shared with me her deepest fears.

We talked about death in a very real, honest way. About the randomness of life and death and that none of us know what tomorrow will bring.  She has discussed with me end-of-life plans in which I listen and respect her wishes.

As her chemo progressed and her numbers improved we began to tentatively talk about plans for the future, just not too far into the future. Yes, we’ve cried together but we’ve also laughed together. We went to a restaurant and celebrated her digging into a big plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. We share stories about how our husbands are wonderful and exasperating.

Because of COVID-19 it’s been far too long since I’ve seen her in person. We’ve done Facetime calls and Zoom double dates but I miss seeing her in person. The other day she said that the support of her family is wonderful, but she misses her friends.

This is the hug I so desperately want to give.

The hugs aren’t just about comforting her, they’re also about giving me the assurance that she’s still here. It’s about acknowledging that we’re still in this fight together.

Am I the only woman out there who’s sleep pattern is completely wrecked by this quarantine? For those of us who are used to living by a schedule and keeping our family’s life running smoothly this is completely screwing us up.

Or is it?

I’m a firm believer in the universe providing teachable moments that allow us to re-adjust. OK, this is more than just a moment – it’s a giant time-out.

I think most of us needed it for various reasons but for those of us who are caregivers, moms and entrepreneurs one of the lessons might just be to ease up.

As is typical of me, I started out this quarantine with a game plan – and my trusty white board.  Afterall, I work from my home office regularly, how different could this be?

I started lists of projects my teenagers could help me with when they were done with online school.  I assigned cooking, spring cleaning and activities with their brother Spencer who has intellectual disabilities.  Spencer was my greatest challenge.  He attends a day program and routine is critical for many people with intellectual disabilities.  I planned exercise time, drawing, Facetime with his friends and “some” TV.

I also had to plan what to do about my mom who lives with us.  As with many people from her generation, she likes to go to the grocery store every day rather than do a big shopping.  She also visits my aunt in a nursing home daily.  I had recently convinced her to start doing an exercise class at the senior center a few times per week.  Even though she lives with us she has her own schedule and I was nervous about her becoming isolated.  And so, I factored her into my plans as well.  We would have game nights and I would take walks with her and look through old photos.

Then there was date time with my husband to consider.  Greg has Primary Progressive MS and uses a power chair so our dates usually consisted of going to the movies or out to dinner with friends.  Clearly that was now out of the question.  I envisioned some quiet dinners alone – which I didn’t think through given that there was nowhere for the rest of the family to go during these quiet dinners!

I even factored in my own changes.  Rather than going to the gym I’d do classes online.  I already practiced yoga at home so throwing in some cardio and weight training would be easy.

And then the first day of quarantine happened.

It felt like a snow day with the kids home.  Rather than waking up at my normal 5:30A and meditating I found myself shutting off the alarm and sleeping until 7.  I rationalized that since the girl’s didn’t have to head off for school I’d still have extra time before they got up.  Spencer turned on the TV the minute he woke up.  I figured it was the first day and I wanted to get into the new routine so I’d let it slide.  My friends and I started texting about how crazy the world was becoming and before I knew it, it was 10:30.  I started thinking about what I was going to make for our first big family dinner.  If it was our normal routine the girls would be at cheer practice and wouldn’t be home for dinner.  Now suddenly I was faced with the prospect of making dinner for six people EVERY NIGHT.

By now it was 2P and I needed to buckle down and work.  I couldn’t take the time to walk the girls through the chores I wanted them to do and they were more than happy to spend the entire afternoon watching Tik Toks.  By 4P I realized that I hadn’t gotten a workout in so I tuned in to a live Zumba session on Instagram.  I quickly learned that to do an exercise class that required me to watch an instructor on my tiny phone is virtually impossible.  By 5P my son wanted to help with dinner which is wonderful, but he can’t do this without supervision so any chance of catching up on work was gone.  When dinner was done all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch Netflix.  The idea of family game night went completely out the window. Instead baking cookies seemed like a much better idea.

And so, my carefully planned out day resulted in me sleeping in, working too little, eating too much and my kids glued to their devices. Even worse I was wide awake until midnight – something unheard of for me. Which threw me off schedule again the following morning. I could see a vicious cycle beginning and was stressed out how to make it better.  Afterall I’m the Queen of running a household efficiently. I was sure I could conquer this challenge.

