Happy Halloween! Share your snapshots!

villar collageHappy Halloween, Mamas!!

Hope you have a great time today with your kids. We’d LOVE it if you’d share a few of your Halloween snapshots with us so we can show them off here on nwaMotherlode.com. We’ve already begun to receive a few snapshots of cute kids in costume, as you see here. (Thanks to Kathleen and Kathy for sharing these awesome pics!)

Send your snapshots to gwen@nwaMotherlode.com or share them on the nwaMotherlode Facebook page by clicking HERE.

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The Vampire and Vampire Hunter are ready to go!

Bricks 4 Kidz has moved to Village on the Creeks!

bricks ad updadedBricks 4 Kidz has officially moved to Village on the Creeks, Suite 4, in Rogers.

Owner and mom of 4, Shaista Sandhu, has some great Bricks 4 Kidz programming scheduled for November.

There will be a Kidz Night Out on Nov. 15 and there will also be activities during the week of Thanksgiving when the kids are out of school. And on the day after Thanksgiving, when stores have all those sales? Bricks 4 Kidz has a Drop-In Day Camp for kids from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Black Friday so parents can go shopping! What a great idea.

Click here to see more about these and other upcoming events.

Bricks 4 Kidz classes provide an awesome atmosphere for children to learn, build and play with LEGO® bricks. Programs are built around our proprietary model plans, designed by engineers and architects, with exciting themes such as space, construction, and amusement parks. The specially designed project kits and theme-based models provide the building blocks for the Bricks 4 Kidz approach to educational play. Bricks 4 Kidz instructors believe that kids learn best through activities that engage their curiosity and creativity.

Bricks 4 Kids serves students from all over Northwest Arkansas and offers activities for children 3-13+. They have Mommy and Me classes, Year Round Camps, Daycare Trips and Saturday classes.

Oh, and they also host Lego birthday parties! How much fun would your kid have with that? Click here for more info.

bricks 4 kidz party

Call Shaista at 479-466-9838 or click here to visit the local Bricks 4 Kidz website.

Healthy Mama: Identifying that scary newborn rash

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By Dr. Matthew Steed, Mercy family practice doctor and obstetrician (and father of two)

It’s nearly Halloween and what’s scarier than a newborn with a rash?

Although most newborn rashes are unsightly, they are self limiting, and do not require any test to diagnose.

Seborrheic Dermatitis “cradle cap”, Cutis Marmorata “cold rash” and Transient Neonatal Pustular Melanonsis are all common rashes, but the “flea-bitten” rash, “newborn acne”, milia and “newborn heat rash” are the ones I am most frequently asked about.

Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum is commonly called the “flea-bitten” rash. Affecting 40-70 percent of newborns it is the most common newborn rash. You may have seen  a newborn with the blotchy red lesions with a raised nodule in the center and thought “I wonder what bit that baby?” The lesions appear on the face, trunk, arms and legs. Like many newborn rashes the cause is unknown, no treatment is needed and should resolve in about a week. Just in time for Holiday Pictures!

Acne Neonatorum occurs in 20 percent of newborns and is most frequently seen on the forehead, nose and cheeks. Maternal and newborn hormones stimulate glands in the skin resulting in inflammatory papules and pustules which are the key feature of “newborn acne.”  Treatment is seldom needed but in severe cases a healthcare provider might use a benzoyl peroxide lotion or a steroid cream.  Acne Neonatorum will resolve without scarring but can last for months. Go ahead and get the pictures you can always have them photo-shopped. 

Milia (sometimes called “milk bumps”) is almost a cute rash.  1-2 mm pearly white papules most commonly found on the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin.  It is the rash most people think of when someone says “newborn rash.”  Milia is caused by retained keratin, usually resolves in the first month of life and without scarring or treatment. 

Miliaria rubra or newborn “heat rash” like Milia is caused by immature skin structures but unlike Milia, Miliaria rubra is not so cute.  Miliaria occurs on the covered portions of the skin due to overheating.  The obstructed sweat glands cause red raised papules.  The treatment involves avoiding overheating, removal of excess clothing, and cooling baths.  There are other forms of Miliaria but the key is they usually occur on covered portions of the skin as a result of overheating.

