Music Fest Battles Heroin

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My fiancé Nick lost his nephew Nicholas in August, 2013 to heroin (read about it here). I lost him too. I didn’t get the chance to know Nicholas for a very long time but I loved him very much. He was such an awesome guy. He had just gotten out of rehab when I met him. He wanted to stay clean. He wanted to make his family proud. But heroin is such a powerful drug. It eventually took him from us.

I used to say Nicholas passed away from an accidental heroin overdose. But I have come to realize that Nicholas died from heroin PERIOD. Might sound like I’m splitting hairs but I’ll explain. If you use heroin, it will kill you. It will start by killing your ambition and personality. Instead of focusing on the important things in life like taking care of your family, keeping a job or maintaining your health, you’re priority becomes “how will I get my next fix.” Heroin is cheap and easy to get but once you lose your job because of it, it’s not that easy to pay for. You’ll start doing things you never thought you were capable of – stealing from your friends and family to pay for heroin. Now you have lost your job, your personality and your dignity. Many addicts lose their home because the family can’t allow them to stay.

Heroin took Nicholas from us piece by piece over time. The family got most of him back after rehab but one bad night led to a relapse, which took him from us forever. The Specht/Stegner/Layman/Schell/Holt families created WWW.NKYHatesHeroin.Com because we don’t want this to happen to your family. We want to raise awareness, work on prevention and support the families of addicts, as well as the addicts in recovery.

As part of that effort, NKY Hates Heroin, six venues in Newport, Kentucky and 14 local bands have partnered up to fight the heroin epidemic in Northern Kentucky on Saturday, April 12 starting at 6 p.m. with a music festival. The event cost $10, which will get patrons in at all six venues. Raffle tickets for a split the pot and WWW.NKYHatesHeroin.Com. T-shirts will also be sold.

The lineup:

York Street Cafe The Chuck Land Band, Grand Oversoul, Honey And Houston, The Core and Eva Ross

Little Nashville Marty Connor Band and The Carter New Band

Sis’ Gary Devoto & Dave Webster and Friends

Birk’s Nailed It J.R.’s Revenge and Altered Inc.

Mokka And The Sunset Bar & Grill Don Fangman (Frank Sinatra Impersonator) and Stonehaus Trail

Shortneck’s Band to Be Announced

The bands’ genres include bluegrass, country, rock, lounge/jazz and classic rock. Proceeds will be used to promote heroin education and prevention as well as providing support to those seeking recovery and their families.

Will you enjoy a night out for a great cause?

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Willy Wonka Jr. Coming to Cincinnati

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Most of us know Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir. But it’s not everyday we get to watch it come to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. featuring a memorable score by Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll & HydeDoctor Dolittle) and Anthony Newley, follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory–or suffer the consequences.

Bob Herzog, Local 12 News Anchor/Reporter and inventor of Dance Party Friday, will play Willy Wonka. I love this story anyway but Bob Herzog as Willy Wonka makes it so much more exciting!

Tickets start at $11 each. Public performance times include:

Friday, April 4 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 5 at 2 PM
Saturday, April 5 at 5 PM
Sunday, April 6 at 2 PM
Saturday, April 12 at 2 PM

You can enter to win four tickets to this awesome play at Raising2tweens Facebook page.

 

 

8 Ways to Get Along with your ex

divorceI have been divorced for more than a decade but converse with my ex-husband Troy several times a week since we have two children together. Our co-parenting relationship isn’t perfect but we do manage to make things work pretty well. We attend our children’s activities and sit together, go to team parties and even have meals together when an activity calls for it. People often ask me what our secret is. I’m not sure we have a specific secret but I’m willing to share what I do know.

1. Remember that your ex is either the mother or father of your child. This sounds obvious but so many people tend to forget this. No matter how upset I get with my ex, my children love him and he is an important part of their lives. Respecting that is important.

2. The way I treat my ex-husband teaches my kids how to treat others. I want my children to treat others with respect and learn to work out their differences. I can’t expect them to learn that if I’m constantly nasty to their dad.

3.  Leave it in the courtroom or at mediation. There were times Troy and I would be in mediation screaming at each other or fighting tooth and nail over something important to us but we always left it there. We agree that fighting or discussing issues in front of the kids is off-limits.

