Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mamavation Monday. Week 4. Hanging in there.

Since Monday is my very first wedding anniversary, I'm getting my Mamavation Monday post up on, well technically Sunday.

Those of you following my Mamavation posts know that I'd been changing one small habit each week. Well, on last week's post Leah, the inspiring woman behind all this Mamavation stuff, said she usually suggested changing two small things every two weeks, but liked the small steps approach. I so see what she means.

I didn't do so well at least week's goal, getting active every day.  A few days, the day got away from my and then I didn't feel comfortable walking after dark.

I'm also so insanely busy next week. Monday is my very first wedding anniversary like I mentioned. Then, late that evening we're heading north for a doctor's appointment for Ben's ankle. For those new to my blogs, this spring he shattered his ankle very badly. We moved away from where his doctor was. We're hanging out in our old town to visit family for a day or two and then we head to New York.

Just not the week to add anything new. Keeping up with previous changes is going to be a struggle. So, I'm using this as a "break" week, just working on the past changes.

Week 1- Drink more water
Week 2- Take a prenatal
Week 3- Getting moving everyday
Week 4- Maintain!

P.S. I think I forgot to return some comments last week, it was another busy one preparing for Wear Pink for Cora. I do appreciate all the support and try my best to show support. So, forgive my scatter brained self if I skipped over anyone! I also can't wait until I have more time to hang out in the Mamavation community. I see so much helpful stuff on there. But, I was just over there and noticed Leah is giving away two tickets to BlogHer '11! Neat!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Help me stay focused, oh, and win!!! Another giveaway....

I touched upon this a bit on Cora's blog, but am coming here for a real discussion and advice. You all helped so much with my office organization. Well, you helped at least. The office still has packed boxes, but it's getting better! Promise.

I'm crazy busy, have barely left the house in a week trying to get ready for New York in a week, and Wear Pink for Cora tomorrow. And, trying to log in some hours at a new part-time job.

On Monday, I tweeted about how the entire day seemed a waste, I was distracted by this and that and worked most of the entire day on things I didn't plan.

I thought for sure the rest of the week would get better, I'd be able to dig in and get some work done, but each day brought a new distraction that drained not only my time but my energy.

My friend Karyn gave me some awesome advice about just focusing on what I needed to. I really do feel like I'm going to just be able to buckle down and get some work down.

But, wanted to come to you again to hear how you focus on what's important. Of course, I'm going to bribe you.

Leave a comment of support or advice, and get an "I Wear Pink for Cora" bracelet. And, yes, Bobbie-Jo I know I still owe you your prize. I promise it's coming. I've been unfocused here!!

Update: I'm so scatterbrained, I forgot to put in a closing date. The contest closes Sunday.

We have a winner...

Contest is closed!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We are sisters: Always in solidarity.

July and the first month of the "We are Sisters" series is flying to an end. I am so comforted and moved when I get messages that saying you signed a petition for Sakineh Ashtiani or wrote your representatives.

It does make a difference.

I always wondered how much the phone in's and letter writing campaigns to congress people mattered. When I went to Lobby Day for the Congenital Heart Futures Act in April, I learned truly it makes a difference.

Aides in those offices do listen to constituents and groups. I wish all of you could go to Capitol Hill for the day to see that those letters and phone calls do make an impact.

A tangent, but wanted to thank you, thank you for writing in to tell your representative to support HR 1371, condemning Iran's seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. And, it's not too late, if you haven't already, take a moment to speak up.

Part of me is sad to leave behind our sisters in Iran, but I realize we aren't leaving them behind. We'll work for them always.

After all, we stand in solidarity with our sisters in Iran.

Their pain is our pain.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take a hike. Mamavation Monday. Week 3.

So, last week I introduced my wellness plan. As you might imagine, since Cora's death my own health habits have taken a slide. Just don't have the energy. And, don't have the energy to jump full force back on track. So, instead, I'm making one small change a week. And, since I love flair, I came up with this badge.

This week's goal didn't instantly come to me. I had to brainstorm. I knew it had to still be a pretty small change. I'm just not ready for big changes. Just waking up is still a struggle.

I went to Twitter because Twitter pretty is full of the smartest and bestest. I shared my idea, to walk around the block every day and a few people responded they thought it should just be to walk. No limitations and no length requirement. I agreed, so that's this week's plan, to walk every day, rather it be miles or just down the street and back. Little pressure, but to get moving.

The support in the Mamavation community, and from others, is so helpful. I've been trying to keep up and give it back. I think I missed a few comment returns on last week's post and apologize. But, I'm looking forward to reading about how everyone else is doing!

I did well on this week's goal, to take a prenatal vitamin every day (nope, not trying to get pregnant, but I think every woman of child bearing age should take). I took it every day but one, Monday, because I didn't have any on hand. Still doing okay with week one's goal, drink water. Still need to improve, but am better than when I started all this.