But I quickly realized I couldn’t. Life has taken on a new rhythm. Days and weeks feel longer and schedules just don’t seem to work.  With my daughter going off to college next year I’m grateful that I have more time with her.  Usually she’d be off with friends or at cheer practice.  I’m happy that she also has this time with her sister and I’m sure she’ll remember that fondly. I’ve taken walks with my mom and my husband and I have done double dates on Zoom.  My mom and Spencer have been playing Xbox Bowling – something they both enjoy tremendously. We’ve also set up FaceTime so she can see my aunt in the nursing home every week. And I’ve gotten back to work and have the opportunity to focus on doing more videos with inspirational people which is something I had put on the back burner.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that life keeps moving forward, maybe a bit messier and not as efficient, but mostly enjoyable.  We’re not the family that plays games together, but we’re all assembling masks for healthcare workers tonight which to me is even better.  But more importantly we share laughs and love and in the end that’s all that matters.

 

 

 

The following was written by  Heather Borden Herve, GMW Editor

Gov. Ned Lamont issued his nightly update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic for Thursday, April 2, 2020. It was, according to the governor, the largest, single-day increase in the number of deaths since the crisis began.

By the Numbers (April 2)
  • New one-day positive cases in CT residents:  267
  • Total CT cases:  3,824 (includes 18,300-plus tests conducted in state and private labs)
  • Total People hospitalized:  827 (approximately) (381 in Fairfield County)
  • Total Fairfield County cases: 2,132 (up 146 in one day)
  • Total CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19: 112 (27 newly reported) (65 in Fairfield County–up 19 in one day)

Visit the state’s coronavirus webpage for several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups.

Governor Implements New “Safe Store” Rules

Gov. Lamont instituted new rules to protect store employees and shoppers, effective Friday, April 3.

Occupancy, store layout, and managing customer flow

  • Occupancy capped at 50% of store capacity. At entrance, staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting stores.
  • Clearly mark 6-ft. spacing in lines on floor at checkout lines and other high-traffic areas and, as much as practicable, provide ways to encourage 6-ft. spacing in lines outside the store.
  • Post conspicuous signage and floor markings to direct customers and limit bottlenecks and/or encourage spacing and flow in high-density areas.
  • Have aisles be one-way in stores where practicable to maximize spacing between customers. Identify the one-way aisles with conspicuous signage and/or floor markings.
  • Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout lines, including, but not limited to, only using every other checkout line, where and when possible.
  • Install Plexiglas shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines and other areas in the store where practicable.

General

  • Communicate with customers through in-store signage, and public service announcements and advertisements, there should only be one person per household during shopping trips, whenever possible.
  • Discontinue all self-serve foods (e.g., salad bar, olive bar) and product sampling.
  • Allow “touchless” credit card transactions. If not possible, sanitize credit card machines (including pen) regularly and consistently.
  • Cart and basket handles sanitized between uses (by staff).
  • Wherever possible, employees will wear gloves and face masks at all times that they are interacting with customers and/or handling products.
Governor Lamont signs 21st executive order

Gov. Lamont Thursday signed another executive order–the 21st since he declared an emergency–which enacts the following provisions:

Prohibition on non-essential lodging:  Prohibits all hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term residential rentals (including those arranged through online hosting platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo) from renting to customers for leisure or vacation purposes. Instead, lodging at these facilities must be limited to:

  • Health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers;
  • Workers engaged in transporting critical materials to hospitals;
  • Vulnerable populations, including those who are homeless;
  • Connecticut residents who need a place to self-quarantine away from family or roommates;
  • Those receiving long-term care or specialized medical treatment;
  • Connecticut residents in need of housing as a result of property damage, such as a fire;
  • Persons unable to return home because of constraints on travel; and
  • Persons engaged in providing or servicing lodging.

Further clarification of limits on restaurants, bars, and private clubs:  Permits, under certain conditions, food establishments and liquor manufacturers to deliver alcoholic liquor and allows additional manufacturers to sell alcoholic liquor for pick-up and delivery. This will provide additional opportunities for these businesses to safely deliver their products directly to customers and reduce travel outside the home.