It is important to note that although there are many self-limiting, non-harmful newborn rashes, a rash could be a sign of a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

If your newborn is not feeding well, fussy or showing other sings of newborn stress please make an appointment with your medical provider. I would rather see 100 babies with a self-limiting rash than miss a chance to diagnose an infection or other illness. 

Ready for a quiz? Name that rash:

healthy mama collage, numbersHow did you do? Here are the answers: 1. ETN (“flea-bitten” rash) 2. Acne 3. Milia 4. Miliaria

Dr. Steed’s number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

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NWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Empty Nexter: Two Tips for Preventing Fatigue and Performing Better

By Carrie Perrien Smith

The older I get, the more I need to know about how to make my body perform well. My peak at forty-eight isn’t what it was at twenty-eight. I am proud to say that I’m in better physical condition today than I was then. I can thank a healthy diet, cardio exercise, and weight training for that.

The bigger challenge now is managing my endurance. I work hard and often long hours. I also perform many of my home maintenance activities and sing in a band. It requires a lot of me physically, and I need my body to perform like that of an athlete.

I’ve struggled with fatigue for over a decade. I spent most of the last thirty years in deadline-driven career roles. I started speaking to audiences in 2001 and joined a rock band in 2011. All those activities expose my body to the stress of “fight or flight.” In fact, it went so far to over-exert my adrenal glands.

Adrenal fatigue is a slippery slope, and you don’t realize you have it until you hit the bottom. It takes at least six months to rebuild your endurance after that. I’ve learned to better pace myself and to recognize the signs. Click here to read more about the signs.

Spending four hours working in the yard, managing an event, or singing on stage (which includes helping with equipment setup and teardown) may not look like running a race, but my body reacts as if I am. And once the activity is over, my body shuts down the adrenalin release. I’ve come to recognize the adrenalin hangover I get the next day. I just don’t have time to waste feeling exhausted. With some planning, I can reduce feeling like a mental and physical zero for the twelve hours following the physically or mentally stressing activity.

I’ve borrowed two practices from athletes that help minimize the adrenalin hangover — carb-loading and hydrating properly with water AND electrolytes. Both also stock me with the energy I need to perform at my best longer.

Carb-Loading

Carbohydrate-loading is used by athletes to prepare for physical activity that will last ninety minutes or more (like a marathon or a football game). It increases the amount of fuel stored in your muscles. Basically, the practice involves eating meals of fifty to seventy percent complex carbohydrates in the twelve hours or more before extended exertion. Some athletes even start a week ahead. Click here for a more in-depth explanation of the process.

If I’m planning a day of landscaping work, I start the morning with a large bowl of oatmeal and an apple.

If I’m singing in the band, my meal will be a large serving of brown rice and steamed or sautéed vegetables at least five hours before I will be singing.

Digestion can use up to sixty percent of a body’s energy resources. I choose something quick to digest so I have more energy to devote to performing. You’ll find that most athletes don’t eat much in the hours before their workout for the same reason.

Hydrating with Water PLUS Electrolytes

On the day I plan to work or volunteer outside in the heat or will sing with the band, I drink an electrolyte-rich beverage to replenish my body in advance or when I stop for a break.

Hydration is important to our brain function as well as our physical functions. There are a lot of different opinions about how much water we should drink. We can’t go wrong with the rule of sixty-four ounces of water a day. If you are working outside in the heat, you’ll want to drink more.

waterI follow the rule of drinking eight ounces for every thirty minutes I spend in the heat. When I’m singing or speaking, I follow that same rule when I perform in an outdoor venue. Even in a cool, indoor venue, I require more water to stay hydrated. I drink at least eight ounces an hour.

It isn’t enough to drink water. We also need to replenish crucial electrolytes (potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and sodium) that we lose through sweating and urination. These minerals regulate nerve and muscle function, the body’s blood pressure and pH, rebuild damaged tissue, and maintain the body’s acid-base and fluid balance.