So to recap the changes so far:
Week 1: drink more water
Week 2: take a prenatal vitamin
Week 3: walk each day

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We are sisters: We can't forget her.

We are sisters is a new campaign to reach out and help women across the globe. Each month, we're talking about a new group of women and how to help. For the first month, we're talking about Iran. If any of you have suggestions for women that need to have their story told, send me an email to and we can work together on something.

Two weeks ago, Sakineh Ashtiani grabbed headlines across the globe because she sat on death row facing death by stoning.

Last week must have been so scary for the women of Iran. The regime announced that  they're tracking people that stand up for Sakineh. Her lawyer and son were both interrogated. At one point, a rumor flew around the web that Sakineh's stoning was imminent.

Saturday July 24, people around the globe are speaking out for Sakineh. In the Untied States, protests/rallies are planned in Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C.

Sakineh's story grabbed headlines because of the awful punishment she faces. Keeping the pressure on Iran is key. Please keep spreading the word, signing petitions, and writing government officials.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good news, bad news. BlogHer and my office organization project.

You guessed it, I have some good news and some bad news. But, I have good news about both my planned BlogHer trip and my office clean-up project as well as some bad news about both. Thought I'd give it to you all at once.

My pigpen is looking less like a mess. Last week, I asked for your organizational tips, and used many of them. My office went from this....

To this...

Don't judge the chair my dog half chewed up, it's super comfortable. I can't throw it out.

Such good news. I'm already feeling calmer and accomplished much more today. I used some of your tips, but also found one of my own....
Invite your little brother over for faitjas and then nicely ask for "help." Okay, so he moved all the stuff. I did sort through two boxes!

Oh, and the boxes, that's where the bad news of this office clean-up project comes in....

Yikes! The closet! It's trying to spill out and invade the rest of the clean office.

Now, on to BlogHer. It's a HUGE blogging conference. Last month, things fell in place so that I could go. I was excited, but also not excited. I looked forward to meeting good friends, but I stayed up late in the night, my palms sweaty and my muscles tired from tossing and turning think about all those people.

I haven't hid my anxiety issues since Cora died. When your healthy baby dies in your arms unexpectedly, some issues are a given. When I went to Washington D.C. in April, I had a huge panic attack. Was convinced I was going to die.

I've been so worried about those two days, I finally realized I just wasn't ready. So, that's the bad news, I'm not going to BlogHer. :(

But, there's good news. I WILL be in New York City at the same time as BlogHer due to other commitments and would love to meet so many of you!! I'm going to be in town most of the day Thursday, August 5, and most of Friday, August 6.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One a week. Making one healthy change each week. Mamavation Monday.

First week is almost behind me! So, these Mamavation ladies? Awesome. So much love and support in this community.

After last week's post, I came up with an idea of how to tackle this. After Cora's death, I couldn't drive for a month, couldn't mentally handle it. I still feel like that a lot, overwhelmed. Decisions, routines, and responsibilities can be so tough sometimes. I've let me health go as well. But, I want to live a healthy lifestyle. I've decided to add one health change each week, and keep the change from the previous change.This change can be super tiny, or a big step. You know how I love buttons and badges and flair, introducing my Mamavation plan, "One a Week." One healthy change each week.

Last week, I started with a simple goal, to drink more water. I did drink more, not my goal, but more, so this week was a success! Got a great tip/reminder from Kia, drink a glass of water as soon as I wake up. Just started that today.

Feeling pretty overwhelmed with still working on my messy office, starting work, and prepareing for BlogHer, so my healthy change this week is small, take a multi-vitamin each day. For me, this is going to be a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid. No, not trying to get pregnant. I think every women of child bearing age should take prenatal vitamins (unless their doc says no).

So here's where we're at.
Week 1- drink more water (did okay)
Week 2- drink more water and take a prenatal vitamin every day.

Now off to read the other Mamavation posts!

Friday, July 16, 2010

We are sisters. Iran, that country stoning people, on UN women's committee.

So, "We are Sisters" is a new series started this month. Based on the premise that as women we should protect each other and show support. Each month, I'm going to write a series of blog posts about an area in our world needing our love and attention with ways to jump in and help. This month, we're focusing on our sisters in Iran.
 Brace yourselves. Sit down for this one. Iran, the country stoning women for trumped up adultery charges? The country that kills women simply for not wearing "proper" attire? Sits on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Don't know about you, but I really don't want Iran having any sort of voice in my status, or of that of my international sisters.

Thankfully, we're not the only ones to see the problem with that appointment. House Resolution condemns Iran's seat. My friend Joanne Michelle sent me this website she's worked on with more information about the resolution.

It's important this passes and that the United States stand up firmly against Iran's seat

So, sharpen your pencils, we're going on a letter writing campaign.