Suspension of notarization requirement related to Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program:  Suspends the notarization requirement for certifying compliance with nondiscrimination laws for applicants seeking assistance through the recently created Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program for small businesses in order to ensure that applications can be completed and processed in an efficient manner.

Flexibility to maintain adequate child care infrastructure:  Provides the commissioner of Early Childhood with the authority to implement a financial package to compensate emergency child care and stabilize the child care field to support providers through the emergency response.

Suspension of rehearing rights for temporary rate increases for certain health care providers:  Enables the Department of Social Services to provide relief to various providers, including nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled, and residential care homes, by way of a temporary rate increase to address the COVID-19 public health emergency without being subject to rehearings challenging the overall magnitude and methodology of the rate increases that can, in some case, take years to come to a conclusion and expose the state to increased costs beyond those necessary to pay the temporary rate increases.

Alternative to affidavits in relation to orders of protection and relief:  Suspends the requirement that victims of domestic abuse sign an application for an order of protection under oath before a notary or attorney. Instead, the order enables them to sign an application outside the presence of a third party under the penalty of false statement. Gov. Lamont thanks the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Judicial Branch for their input and coordination on this important matter. This order, along with additional changes the Judicial Branch intends to make to its Rules of Civil Procedure, will ensure victims of domestic abuse continue to have access to our courts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access Health CT extends special enrollment period for uninsured residents to April 17

Access Health CT–Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace–Thursday announced that it is extending the deadline for the new special enrollment period for uninsured residents to enroll in health insurance plans. The special enrollment period opened on March 19 and was originally anticipated to end April 2; however that deadline is now being extended to April 17. Anyone who enrolls during this extension period will receive coverage effective May 1.

The only way to sign up for this special enrollment period is by calling 855.365.2428. Telephone enrollment is available Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Individuals who lose coverage due to unemployment, experience certain other qualifying life events, or qualify for Medicaid/Children’s Health Program (CHIP), can always enroll online, in-person or over the phone and all help is free.

Nearly 1,500 people enrolled during the initial-two week special enrollment period.

Department of Social Services extends deadline to apply for winter home-heating assistance

The Department of Social Services today announced that it is extending the application period for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. Residents will now have until June 1, 2020 to apply for assistance to help cover this past winter’s heating bills (the previous deadline was May 1). Application sites and eligibility information is available online, by calling 2-1-1, texting CTWARM to 898.211, or contacting a community action agency.

Department of Social Services extends Emergency SNAP benefits to 97,000 households

The Department of Social Services is providing Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefits to nearly half of Connecticut SNAP participants on April 9 and April 20. Authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, the extra food benefits will go to approximately 97,000 households not currently receiving the maximum benefits allowed for their household size. This means that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum food benefit allowable for their household size, even if they aren’t usually eligible for the maximum benefit. More information is available online.

Department of Revenue Services extends filing payment deadline for gift tax returns

At the direction of Governor Lamont, the Department of Revenue Services today announced that the filing and payment deadline for gift tax returns is being extended until July 15, 2020. Gift tax returns reporting gifts made during 2019 had been due on April 15. This extension does not apply to the estate tax.

“This action, which aligns with the U.S. Treasury’s announcement of an extension at the federal level, will help support taxpayers and tax practitioners meet their responsibility to file returns and remit payments,” Acting Revenue Services Commissioner John Biello said.For Connecticut taxable gifts made during calendar year 2019, a donor will not pay Connecticut gift tax unless the aggregate amount of the Connecticut taxable gifts made exceeds $3.6 million.

If you’re a working mom you’re probably already getting stressed out between trying to home school and work remotely. 

Now more than ever it’s important to set up an exercise routine for your kids as well as yourself.  Not only will it destress you but get you into shape for beach days that we can hopefully enjoy in the not-too-distant future. 

Here’s a list of some of the gyms and facilities around the country offering online workouts:

YMCA – Whether you below to a Y or not, head over to Y360 on YouTube for workout at any level.  There’s Barre and Yoga classes, Boot Camp and Active Older Adults (super important to keep older adults active right now!)