You probably recognize Gatorade as a popular electrolyte-replenishing beverage. I’ve never been a big artificial drink consumer so I turned to natural alternatives. You can Google “natural electrolyte drinks” and find lots of easy and tasty recipes.

I like lemons, and they are a great source of electrolytes. My preferred drink is the juice of a lemon in a cup of hot water sweetened with honey. My other favorite is lemonade made with the juice of a lemon, sprinkled with a dash of cayenne pepper and salt, sweetened with maple syrup, and stirred into ice and water.

You can also replenish electrolytes through the food you eat. You’ll find sodium and chloride in foods like table salt, olives, sauerkraut, and bacon. Spinach, bananas, and sweet potatoes are rich in potassium. Leafy green vegetables, cereal, beans, and tomatoes are a great source for magnesium. Calcium is found in milk, yogurt, and eggs.

It is important to note that alcohol consumption dehydrates you. Alcohol increases urine output which depletes your stores. I limit or avoid alcohol when I’m working hard or performing. If I do drink alcohol, I match each drink with a glass of water or green tea. And incidentally, if you want to avoid a hangover after an evening of overindulgence, drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you drink. The major cause of a morning-after hangover is dehydration.

Preparation is the Key to Prevention

Recognizing that ordinary activities were surprisingly physically demanding was the first step in preventing my mental and physical fatigue.

Carb-loading and proper hydration makes a huge difference in how I feel in the twelve hours after the exertion is over. I am still tired but I’m not a steaming pile of uselessness when I prepare in advance.

It’s been a long journey of discovery. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that preparation goes a long way to prevention.

Carrie Perrien Smith-51-Twitter-SquareCarrie Perrien Smith is mama to Darcie and a pack of black dogs (Jazmin and Midgieboy — in pack order), grandma to Robert, wife to world-traveler and Walmart-blue-bleeding Tom, daughter to Wayne and Phyllis, speaker bureau and publishing company owner, Business: Engaged! small business radio show host, community activist, singer in a party band called Paper Jam, and home improvement junkie. Follow her on Twitter @soarwitheagles or contact her at carrie@soarhigher.com.

Beauty Buzz: Low-key looks for mama on Halloween

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor and mama of 3

I’ve never been a big Halloween fan and put minimal effort into past costume attempts, the most recent being at least ten years ago. But, now that I’m responsible for planning my kids’ costumes, I find myself wanting to join in the fun.

Does that mean I’m going to go all Kiss and don full face paint? Uh, no. But these Halloween-inspired beauty tips are just the right amount of whimsy for a mom who still has a PTA meeting or a 9-5 to attend.

halloween eyesThis thought process was kick started when I saw this stunning eye makeup tutorial (above) from thebeautydepartment.com. (Click here to see the entire tutorial.) I love using different colored eyeliners and already have a purple and the necessary shades of shadow in my random sample/freebie stash.

I am a big fan of NYC or Rimmel makeup for these one-time-use makeup needs and you may even discover a perfect shade that you wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

If you are a fan of nail art, a candy corn inspired manicure is a yummy way to show some spirit. The tutorial for this manicure (below) was found on Pinterest of course, and made this seem doable, or even easy to an experienced nail artist. (Click here to see the tutorial over at the original source, thebeautydepartment.)

Halloween nails cropped

Still, seems daunting? Try alternating solid color nails for a similar feel.

If a true costume look is what you need, never underestimate a washable marker. I used this last year when my 3 year old daughter decided she wanted to be daddy for her Halloween party at school. A markered-on goatee and some of her brother’s razorback gear and she was ready to go.

The good news: when she decided to be a cat that night, all I needed was a diaper wipe and a black marker and, bam, instant kitty. It was so much easier to both apply and clean off than face paint, it was a perfect choice for a finicky preschooler.

Now, check out some of the many and varied events going on in NWA to show off your fab look and have a Spook-tacular Halloween! Sorry, was my lame pun too scary for you?

Andi Andi loves playing with makeup and answering questions about makeup. If you have a question for her, email it to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Giveaway: Girls Night Out at the NWA Boutique Show!

nwaboutique bigWe had so much fun with last week’s giveaway that we are doing one more to celebrate the NWA Boutique Show which is coming up fast on Nov. 8-9!

