One of the things you won’t find in a pregnancy/parenting book

At some point your sweet angel who’s been doing a brilliant job with her potty training and who has not needed help in weeks will one day wait a little too long to sprint for the bathroom. And the pee will arrive before she does.

And she will cry with disappointment and shock despite your soothing reassurance that “It’s okay.” And as you are stripping the sodden shorts and panties from her body, you will realize what it is that she really needs from you.

And no matter how posh or polished you are that day, you will ignore the stray puddles on the floor as you sit down wearing your newly pressed pants. And as you lean your back against the toilet you will not think about your hair brushing against the toilet seat while you reach over and pull her damp bottom onto your lap and wrap your arms around her and gently rock her and whisper sweet songs in her ear while she gulps beginning to calm down.

Because you have seen those monsters at the door, the ones named Embarrassment and Self-Loathing. And you know that the best defense a Mama has is to create a fortress in your arms of steel and hold her tight and show her that it matters not one iota that there is pee on her, or the floor, or on you. That pee happens. And that you love her above all else no matter what.

And then after she’s quieted down to gentle sniffles, her tears dried, she will suddenly hear the Backyardigans theme song waft from the living room and immediately pop up and run away careless and naked into the other room as if the whole thing never happened. And you will sit there in the wet knowing you have done your job.

Lighting Bugs

You know how there are things from your childhood that you just took for granted and assumed that every kid had. You couldn’t imagine that they weren’t a part of every kids summer evening playtime?

Lighting Bugs…

That first night as I sat out on the deck drinking and  letting the gigantic hamburger that I had eaten digest (Cause who doesn’t need to eat pounds and pounds of meat when living in the woods) something magical caught my eye. Could it be? Had I just seen that? I waited patiently my heart starting to thump. Yes! There it was again. My heart was racing now. And Another And Another..

I reached out and touched the Dr’s hand and pointed and whispered. “Lighting Bugs.” He smiled that special I know what your thinking smile. Our hosts heard me and kind of looked at me funny. “Yes, give it a few minutes and they’ll be all over that mossy area over there.”  I asked for a jar. They figured something out. (Punctured Gladware)

Next I quietly walked in to where our children where quietly watching TV exhausted from their first day in the woods. They had no idea they had one more adventure waiting for them.

Our children had never seen a lighting bug. We live in the suburbs. Too close to civilization for such woodsy miracles.

I calmly asked them come with me. They protested, they were tired. “Trust Mama,” I said. My girls by now know that is code for something really cool, they quickly complied.

I took them out of the deck and told them to watch the woods. “What is it?” they whined. “I don’t see anything,” they complained.

Then there it was the first flash.



Then another



“What was that?”

“Lighting Bugs. Want to catch some?”


And then came one of those times that are the very best part of parenting. One of those times when you get to take your child on a magical adventure that opens their eyes to the wonders that surround them. That makes them so happy they can’t stop laughing. One of those moments of childhood that is so completely wrapped in joy and excitement and wonder that it makes you want to cry because its so perfect.

Because Mama and Daddy can catch lighting and put it in a piece of disposable plastic jar. And then show you how to do it. And in that moment you love each other so badly it almost hurts.





The next day we went to Wal-Mart and bought them proper Mason Jars and they put lighting in a jar every night for a week.

Not-Blogher – The Creek

Not-Blogher turned out better than we ever could have expected. From this point forward all family vacations will hereby be a complete and utter disappointment to my children.

Because nothing will ever compare to waking up to find that over night your parents have transported you to a magical little cabin in the woods that is 50 feet from an incredible mountain stream that you can play in to your hearts content.

A cabin that is located just 50 yards or so from the grandparents of your two best friends. And they are there too! And you have the run of the whole place and adoptive grandparents to spoil you rotten with pancakes every single morning.

Here’s just a peak from Day 1 – the fun that was right outside our back door.








MS Research Funding in the CDMRP

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are currently developing their spending bills for fiscal year 2009. The Society is again working this year to secure $15 million for MS research funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD).