Planet Fitness – The workouts will be live-streamed at 7 p.m. ET each day for the next two weeks. And if you can’t make it live, the workouts will be available on-demand on Facebook and in Planet Fitness’ YouTube channel. No equipment is needed, and the classes last 20 minutes or less.

Pamela Reif’s Video Workouts – Even though 20 minutes may not seem like a long enough time to get your sweat on, you will be breathless halfway through this video. Squat jumps, push-ups, and planks, oh my! Choose between full body, arms, abs, and even yoga sessions.

Yoga With Adrienne – I’ve been doing Adrienne online yoga sessions for over a year now. She has them broken down into different categories and there’s something for everyone – Runner’s Yoga, Yoga for Digestive Health and a perfect one for now – Yoga for Uncertain Times.

Free Trainers  – I’ve never tried this site but it caught my eye because they create a full body workout plan that’s customized for me.  I don’t need anything except a mat and some dumbbells (or cans of food.) I’ll be posting some videos of me doing this one!

As a blogger, I get compensated for some of my posts when I discuss a product and someone purchases it. This is my job and how I get paid. I will not, however, recommend or discuss a product that I don’t feel is of benefit or value to my readers. My thoughts on these products are my own.

I LOVE aroma therapy. I have a diffuser with eucalyptus in my home office, I spray lavender before I go to bed and I use spray water infused with citrus oil in the morning to wake me up. 

For those of you who are new to essential oils, here’s what you need to know:

Essential oils, what you need to know

But I can assure you that using essential oils can relax you, energize you and focus you.  Not only that but they can be used for cleaning your home.

What I don’t love is how expensive everything can be.  Trying to DIY it usually requires buying a lot of extra stuff such as the carrier oils to use with the essential oils or a roller ball bottle or salts. 

Enter Simply Earth

I’d never heard of the company until they reached out to me asking me to try out their products. It’s a family-owned business that, like so many entrepreneurs, saw a problem and set out to solve it. 

That problem was all the chemicals that invade our home through cleaning products on a daily basis. Chemicals that end up on our clothes on the plates we eat from and the air we breathe. For those who follow my blog you know I have a son with intellectual disabilities and a husband with primary progressive MS so that impact of environmental toxins on our bodies is a big issue for me. Their mission is simple – make our homes natural at an affordable price.

On their website, their Simply Pure Promise is:

Simply Pure essential oils promise

Here’s what’s awesome about them:

They source their oils in small batches from all around the world, wherever that particular plant grows best, from ethical farms.

All of their oils go through third-party testing to make sure they’re pure and completely free of fragrances, contaminants and fillers.  And they post the GM/MC reports for every batch on the product page so we can see them.  Full transparency!

They’re super affordable!  If you have ever bought 100% pure essential oils, you know they’re pricey.  While you can buy individual products such as the essential oils (including CBD Oil!), jewelry, diffusers and other products, the best thing about Simply Earth is they offer a monthly subscription that is a fraction of the cost of purchasing these products anywhere else. 

For just $39/ month you get:

Four 15 ml bottles of essential oils which is a $100+ value compared to other big essential oil companies. You receive recipe cards for using the oils. Plus, six containers to hold your creations along with the extra items you’ll need to complete the recipes.

Plus, on your first order you’ll get a FREE Big Bonus Box with tons of stuff like carrier oils, the roller ball bottles and beeswax.  No need to go out to the store to get these extras.

My initial thought was that I’d never use up all 4 essential oils every month, but I realize you’re not supposed to – you can build up a variety of essential oils.

Here’s what makes it even better! If you use my code SAFETYMOMFREE you’ll receive a $40 gift certificate with your first subscription box and FREE Big Bonus Box to use towards your next month’s box or a future purchase.

Simply Earth Essential Oils monthly subscription box
  • The Simply Earth return policy is a full year (365 days).
  • Shipping is free for continental U.S. states on orders $29 and up.
  • And what’s really cool about this company is they donate 13% of their profits to organizations who help find, rescue, and restore victims of human trafficking.

Now on to the fun stuff – and I do mean FUN!