This week’s FIVE winners (and the friend they invite to come along!) will be headed to the fabulous Boutique Show Girls Night Out, benefiting JOYN!

Each of the 5 ticket bundles includes:

  • Two Girls Night Out passes ($20 value)
  • 5 general admission tickets ($15 value)
  • 1 merchant gift certificate to be used at the show

That’s a $50 value for each bundle! (And if you don’t want to take a chance with this giveaway, tickets can be bought online in advance at www.nwaboutiqueshow.com.)

We love that the GNO benefits JOYN, which takes artisans living in poverty and crashes them together with the thriving fashion world. Each step of the process is done by hand: creating more jobs, creating more joy and connecting more artisans with people who love hand-made things.

Since the Girls Night will focus on chevron, below are shots from five different merchants revolving around that theme.

Each of the five winners will receive a gift certificate from one of the below vendors (in order): Engravings Unlimited, The Global Shoppe (featuring JOYN products and more), Meagan Lee Designs, From Me 2 You Creations and Spirit Girl Boutique.

boutique Engravingsunlimited.trivetsboutique TheGlobalShoppe.emeraldboutique meaganlee.chevronboutique fromme2youcreationsboutique Wendy Taylor3

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win one of these great bundles, just click on the word “comment” below and tell us about one of the best gifts you ever received. Was it a special trip, a sentimental piece of jewelry, something monogrammed? We can’t wait to hear about it!

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING: If you want to tilt the odds in your favor, share this giveaway with friends and family! Just be sure to CC us on the email so we’ll be able to give you “credit”. You’ll receive an extra chance of winning for each person you tell. CC us at: giveaways{at}nwamotherlode{dot}com.

Remember, we’ll have a booth at the Boutique Show all weekend Nov. 8-9 and we can’t wait to see all of you there! Be sure to sign up for our “cool” giveaway when you stop by our booth. HINT: Metro Appliances & More is involved! Good luck winning one of these 5 bundles! Check your email on Friday because that’s when we’ll choose five winners!

Christmas Countdown: Practical but fun gift idea for kids

christmas countdownI personally count it as a little “mama victory” when I’m able to come up with a Christmas gift for my kids that is both fun for them and practical enough that they’ll use it pinnacle hills promenade logoeveryday.

The gift idea we posted today in the Holiday Gift Guide meets that criteria, so check it out by clicking HERE.

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Halloween week!

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SHARE YOUR SNAPSHOTS: We’d love to see snapshots of your kids in their Halloween costumes this week. We’ll put together a fun slideshow of photos, so email us a few shots! Send pics to gwen@nwaMotherlode.com. 

Or you can click HERE to share your Halloween snapshots on the nwaMotherlode Facebook page.

There are only a few more days until little monsters, ghosts and goblins start roaming the streets. So we’re celebrating all things Halloween this week during our Mamas on Magic 107.9 segments. Hear them at 7:45 a.m. each weekday morning on Magic 107.9.

If you miss any of this week’s Halloween radio segments, click the audio bars below to hear them online.

Click the LEFT side of the audio bar below to hear MONDAY’s segment.

Click the LEFT side of the audio bar below to hear TUESDAY’s segment.

Click the LEFT side of the audio bar below to hear WEDNESDAY’s segment.

Click the LEFT side of the audio bar below to hear THURSDAY’s segment.

Click the LEFT side of the audio bar below to hear FRIDAY’s segment.

Kid-friendly Halloween Movies

We found a top 10 list of “not-so-scary” movies for kids on the FamilyEducation.com website. Here are a few that were listed:

Monsters Inc. (Rated G)

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (Rated G)

The Haunted Mansion (Rated PG)

Wallace & Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Rated G)

Hocus Pocus (Rated PG)

The Worst Witch (Rated G)

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (Rated G)

Click HERE to go to the Family Education website and see the others on the list.

Devotion in Motion: Dissecting the Desiderata, part 2

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Editor’s note: The following is part of a series of posts on the “Desiderata,” (which is Latin for “the things to be desired,”) The following two lines are taken from the poem.