The CDMRP program is funded annually through the Defense Appropriations bill. Last year, your efforts influenced Congress to include MS as a disease area eligible to compete for research funds through a sister program at the DoD called the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). We need your help to build on this success and secure specific funding for MS research in the CDMRP.

This spring, 27 Senators and 63 Representatives signed on in support of this increased investment in MS research.  Click here to send your Senators and Representative an e-mail asking them to support this important $15 million request for MS research funding in the CDMRP.

Many U.S. veterans have stories and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and the DoD has a responsibility to fund research for diseases related to military service. This research would not only benefit our veterans, but would help move us closer to a world free of MS. It is imperative that members of Congress hear from their constituents about the importance of this funding.

The Girl Effect Fact Sheet


Why Should We Pay Attention to Girls?

Little research has been done to understand how investments in girls impact economic growth and the health and

well-being of communities. This lack of data reveals how pervasively girls have been overlooked. For millions

of girls across the developing world, there are no systems to record their birth, their citizenship, or even their identity.

However, the existing research suggests their impact can reach much farther than expected.

The Ripple Effect

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2

fewer children.

(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.


• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

(George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update,” Policy Research Working Paper 2881[Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002].)

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels

of schooling among mothers.

(George T. Bicego and J. Ties Boerma, “Maternal Education and Child Survival: A Comparative Study of Survey Data from 17 Countries,” Social Science and Medicine 

36 (9) [May 1993]: 1207–27.)

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for

a man.

(Phil Borges, with foreword by Madeleine Albright, Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World 

[New York: Rizzoli, 2007], 13.)

Population Trends

• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

Girls Count, 14

(Population Reference Bureau, DataFinder database, [accessed December 20, 2007].)

• More than one-quarter of the population in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa are girls and young women ages 10 to 24.  Girls Count, 15

(United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision,”, and “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision,”

• The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24—already the largest in history—is expected to peak in the next decade. Girls Count, 14

(Ruth Levine et al., Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda

[Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, 2008].)

Educational Gaps

• Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.

(Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries

[Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].)

• Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.

(Human Rights Watch, “Promises Broken: An Assessment of Children’s Rights on the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” [December 1999].)

Child Marriage and Early Childbirth

• One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15. Girls Count, 41

(Population Council, “Transitions to Adulthood: Child Marriage/Married Adolescents,” [updated May 13, 2008].)

• 38 percent marry before age 18. Girls Count, 41

(Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries


[Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].)

• One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give

birth in developing countries each year. Girls Count, 3

(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005


• In Nicaragua, 45 percent of girls with no schooling are married before age 18 versus only 16 percent of their educated counterparts. In Mozambique, the figures are 60 percent versus 10; in Senegal, 41 percent versus 6. Girls Count, 44

(International Center for Research on Women, Too Young to Wed: Education & Action Toward Ending Child Marriage, [2007].)

• A survey in India found that girls who married before age 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or

threatened by their husbands as were girls who married later.

(International Center for Research on Women, Development Initiative on Supporting Healthy Adolescents [2005], analysis of quantitative baseline survey data collected in select sites in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, India [survey conducted in 2004].)


• Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as

likely, worldwide.

(United Nations Children’s Fund,  Equality, Development and Peace

, [New York:

• 75 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62 percent in 2001. Girls Count, 48

(Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, Keeping the Promise: An Agenda for Action on Women and AIDS,[2006a].)

UNICEF, 2000], 19.)


IM for MS

As part of the i’m Initiative sponsored by Microsoft, Facebook has offered the chance for one organization to recieve a $15,000 donation from the social networking website. Currently there is a poll that all Facebook users can use to submit their vote for their favorite cause!

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has been given the opportunity to receive such a generous contribution. Now all we need is your help! Visit the i’m Making A Difference Facebook page to vote! You may only vote once, but you can always invite friends and family to vote as well!

And if you aren’t already friends with the NMSS, click here to add us!

You can friend me here if you’d like