Given that full-featured tablets like the iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, LG G Pad, Sony Xperia, and others aren’t cheap, it’s no big surprise that a lot of parents are somewhat reluctant to turn one over to a child. We worry—understandably so—that the cute little kid in the backseat [...]
So you’ve finally met someone special, and it’s time for your first Christmas together. You probably have all of these expectations — his parents house or yours? Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning? — and want everything to be perfect.
Slow down, sister.
The first Christmas with a significant other has to be handled very carefully. Play it too eagerly, which is the mistake most ladies make, and you run the risk of acting like a Bridezilla, but for Christmas. The harder you push, the faster your man will turn into the Grinch, and the sooner your holidays will end in tears as you try to explain to your boyfriend why, exactly, it was so important that you hold hands in matching holiday mittens as the Chamber of Commerce guy threw the switch on your town’s enormous holiday tree.
With that in mind, here are the rules for your all-important first Christmas together.
1. Don’t push the family stuff.
The quickest way to send a guy running in the other direction is to start talking about how your mother always makes pecan pie, and of course he’s going to help your dad chop down the tree, and your sister’s baby is so cute!!!
Honey, it hasn’t been a year yet. Your boyfriend’s still getting used to the idea of dating you. As many dating guides note, you need four full seasons together before you start discussing long-term type arrangements. That includes Christmas with your family. Your boyfriend doesn’t need to be worried about being part of your family yet, so let him be.
2. You are allowed one cute couple gift.
Although you are probably tempted to give your man multiple gifts with secret, significant meanings, like “here’s the rock from when we first walked on the beach together, and here’s a bottle of the wine we drank on our first date,” you can’t go overboard. You are allowed ONE gift that symbolizes your new life as a couple. This year, for example, I’m going to design custom sweatshirts for me and my new squeeze. (Mine has a heart-shaped lock, his has a heart-shaped key.)
Beyond the single cute couple gift, all of your other gifts have to be about your man as an individual. Pay attention to what he does in his spare time, and get him those types of presents.
3. Nothing embarrassing.
No sitting on Santa’s lap together. Let’s just leave it at that.
4. You can decorate the tree with him, but you can’t force the magic.
There’s this thing women do, where they see something magical on TV and assume that they’ll feel similar “magic” feelings when they do it themselves. Like decorating a Christmas tree, when the boy teasingly throws tinsel in your hair and then the two of you laugh and everything goes into soft focus.
Of course, by the time you’re in your 20s or 30s, you’ve decorated a lot of trees. Adding a new boyfriend to the mix doesn’t make it magical, it just makes it a task you are doing together. He is probably less interested in the romantic symbolism of your first Christmas tree together than he is in getting the job done and moving on to something more interesting. Truth be told, it would be better for you as well if you adopted that mindset.
5. Ask him what he wants.
Often, the only way to find out what would make it a merry Christmas for both of you is to ask. Does he want to go skiing, or curl up with Die Hard? You don’t know until you ask. Christmas, like the rest of your relationship, is about finding something that suits both of you, and Die Hard with Christmas cookies may be just the thing.
How about you? Do you have any first Christmas horror stories? Let us know — the funnier the better!
When writer Teresa Ambord’s sister returned to college at 50, the experience was nothing like the first time around. As Ambord details in her article for go60.us, her sister was constantly mistaken for a teacher and found it frustrating to be the one fellow students looked to for all the answers — especially since she felt as lost as her younger classmates. When you’re returning to college in your golden years with new-found knowledge on current technology, some back-to-school challenges can be diminished if not eliminated altogether.
If you don’t know where to begin to find an online college offering the courses you’re interested in, try an online resource such as http://www.collegeonline.org. Just enter the degree you want in the field of your choice along with a subject to further narrow the scope, and these sites will match you up with the online colleges that fit best with your needs. Continuing your education online can be easier and more convenient than heading to campus, but there will still be challenges. The jargon might be new to you. Before you enroll and start filling up your class schedule with online courses, familiarize yourself with online college terms to make the transition smooth.
The ANGEL—not an ethereal, heavenly creature—colleges are talking about can be considered a blessing to nontraditional and conventional students alike. The acronym signifies “A New Global Environment for Learning.” Essentially, it’s the system your college has in place through which you’ll access your online courses. Different colleges use different systems, so the ANGEL system, or portal, you must learn to navigate could go by any name. Education Dive says Blackboard is the most common Learning Management System, but your college may use another system such as Moodle, GoingOn or Sakai.
Forums and Discussion Boards
Online courses rely on virtual means to connect students with the instructor and each other. When you take online classes, your instructor will direct you to the forum or discussion board on your college’s website to participate in dialogue that would normally take place in a classroom. There, you can read other students’ questions and comments, post some of your own and see what the instructor’s responses. Learning the college lingo will certainly help your understanding. They’re typically not real-time, like chat rooms are, so you will have to check back periodically to catch up on the discussion and find answers to questions you’ve asked.
Many of the classes you need for your degree might be online classes, but if some are hybrid courses, be prepared to show your face in class from time to time. Hybrid courses combine the face-to-face interactions of normal classes with the flexibility online courses offer. That means you’ll have to attend a class on-campus from time to time, as well as access your course content online.
Not to be confused with online and hybrid courses, web-assisted courses rely least on the online aspect. Web-assisted courses are characterized by regular classroom activity and lectures, using the university’s web-based system for occasional information such as accessing notes, the syllabus or evaluations.
Developmental classes help you brush up on certain skills. These preparatory courses increase your chances of success in college by developing basic skills you’d like to improve such as grammar, writing or reading.
[amazon asin=0451234197&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest: Gever Tulley, author of of 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.