Editor’s note: This column follows last week’s post about the Desiderata (Latin for “the things to be desired.”) The following two lines are taken from this beautiful poem. – See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/nwacontent/devotion-in-motion#sthash.3ep8F6p9.dpuf

“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.”

If you’ve got a household repair you need to do quickly, it’s awfully nice to have one of those cheap screwdriver sets. You know the set I’m talking about — it comes in a plastic box and has a handle with a bunch of interchangeable fittings. I wouldn’t want to put together a jungle gym with one, but for little jobs it can’t be beat. It’s nice to have one screwdriverhandle that works in so many situations.

My teachers have given me words of advice that are just like that screwdriver handle. A high school English teacher told me something I’ve found to be fascinating because it’s almost always true: “If you look, you can always find one more of anything.” Try this one out the next time you need one more hanger, one more Band-aid, or one more dime. You can’t always find two, but you can almost always find one more of anything.

My New Testament Theology professor, Bro. Robert H. Smith, gave me a word of advice that has guided my life ever since I heard it. He said, “John, don’t ever ‘burn a bridge behind you’ on purpose. You’ll do enough of that already on accident.” Whenever I’ve left a job or a situation, I’ve tried to remember what he told me. And as a result, I’ve been able to return again to previous employers, duties, and settings. It’s wonderful to cross back over a bridge you had the foresight not to burn.

In every circumstance in life, there are bound to be misunderstandings, friction, and aggravations. On “your way out,” it’s tempting to comment on injustices, explain the moral correctness of your actions, or take a parting shot at settling the score. But when you do that you always wind up looking like a small, petty person.

When my boys were tiny, Spencer was pestering Seth at the supper table. I told him, “Stop it, Mr. Troublemaker.” Spencer’s reply to me was both humorous and illuminating:  “Okay, Mr. Peacemaker.”

I know my son was just making a joke, but I hope I can always find real ways to be a peacemaker in this broken world. The Bible tell us that “peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18) That’s the reward for building bridges — instead of burning them behind you.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Autumn is in the air.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: Attached at the hip

rockwoodfiles2-205x300When my alarm went off this morning, I groaned, rolled over and reached under my pillow to give it a good shake to shut it up.

My alarm clock is on my smartphone, you see, and when you shake the phone, the alarm is silenced into five more minutes of precious snooze time. After a couple more snoozes and shakes, I finally sat up on the side of the bed and fished the phone out from under the pillow so I could find out how well I’d slept.

That’s when it hit me – just how attached I’ve become to a piece of technology that didn’t even exist seven years ago. I’m sleeping with it, for Pete’s sake!

sleep cycle appWe all know smartphones are, first and foremost, phones. But lately phone calls seem secondary to all the other ways I use this little technological buddy. Not only does mine wake me up, a sleep app called Sleep Cycle also measures my movements during the night and tells me how long and how soundly I slept. You see what I mean? I don’t even know if I slept well or not unless I check with the phone first.

weather channelAfter noting my sleep quality percentage, I trudged off to the bathroom, checking the Weather Channel app along the way. I needed to know if the morning temperature required a t-shirt or a sweatshirt for dropping the kids off at school. In the olden days (less than a decade ago) I’d just stick my head out the door and see how it felt. Now the phone tells me if I need a sweater.

While the kids ate breakfast, I checked the phone again because there’s a link to the school’s website where the daily lunch menu is posted. “The cafeteria is serving hamburgers today. So do you want to eat that or do you want to take a lunchbox?” I asked the kids.

calengoo appAfter school drop-off, I checked the phone again because the calendar app knows my schedule better than I do. It even has a built-in “nag” feature that texts me 15 minutes before my appointments so I won’t forget. If I ever lose my calendar app, you’ll find me wandering the streets in a daze wondering when and where to go.

During lunch, I used the phone to check the calorie count of a slice of pizza (and then immediately wished I hadn’t) and also figured the waiter’s tip on the phone’s ccandy crush appalculator. Later I read the newspaper on my phone and took a picture of Kate’s new smile, minus her two front teeth which were recently claimed by the Tooth Fairy.