You get to create a variety of aroma therapy products for yourself with the recipes they have.  There are tons of recipes on their blog and you can also download The Essential Oils for Beginners Book.  But each of your monthly boxes comes with recipes such as the Anxiety Relief Inhaler, the Persevere Roll On and the Creative Zone Diffuser Blend (my personal favorite so far!)

Essential oil for beginners

Are you an aroma therapy addict like me?  I’d love you to check out Simply Earth and let me know what you think of their products. 

I’d really appreciate you also using and sharing my code SAFETYMOMFREE to get the $40 gift card with your first subscription box.

I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Last month I posted a video that I would be checking out a skin care line called Y’OUR.  I’m at an age where I’m willing to try anything.  There are a few things I insist upon however – simplicity and products that have clean ingredients.  I will admit, however that I spend way too much time trying to decide which products are right for my skin.  My main concerns are dull skin, exposure to environmental toxins, fine lines (OK, that’s a nice way of saying wrinkles) and dryness.  I literally could spend hours standing in the aisle of Ulta or CVS comparing which products would take care of all these issues.

That’s the main reason I like Y’OUR.  When I was approached about reviewing their skin care line what appealed to me most was that it would be designed specifically for me. And the quiz wasn’t just one or two questions.  I was asked what my main concerns were, did one issue bother me more than others, did I only want vegan ingredients, whether I lived in an area with high levels of pollution, how my skin reacted to the sun and whether some of my skin issues occurred after pregnancy.  Once the survey was complete, a summary of my skin and the list of the specific ingredients that would be included in my products popped up.

It was easy to understand, and I love that they use natural ingredients in the products. I also like that there are only four items – a cleanser, a day cream, a serum and a night cream.  It’s easy to follow and doesn’t require a lot of time. I did learn that the day cream does not have SPF, so I also use a sunscreen. 

A few other things that appealed to me. 

  • Personal interaction – Unlike products you buy in the store, Y’OUR representatives stay in touch to see how the products are working.  Each product lasts for 3 months but if I run out ahead of time, they send gifts to make sure I never run out of product.
  • Cost savings – When I did the math it was much cheaper than what I was paying buying individual products that weren’t custom designed for me.
  • Customer satisfaction – They have a satisfaction guarantee policy where they offer to reformulate the products for free up to 2 times during the first 3 months.  And, before they send out the next set of products, they send an evaluation form to make sure they can make any adjustments necessary.
  • Gentle but effective – The cleanser is safer and more effective than physical exfoliating cleansers since it can penetrate the skin for deeper exfoliation while does not involve actually rubbing the skin. 
  • Quality products – I only have to use a little of each product, they absorb nicely but are thick.

 They also let me know what to expect:

In the first week of using our products, you might find a bit of flaking in the first week of use. Please keep in mind that the flaking isn’t because your skin is dry but the impurities coming out. Our products draw out impurities and congestion from underneath your skin, so if you have  impurities, you will see the impurities coming out.

I wanted to wait a full 30 days before posting this review so I really could tell whether I saw a difference.  The biggest difference is the texture of my skin – it’s definitely softer and plumper.  I also think it looks brighter which was a big concern for me. 

The best thing about Y’OUR is it’s specifically designed for me and addresses all my concerns in just 4 products. 

I would recommend trying out Y’OUR skin care line.  You can take the quiz here to have products designed specifically for your needs.

This summer was the season of freedom for my 16-year-old daughter.  Remember that first summer when you had your driver’s license and some spending money in your pocket, and you could head out to the beach whenever you wanted to?  It was exhilarating.

With her freedom comes mine.  I’ve got less driving around to summer activities and sleepovers. I’m starting to feel the reigns of obligations slip off me and with that I can feel myself ready to start discovering me.  Not the person I was pre-kids – she’s long gone. This new me has a lot more wisdom and confidence.

Here are a few things the new me is excited to do:

The new me is anxious to try new things. I used to be intimidated to try a new class at the gym for fear I’d look like an idiot because I couldn’t keep up. Not anymore.  Now I bravely stand at the front of the class and laugh when I screw up but even more importantly I’m proud that I did it and congratulate myself for the moves I could do.