Find  and write to your representative using this online form.

Here's a sample letter, again from Joanne's website,

Dear Representative [Name],

I am appealing to you to support HR 1371: Condemning the selection of the Government of Iran to serve on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Iran’s selection to the UN Commission on the Status of Women disregards its continued systematic oppression of women and violations of international law, including UN declarations to which it is a signatory. I urge you to join Rep. McCotter and the sponsors of HR 1371 in reaffirming the United States’ solidarity with the Iranian people and denouncing the selection of Iran to the Commission. The women of Iran have demonstrated tremendous strength in opposition to their government's atrocities, and it is our duty to stand with them by supporting this bill.


Your Name


Takes all of two minutes to copy paste, change a thing or two and send off.

Be heard. For our sisters in Iran that have been silenced.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well, I'll be spammed. (And what you can learn from my mistakes)

Apparently I've been spammed or hacked or whatever you want to call it. To me spammers are hackers and hackers are usually spammers. Both go hand in hand.

For the past week, I've encountered a series of unfortunate online events.

First, I got a message from Google that there was strange activity with my login attempts, and I needed to change my password. Next, Facebook told me they also needed me to change my password. I've written both Facebook and Google, but they seem to be a little too busy to tell me why.

Then, some of my messages containing sensitive material (what an awesome phrase) get deleted. 

And, so on and so on and so forth.

I think someone got my password from when I entered it on another site. This is when a hacker gets a password. So, I went fishing for some resources about phishing to protect myself in the future. I'm sharing with you all, because I always ignored the basic Internet safety suggestions thinking I had anti-virus, didn't visit weird sites, and was above getting spammed/hacked/phished.

Here's what I think happened. I've used the same two or three password variations since I've been online (note this is really, really not smart). I think I entered that password at a site I joined that wasn't secured and run obviously with someone with questionable morals. Many people are like me and use the same password for everything, so that person then could have just used my password to login to my email/Facebook. Google and Facebook probably noticed I logged in from two places around the world at once, and sent the messages.

My second theory is that one of the Facebook third-party applications was my down fall. These applications are pretty notorious for causing problems. Basically, many of us trust them because they're through a site we trust, Facebook. I've always been leery of apps, rarely do I go there unless it's a site I trust. I had some weak moments and gave some apps some permissions I should have.

Lessons I learned:
I posted about this on Facebook and got some good feedback. I loved this tip, if you type your password on notepad or Microsoft Word and use the CTRL-V shortcut to paste into the password field, a hacker can't get your password.

We also talked about changing passwords often. Set aside a day each month or week to change them to something random. I know, I know. Old habits and old passwords die hard. Write them in a super safe place. I might make the 6th my day to do this because it's the day Cora died, I always remember that day.

Use a password hierarchy, have a password only used for silly, unsecured sites. Sites that aren't operated by a reputable organization, but you really want to join and maybe win that iPod or be able to post to.

Skip the apps and also think twice about signing up for site. Do you know the people running the site? From your sign up, the site administrator can potentially access your IP address and the password you created? Who do you feel comfortable with having that information?

Add your spammy/hackey/phishy advice below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mamavation here I come. Give me a glass of water.

Yesterday I posted about my wreck of an office. Well, as you might imagine, my life has become a bit of a wreck since Cora died, and that includes my physical health, too.

Right after she died, I didn't eat much at all. But, then I began comfort food eating. I was, and still am, much too tired to cook. I ate what was shoved in front of me, which was often fast food. In the past month or so, I've made an effort to cook more and make healthier choices, but I needs some help. I'm needy this week, first my office, now I my health. Only, I don't think it's being needy. I hope through sharing some of my problems, I help you.

Thankfully, most of you aren't dealing with baby loss. I know some of you are, and special hugs, but that doesn't mean you can't relate to my individual problems.

I've been hearing about Mamavation for months. It's a group of women that support each other through health and fitness goals. The community includes active participants really willing to support each other. That's what I need right now.

Watch Lives Change

I have to take this slow. I honestly, don't have the energy for big changes. But, that's what's so appealing about the Mamavation sistahood, everyone works at their own pace.

Besides wanting to lose a big "chunk" of weight, I truly want to be healthier. My daughter died of a heart problem. I owe it to her to make sure my heart is healthy. I know improving my physical health will help me sleep and also give me the energy I need so badly.

For this week, I want to drink more water. That's it. I want to start with one small change. I want to take this slowly and master that step. I go days without drinking water. I like water, I do, I just sort of forget about it. Plus, I've got a serious diet coke habit and reach for one of those before water. So, I need you all to check in and see how I'm doing. Ask how much water I'm drinking. I'm going to track each day to make sure I've had at least 8 glasses.

I look forward to reading the posts from all the women in the Mamavation community to support what they're doing and learn about future changes.