I used the map app to find an office building across town. Then I texted Tom to ask him to pick up bread on his way home from work. And yes, if you must know, I crushed some candy during a few minutes of down time. Even a busy mom needs a few mindless arcade game apps now and then.

kindle-app1Tonight I’ll snuggle up with a good electronic book dimly lit on the smartphone’s screen. And when my eyes get heavy, I’ll use the white noise machine app to send gentle waves crashing into my bedroom. After one more click on the alarm clock app, I’m off to dreamland once again while my phone sleeps next to me, counting digital sheep.

How is it possible that a pocket-sized gadget could be a phone, alarm clock, weatherman, computer, secretary, camera, calculator, roadmap, recipe book, newspaper, library, video arcade and white noise machine? And more importantly, how in the world did I ever get along without it?
gwen rockwood

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

See Peter Pan this weekend at Walton Arts Center!

peter pan1Happy Friday, mamas!

The weather will be beautiful this weekend and there’s no Razorback game in town (or on television) so this is the perfect time to round up the kids and head to the Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

There will be four performances of the classic story Peter Pan, a beautiful production that will whisk you away to Neverland. This show is produced by Trike Theatre and directed by Jason Suel. And you just might recognize some of the actors and actresses in this show, since the cast is made up of local kids. (My family is going to cheer on our neighbor, Evan Levine, who is part of the show. Break a leg, Evan!)

Here’s a list of the show times this weekend:

  • Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2 p.m. and at 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 2 p.m. and at 5 p.m.

Tickets only cost $8 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. Call 479-443-5600 to order tickets!

Click HERE for more info on the show.

Click here to get more info about having your child participate in Trike Theatre.

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Inside His Head: How can I help my angry husband?

insidehishead, 500

Dear Inside His Head,

My husband is constantly in a bad mood and I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I have tried to give him more attention and to cheer him up, but it just seems to irritate him even more. Any advice for how to help him? Should I try to dig and find out what could be bothering him or just give him space?

greg1.thumbnailGRAY: We husbands can be cranky at times. No denying that. And trying to cheer us up can turn our anger on you. Don’t take it personally, we’re just mad. And please, whatever you do don’t point out that we’re being cranky. Telling someone they’re grumpy never made any frown turn upside down.

Let him know you recognize he’s not angry at you but you want to understand what’s really fouling his mood. We’re not always keen on admitting we have problems – especially ones we’re having trouble figuring out – so the typical answer is “nothing’s wrong.” And if he doesn’t want to talk then badgering him about it can really make him blow his top.

At a point when he’s somewhat calm, ask what you can do to make him feel better.

Just trying to cheer him up dances around the issue. Let him know you’re in his corner and willing to help him help himself.

Maybe he wants some time alone. Maybe he needs a fishing trip with an old friend. Maybe he needs a punching bag to work it out of his system. Throw out some options. He might even start opening up a bit, but don’t hold your breath.

Remember that anger begets anger. If you find yourself getting angry then the two of you will be headed for an argument, not a solution. Don’t let it get under your skin, difficult as that may be. And if he should start talking don’t laugh. Seriously, sometimes the stuff that can trigger us is small potatoes. Keep a straight face and treat it as seriously as he does.

john.thumbnailMAVERICK: I’m assuming this constant bad mood is atypical and that he’s generally a fella who isn’t always in a foul humor.

Before you start pestering him, stop and think and see if there’s some sort of trigger that sets him off or if there’s some issue at work, or at home that could be bothering him. Often we can be oblivious to our spouse’s stress so simply think about it for a bit and try to pinpoint what it is.

Speaking from my own experience, if I’m in an extended bad mood it’s likely a work or financial concern that making me a jerk to be around.

If that’s what you suspect after you do some thinking, see if you can get him to open up to you. Don’t spring it on him right before bed or when he’s distracted like watching TV.