Topic: Teaching your children about safety by helping them learn to manage risk.
Issues: Exciting ways for your children (and you) to explore the world around them; melting glass, walking a tightrope, tasting electricity, throwing things out of moving cars, deconstructing appliances, and more.
Team Building with Duct Tape + Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time + Dangerous Things to Do with Your Kids
[amazon asin=B0052O55NQ&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Tom Heck, author of Duct Tape Teambuilding Games.
Topic: Fun activities to help your team—and your family—stick together.
Issues: Using team-building games and experiential learning to teach leadership, trust, cooperation, creativity, problem solving, and confidence.
[amazon asin=0062082426&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect.
Topic: Protecting childhood and family relationships in the digital age.
Issues: How technology can put children’s development at risk; how tech is keeping children from forming close interactions with the adults in their life; insights and advice that can help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence when dealing with their kids and technology.
A new study on the dangers of having too good a time was just published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal, the UK’s equivalent to our JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) or New England Journal of Medicine. Laughter and MIRTH (Methodical Investigation of Risibility, Therapeutic and Harmful): narrative synthesis | BMJ.
Scientists have known for a long time that low-income children have smaller brains than their more economically secure peers. And they’ve suspected that limited access to health care is at least partially responsible. But according to new research, the culprit may actually be excess stress that interferes with immune system function, damages cells and DNA, causes inflammation (which, generally speaking, is never a good thing). The results: less white and gray matter and a smaller hippocampus and amygdala, two parts of the brain that are involved with, emotion, learning, and memory.
Raw milk and milk products from cows, goats, and sheep can transmit life-threatening bacterial infections, yet sales are still legal in at least 30 states. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S.
The policy statement, “Consumption of Raw or Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children,” published in the January 2014 Pediatrics (released online Dec. 16), reviews evidence of the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products in the U.S., especially among pregnant women, infants, and children.
“Given the progress we have made in prevention, there is no reason to risk consuming raw milk in this day and age,” said Jatinder Bhatia, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Consumption of raw milk products is especially risky for pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly, and the evidence overwhelmingly establishes the benefits of pasteurization on food safety.”
Efforts to limit the sale of raw milk products have been opposed by people who claim there are health benefits from natural factors in milk that are inactivated by pasteurization. However, the benefits of these natural elements have not been clearly demonstrated in scientific research. Numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, without the risk of deadly infections including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Brucella and E. coli.
“Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood-borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, the lead author of the policy statement. “Before pasteurization of milk began in the United States in the 1920s, consumption of raw dairy products accounted for a significant proportion of foodborne illnesses among Americans, and resulted in hundreds of outbreaks of tuberculosis and other serious infections.”
Today, an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of all dairy products consumed in the U.S. are not pasteurized. From 1998 to 2009, consumption of raw milk products in the U.S. resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, 93 illness outbreaks, and two deaths. The risks involved with infections due to consuming raw milk are particularly high for pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as for young children.
“Raw milk poses a significant health risk, since the process of obtaining fresh milk from cows and goats can be fraught with risks of contamination both while milking the animals and during storage,” said Mary Glodé, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Pasteurized milk and milk products are extraordinarily healthy, nutritious and safe for children. We are fortunate to have pasteurized products easily available for our entire population.”
The AAP supports the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children. The AAP also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products in the U.S., including certain raw milk cheeses. Pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for more restrictive laws regarding the sale and distribution of raw milk and raw dairy products.
You’ve committed to adopting a child. You’ve gone through weeks or months of invasive application and home study processes. You’ve been approved, and you’re ready. And now… you wait. It commonly takes about one year to find a match with a child—with adoption placement times usually ranging from six to 18 months—according to the Independent Adoption Center. To keep the focus on anticipation and hope during this trying time, concentrate on preparing to be a parent.
1. Join Support Groups
Talking with other families who are adopting helps you, and others, cope with the waiting process. It’s also an appropriate time to work out a plan of action with others who are going through the same adoption placement process. The database of support groups maintained by Adoptive Families Magazine can help you find groups in your area, or go online to find forums such as DailyStrength.org. If one support group isn’t giving you the results that you expect, try another one and maintain a positive attitude.
2. Find A Doctor
One of the most important first steps to take is to find a health professional to care for your adopted child. If you are a member of an adoption support group, ask other parents what doctor they use. A trustworthy search engine such as the one powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org can provide the names of qualified pediatricians. Conduct interviews and talk in person with several physicians to ensure the one you choose will work well with your family’s values and healthcare philosophies.
3. Prepare Your Will
With the addition of a new family member, it is time to consider what will happen to your assets should an unfortunate event occur. You especially need to consider who would take custody of your child should an event like this take place. Consult with a lawyer and make sure that you cover all your bases. Be careful when divulging sensitive information, and consider choosing a company to help provide you with identity theft protection.
4. Inform your Employer
Talk with your boss and make sure he or she knows that you are expecting to add a new member to your family. Make sure that you ask for time off if necessary. Be proactive and let your boss know as soon as possible—you’ll want to be able to focus on your family when the time comes.
5. Get Your Home Child-Ready
Oftentimes, a childless home will not be a suitable place for a young one. You need to ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent accidents. While you’re waiting for the adoption placement, childproof anything that could cause harm. Reading design publications and decorating your child’s room appropriately can help you keep a positive mindset and focus on the excitement that comes with the introduction of a child to your family. Collections such as HGTV’s nursery photo and video galleries are excellent sources for inspiration.
6. Get Insurance
Call your insurance provider and make sure to include your child on your current insurance policy. Consider purchasing life insurance from a trusted provider, such as Met Life, so that your child will be provided for in case something happens. Keep copies of all these documents and store them in a safe place.