4. Respect each other’s significant others. Many exes find entertainment in making fun of their ex’s significant other behind their back or by even being mean to them. I honestly have never understood why anyone would do this. This is another opportunity to teach your children how to treat others, as well as show them you can be the bigger person. The only thing I am ever concerned with regarding his girlfriend is how she treats my children. I am always very polite to his girlfriend and make a point to talk to her so she doesn’t feel uncomfortable around me. I also expect her to show me respect.

5. Keep each other informed. Troy and I make a point to tell each other things going on with the kids whether it’s about their grades, concerns, soccer practice, etc. That way we are both up to date on the important issues and there is no confusion.

6. Present a united front. If your ex reprimands the kids be sure to follow through with the punishment. You would want him to do the same for you. It also sends a message to the kids that they can pull one over on either of you.

7. Don’t make your child the messenger… no matter how old they are. Your child does not want to be put in that situation and it’s likely to just tick off your ex. It’s much better for everyone if you just communicate with each other.

8. Don’t let your ex live rent-free in your head. I don’t allow myself to dwell or worry about things my ex has said or done. If I did, I would be bitter and it would come out in conversations between us causing us to argue. We got divorced for a reason… no need to let anything bother me now.

I will admit we didn’t follow these eight steps the first year and it made for a very stressful time in our lives. We could barely look at each other without arguing and that wasn’t good for anyone, especially the kids. I quickly figured out that we needed to change our relationship.

You don’t have to be best friends with your ex or even like them. Feel free to vent when you are out with your friends but don’t let it monopolize your night out. You just have to show them respect for the benefit of your children. And if you follow these eight steps, you will hopefully get along and make life a little less stressful for everyone involved.

Do you find any of these tips helful? Do you have any tips to add?

12 Ways to Help Someone in the Hospital

Whether it’s a dear friend, a family member or someone’s child in the hospital it’s natural to want to help but people often don’t know what they can do. I have a lot of hospital experience – not only have I been a patient, I have had to take care of my son, who has a rare disease and has been in and out of the hospital, and my mother, who recently spent two weeks in the hospital.

While caring for my loved ones I got several calls from people wondering what they can do. Sometimes it’s hard to think of things on the spot and sometimes you just don’t want to ask. So I thought I’d put together a list of things to do for someone (and their family members) while in the hospital.

1. Don’t ask if there is anything you can do, just do it.

20140218_1232492. Snacks for the hospital room. This is helpful for family members who are taking care of the patient. A few of my co-workers put together a box of snacks for us while my mom was in the hospital. It was great.

 

3. Bring new pajamas. Most patients hate the hospital gowns and if they are allowed to wear regular pajamas they appreciate a new pair.

4. Drop off books, magazines and games that can be played with one other person in bed. Being in the hospital can be boring and the patient or family caregivers might want a distraction.

5. Visit but keep it short. Visitors are appreciated but the amount of visitors can often be overwhelming.  If you are the only visitor, assess the situation and maybe stay a little longer.

6. Drop off the patient and family members their favorite beverages. This saves them from having to run to vending machines and spending extra money.

7. The hospital provides meals for the patients but not the family member who stays with them. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital sells meal cards for family members for $5 each. Having these cards allows the caregiver to not have to leave their child in the room alone while they eat. Many hospitals sell gift certificates for the cafeterias. These are also helpful for family members staying with the patient.

8. Show up with a cup of coffee (or other favorite beverage for the family member) and insist on staying with the patient while the family member gets a break from the room.

9. Send balloons, cards and/or flowers to brighten the room.

10. Remember that the patient and immediate family members might be extremely stressed and worried about the patient’s condition. Even if you are upset or worried do not show it in front of the patient. Take a walk down the hall and pull yourself together. The patient doesn’t need to worry about their visitors too.

11. If a parent of young children is in the hospital or a child is in the hospital taking the parent away from the other children, see what you can do to help. Drop off dinner to the family members at home and offer rides to extracurricular activities and school.

12. In the words of my 12-year-old son: “Candy, bring candy, candy is always good.”

Do you have any suggestions to add?

 

 

Team Super Joey in the Media

cyclones3My amazing son Joey has been in the media a lot lately so I want to have one spot where you can find links to his stories. This will be the spot. I will update this post as needed.