If you bide your time you’ll find a good chance to ask him what’s bothering him and ask a simple open ended question like “You seem a little stressed, how’s work?” or “I notice when we talk about money it makes you angry, is there something I need to know?” This gives him an opening to talk about what could be bugging him. Don’t go right at him with questions like “Are we broke?” or “Have you screwed up at work?”

If your  husband was once an active guy suggest he get some exercise or spend some time outdoors, and then cut him the slack to actually hit the gym or go fishing without guilt. That can do wonders for a guy’s attitude.

If the bad mood continues and he starts to isolate himself from things he used to really enjoy, I’d consider talking to him about seeing his doctor. Make and appointment for him if need be and tell him he needs to talk to his doc about how he’s feeling physically and mentally. He could be suffering from depression.

Be open and be willing to listen and don’t be quick to judge. It’s what you’d expect if roles were reversed. Just remember while he does need to talk about it with you, he’ll do it in his own time and trying to rush the process will be counterproductive.

Do you have a question for the guys? Email it to us at mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com. We, of course, will not publish your name.

5 Minutes with a Mom: Angela Taylor Farmer

Angela Farmer Superheroes

Name: Angela Taylor Farmer

Daughter’s name and age? Turner Renee, 4 years old (why do they grow so fast?)

What’s something funny she did recently? If you get a chance to meet her, introduce yourself. She’s a little comedian.

Turner: Mommy….mommy….mommy….

Me: Turner, What’s wrong?

Turner: Mommy, my butt is itching. I need your help so I brought these.

Me: Turner! Where did you find scissors?

Turner: I saw you hide them. Can you cut out my tag? My butt is itchy.

Me: Lord help me!

By the way, this was three in the morning!!

I’m not sure where she comes up with some of the stuff she says. I love her innocence and imagination. She’s a constant reminder that life is fun and don’t take everything so seriously.

 How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here? We moved to Springdale in May of 2010 for my job. It was a big step for us because Turner was not even a year old and our  family is in Texas. Looking back, we made the best decision making Arkansas our new home.

How did you meet your husband? I met him while I was interning at a TV station. We were both in college.  He was just 18, I was 20. I loved his care-free personality. We became instant friends, started dating five years and here we are.

I always knew we’d marry, but it took many years for us to find our way back together. He moved to Chicago for work, I went to New Mexico for graduate school.

I loved to visit him, but the winter was way too cold for me. When I moved back to Texas,  I called him up one day and told him to move home or I wanted to break things off. Believe it or not, he came home a month later with a ring and a new job! Here we are 7 1/2 years of marriage later.

Tell us about your fabulous job in television: I do have a pretty cool gig, except when the weather gets nasty. I could use far less tornadoes and winter storms.

This year has been extra fun for me. 40/29 sent me to New York City for a few days to interview Dr. Oz and tour the city, plus we won an EMMY for best newscast. How cool is that?  I often look back and wonder how in the world I got here. I never thought there would be a perfect job for someone who always got in trouble for talking too much in class, reading books instead of listening to the teacher or writing notes to friends instead of taking notes. Here I am now doing all the things I was told not to.

Where do you like to hang out with your family in NWA? We are all over the place. We love to hike, bike, swim—you name it! Razorback soccer is our absolute favorite to watch.

Also, Turner loves being outside and we live in an awesome neighborhood so it’s really common to see us in the cul-da-sac with all the neighbors just hanging out.

Do you have any fun hobbies? I’ve played soccer my entire life, so I’ll still get out and kick the ball around from time to time. I also love to read and not just a teleprompter. I’m a sucker for a good love story.

What’s playing on your iPod right now? Luke Bryan (for obvious reasons), Train, and Bowling for Soup (it’s the most obnoxious, upbeat music that is perfect for running).

What’s been the most unexpected thing about motherhood for you? Justin and I are so blessed to have Turner. She was (and still is) very easy going, loving, and kind-hearted. I was sick during her pregnancy, but otherwise everything was smooth sailing. So when we decided we were ready for number two, we imagined it would be just as easy, but it wasn’t.