The new me is ready to have adventures.  I saw a show the other day about these two people touring Thailand and visiting these incredible waterfalls. When you have kids it’s darn near impossible to have trips like that. Disney is the ultimate adventure and while that was fun, I’m ready for the real world not a place that recreates adventures.

The new me is ready for the next big leap in my career.  For years now I’ve made my living blogging and doing TV segments about safety and wellness.  Don’t get me wrong – I love it and will continue to do that. The way my career started was because of the death of my first son.  It drove me to want to help save other kids’ lives. As I’ve gotten older new things drive me.  Listening to women who are scared to leave a relationship or start a new career or struggle with being a caregiver motivate me. I love speaking to these women and offering them support and guidance. I envision a world of confident and happy women and, through retreats and speaking engagements, I want to create that.

The new me is ready to have a few deep friendships.  When we’re in our 30’s and 40’s we’re building a career and/or family that consumes our time. Our friendships tend to be created around the interests of our kids. Some high school and college friendships remain but get-togethers are few and far between and finding current commonalities is tough. For years my girls have been involved in All-Star cheerleading.  For those of you not familiar with this sport, it’s year-round and requires a lot of travel.  When you’re a “cheer mom” that other moms become your friends. But one day your cheer life ends and naturally these friendships fade. But a few transcend the mutual bond of cheer (or whatever activity your child is involved with) and you connect over the big issues. Now I have time for a few friendships that are based on mutual respect, shared beliefs and willingness to talk about the real stuff.  You know the real stuff – our hopes and dreams but also the fears that keep us up at night.

The new me understands that my health is something I can’t take for granted.  When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I worked out to have a hard body and look great.  Now I work out to prevent osteoporosis and keep my heart in good shape.  I used to choose my food based solely on what tasted good.  Now I select food that tastes good and will provide me the nutrients I need to cut cholesterol and provide the right vitamins.  When the kids were younger, I would always  get them to their check-ups but mine would be missed because there wasn’t time.  Now I realize that making the time for health screenings and exercise is what will allow me to live life to the fullest.

As I’m closing in on another birthday I’m loving who I’m becoming and can’t wait for the next chapter. What’s in your next chapter?  Share below as writing it down makes it more real.

First-of-its-Kind Ornament Designed to Effectively Detect Fires Before They Spread

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Safer Alarms™ announced the nationwide launch of the most innovative Christmas tree essential on the market: an ornament that detects potential tree fires. Unlike a basic smoke detector, the Safer Christmas Tree Alarm looks like an ornament, but is designed to detect fire risk at the source. It is compact and hides directly in the tree. Upon detection of a fire the ornament sensor instantly sends a signal to their remote alarm, placed in a safe location.  

Every year U.S. firefighters respond to roughly 200 Christmas tree fires. They are some of the deadliest in the home, resulting in one death per 32 occurrences on average, compared to one death per 143 home fires.

“There is no fire alarm system that alerts faster and detects at closer proximity, all while eliminating an increase in nuisance alarms. Simply put; faster detection is safer detection,” said Marc Toland, Safer Alarms Founder and CEO.

Toland founded Safer Alarms after three girls and their grandparents tragically died in a horrific Christmas morning fire. Toland and his family lived down the street. Toland is now on a personal crusade to raise awareness to fire safety and bring lifesaving products to market.

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/J0GKgfCdk1U

Why It’s Better

Smoke detectors have been around for decades and are in almost every home and office, but their placement, usually in the middle of a ceiling in a hallway, makes them less than ideal.  The reality is, by the time you hear your smoke alarm go off, it may be too late to do anything about it.

How It Works

Safer Alarms transforms the fire safety industry with its temperature heat sensors, placed at the source of common fires.

Patent pending technology recognizes when temperature hits “danger zone” (150 degrees F or higher).

TheChristmas ornament transmits a wireless signal to an alarm unit and the alarm sounds instantly and continuously to alert the consumer to danger even if the ornament sensor is melted. The product is easy to assemble, no tools required.

The Safer Christmas Tree Alarm is available today on Amazon and saferalarmsinc.com with a second line of products launching soon.

About Safer Alarms

Safer Alarms is dedicated to creating products that detect fires straight from the source. Unlike typical fire alarms, Safer Alarms creates niche fire detectors that result in alerting homeowners as soon as danger arises.