Joey’s goal is to raise awareness for Histio, and hopefully someday find a cure for his disease.

Histio Survivor Prepares for Fundraising Event, Community Press, July 12, 2013
Enjoying the Little Things and Making Memories, Looking4ward2tomorrow, Nov. 15, 2013

Fort Thomas Boy Fights Rare Disease With a Strong Voice – WCPO Digital, Feb., 2014

Teen is Survivor of Bone-Destroying Disease – Community Press, Feb. 25, 2014
Histio Awareness Video – Produced by Cathy Ross, Starring Joey Holt, Requested by Histio Association, 2014
Rare Disease Day Proclamation, Fort Thomas Matters, Feb., 18 2014
Team Super Joey Fights Histio, Rare Disease Day, Feb., 2014
Joey Advocates for Histio & Rare Disease Day, Fox 19 Morning News, Feb. 28, 2014
Joey is Five in a Million, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Blog, Feb. 28, 2014
Follow Team Super Joey on Twitter @gina5620 #teamsuperjoey
Follow Team Super Joey on Facebook at Raising2tweens
Thanks to everyone who has shown their support!
cyclones2 cayton family cyclones rare disease hope waiting for trainTeam Super Joey
My Histio Family

joey super herosuper joeyHistio Warriors and siblingsmy histio hike 2

 

Enjoying the little things and making memories!

raising2tweens:

Amazing post by a good friend.

Originally posted on Looking4ward2tomorrow's Blog:

I recently celebrate my birthday. The weekend started off with a hike in a state park, not too far from my house. My best friend and I try to go as much as time allows. With life we all get busy and forget to take time for ourselves. I enjoy it for many reasons. It allows me to clear my head, enjoy the simple things in life. Spending several hours alone, wandering the trails and taking it all in. When we get to go together, we spend 99% of the time chatting and catching up on what’s been going on in our lives. It’s uninterrupted quality time and I enjoy the physical aspect of it. It provides variety, something a little more exciting than going to the gym.

Big Bone Lick State Park

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Mr. Cow

Mr. Cow

Later that evening, I went to a fundraiser called The Rusty Ball. You can pick your benefactor; there are hundreds…

View original 294 more words

How Life is Like The Walking Dead

Beth is only 16 or 17 on The Walking Dead but she is wise beyond her years. Although she might be royally messed up emotionally and mentally at this point, she has quotes in the show that hit home whether you are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, raising children, taking care of ailing parents or dealing with everyday work and life issues.

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In the first half of season 4 several members of the prison group become sick and are quarantined. Beth’s father Hershel goes into the quarantined area to help the ill. Beth’s sister Maggie asks her if she knows where their dad is. Beth, who is in charge of watching all the kids, says “We don’t get to be upset. We all have our jobs to do.” She makes statements along these same lines throughout the season.

Funny enough, this quote went through my mind a lot over the last two weeks. My mother has been very ill and in the hospital for nearly two weeks. I have an older brother, younger brother, two sister-in-laws, my dad, my kids and two nephews and two nieces. We are lucky to have a close-knit family.

I realized through the last two weeks that we do all have our jobs to do when a crisis arrives in the family. My job is to take care of things – organizer, fact gatherer, caregiver. I questioned the doctor and nurses often making sure my mom had the care she needed. I also assessed what needed to be done to prepare my mom’s house for her return. We realized that my parents’ dogs would have to find a new home before she came home from the hospital so I found a rescue to take the mastiffs.

My younger brother’s job in the family is to get things done. Once the dogs were removed, we had to remove all dog hair from the home. My younger brother immediately took the lead to pull carpeting out of the home, replace flooring and paint my parent’s bedroom.

My older brother’s job is to keep my dad calm and help with whatever needs to be done. Believe me, keeping my dad calm is a BIG job (love you daddy).

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5-year-old nephew cleaning my mom’s

My sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, my children and Nick worked their butts off to help us get the house ready and supported us through the tough time. Support was their job.

And although I definitely got upset during my mother’s 12 day stay at the hospital, I never did in front of her. I knew I had to be strong for her and do my job. Beth is right, “We don’t get to be upset. We all have jobs to do.”

What is your role or job in your family?