February 2, 2012, we lost our second little girl to a rare anomaly. Call me naive, but I never imagined we could lose a child. After our loss, we became part of support groups. It was there I discovered so many women struggling with losses, some miscarrying time after time and never getting to hold a baby of their own. Our loss changed us in so many ways. It wasn’t until recently did I finally feel like my heart was starting to heal. It’s changed our family in so many ways, but we are stronger than ever. I used the superhero picture for this article because it reminds me of the strength we needed to get through the past year and a half.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? No judging, ok?

During my freshman of college, for one week I dyed my hair black. Why? I have no idea. It looked terrible.

 If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be? Send me to a beach! I don’t care where it is, just give me sun and sand.

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? A second language. I actually made that my goal this summer, but failed miserably. Maybe next summer…

What are three things you always have with you? Cell phone, gum and lip gloss. If I could carry wine around, I would!

What would a dream day look like? I don’t get much sleep. My hours are crazy. I’m a full-time mom, anchor, wife, friend–as most of us are! I’ll take one day where I can sleep with no interruptions! That would be a dream come true.

Life with Ladybug: Have you taken the peanut butter test yet?

By Shannon Magsam, Ladybug’s mama

It was an innocent email, but just reading it sent my heart racing.

peanut butterIt said: Have you taken the peanut butter test yet?

And then my friend linked to a study that said people who have early onset Alzheimer’s can’t smell peanut butter from their left nostril.

Since several of my relatives have the disease, and since I can’t remember CRAP lately, I have been a little freaked out that something could be wrong.

After reading the post, I worked up my courage to go to the kitchen cabinet and pull out a jar of Peter Pan.

I scooped some peanut butter onto a spoon and plugged my left nostril. I could smell that, definitely.

Then I plugged my right nostril and sniffed.

Nothing.

Couldn’t smell a thing.

I lifted the spoon closer and sniffed even harder, thinking maybe now could catch a whiff.

That’s when I realized that chunky peanut butter was not a good choice for this experiment.

Because that’s when a few peanut butter chunks flew up off the spoon and into my nose.

Cue coughing fit.

Next, I switched to the smooth peanut butter. I just unscrewed the top and stuck my nose straight into the jar. Still nothing out of my left nostril. I rechecked the email to make sure it was the LEFT NOSTRIL. Yep.

My heart really started to pound. I was filled with dread. You know how people say their blood turned to ice? Yeah.

I called my friend who sent the email and admitted that I was super freaked out and that I could NOT smell peanut butter out of my left nostril, only my right, and that I probably needed to go to the doctor ASAP to discuss my potential Alzheimer’s.

That’s when my friend asked if I could smell ANYTHING from my left nostril. Well, I admitted, I hadn’t thought of that. A glimmer of hope!

I then went on a smelling spree around the house. I sniffed perfume, my Scentsy candle, some leftover tuna. I couldn’t smell any of that – through my left nostril.

I felt limp with relief, realizing it was probably just allergies and it wasn’t just peanut butter that I couldn’t smell.

I still don’t feel like I’m out of the woods yet. My aunt has Alzheimer’s, my uncle who just passed away most likely had it, and I suspect there’s more where that came from.

I won’t live in fear of it, but I will pay attention to the signs just in case. I’ve instructed my husband, family and friends to let me know if they notice I repeat my stories or seem to not remember obvious things.

And I’m sure that in addition to stopping to smell the roses, I will occasionally stop to smell the CREAMY peanut butter.

If I can remember.

blue dress headshot SMALLShannon Magsam is married to a newspaperman and the love of her life, mama to a tweeny bopper and co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com.

Christmas Countdown! Gift idea for guys

giftguide-adThe new Holiday Gift Guide is filling up with lots of gift ideas you can find here in Northwest Arkansas.

pinnacle hills promenade logoWe all know how tough it can be to find good gifts for guys, whether it’s your husband, brother, dad, uncle, etc. But the gift idea we posted today is perfect for any guy who likes to lounge around the house from time to time, filling his belly with Christmas cookies. (And we think that includes just about every guy we’ve ever met. :-) )

Click HERE to see this gift idea (found at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade) and check out all the other gift ideas “for him,” “for her,” and “for kids.”

Happy holiday shopping, mamas!

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