They call me Pigpen. Help get me organized. A #giveaway! Win stuff! For real!

I have a secret.

It's a dirty one.

I can't believe I'm writing about this, but I NEED help!!!!!

You know Charlie Brown's friend Pigpen? Well, that's me. At least, that was what my sisters used to call me growing up.
This is Pigpen. I make him look organized.

I'm a mess. Literally.  A trail of debris and havoc follows where ever I go. I throw things around. Even when I "clean" I create a bigger mess. I do the dishes and Ben re-washes them all.

We moved into our new house, and guess what? It's a disasterous mess.

It's not like I like being the bringer of chaos and disorder. It's just who I am. I'll never be a neat freak (thank goodness for my husband).

So in the new place, I have an office (who hoo). But, just can't get it organized. And, it's starting to get to me. Big time! At our old place I at least had my own sort of system. Here, I'm behind on mailing out things (sorry if I owe you something) and can't find anything in general.

Today I'm sitting in my office, only I can't work. I'm jittery, unfocused, and honestly feeling angry and restless. I think the state of this room has something to do with that. I want to create a vibrant, clean, organized, peaceful space to work.

So, here's where you all come in. Help me organize this wreck. Help! Help! Help!

Leave your organizational tips (we're on a tight, tight, tight budget) and links to crafty, clever (read cheap) ways to organize.

Now the part you've all been waiting for... win stuff!!!

The contest: Because I really need help, I'm giving away a prize pack to a random commenter. So just leave a comment with organizational tips or links. And, if you're a disorganized slob like me, just leave a comment showing me support.

The prize: I'm going to make it up as I go of random cool stuff I find while cleaning, but know for sure I'm going to include a pink for Cora bracelet (or two)!!! I don't have many of these left, so they aren't for sale, but you can win one. I promise the other stuff will be fun and cool. And, who doesn't like a mystery prize?

The pink bracelet up for grabs.

Fine print: Unfortunately, can only mail to U.S. or Canada, everyone's welcome to comment, I'll just pick another winner if an international commentator wins at first. And, I'll delete comments that don't include a tip or support. I so need the support people.

And, finally so you know what you're dealing with, my office. (So embarrassing).

If you have questions about what we're working with, leave them below, or find me on Twitter, @kristinebrite.

And, now with a lot of courage, I hit publish unveiling my dirty secret to the world.

Edited: Forgot to include a deadline to submit those tips. I blame my messy office for causing my scattered brain. I'll leave those open for a week, so leave a comment by 11:59 pm July 17, 2010.

UPDATE: Giveaway is close.... And the winner....


Saturday, July 10, 2010

We are sisters: #Ashtiani is not alone, others face stoning in #Iran.

Yesterday, I introduced my new series, "We are sisters." Each month, I'll write posts about the plight of our sisters around the globe (sometimes even right here in North America). As promised I'm starting with Iran.

An Iranian mother of two shined the spotlight on Iran this week.

Background: The news that Sakineh Ashtiani faced death by stoning in Iran caused an international uproar. Ashtiani has already been lashed 99 times and spent years in prison. Her crime? Adultery.

Her trial was in a language she didn't speak. Her family maintains her innocence. And, come on, I have no tolerance for infidelity, but the death penalty?

Late in the week, Iran announced Ashtiani wouldn't be stoned to death. The headline might seem like good news. It is not. She could still be executed. She's already been imprisoned and lashed.

Why it matters: Stoning is a barbaric practice, but just as awful is executing people for non-crimes without proper trials and representation. Did you know Iran executes people simply for being homosexual?  Did you know other Iranians are in jail right now facing death by stoning? Ashtiani's story is not a victory, yet. I do hope she is freed.

Help: Take a few minutes to help our sisters in Iran.
  • Write a blog post, or if you aren't a blogger, post to social media about the situation there. If you send me the link, I'll include your post in a post later this month.
  • Grab this badge and put it on your blog or website to show that the women of Iran aren't forgotten.
  •  Sign this petition. (Over 100,000 signatures so far!) -- warning graphic image on landing page
  • Learn about the unjust laws women in Iran deal with. A country where alleged adultery can mean death.
  • Keep talking! Tell me your ideas in the comments, or what you've done. Can't read to read your posts!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A new monthly feature: We are sisters. Support for women worldwide.

One night, I was speaking to one of my favorite Twitter friends, Melissa, about the situation in Iran. I told her the women of Iran were our sisters, she agreed, but took the sentiment even further. She said all women are our sisters.

While speaking to her, I was thinking about a series of blog posts I planned here. I wanted to spread the word about the situation in Iran and get help for the Iranian women, being tortured, killed, and silenced.

She made my thoughts stop and restart in a wonderful new way. We are sisters was born.

Each month, I'll talk about a group of our sisters that need us. I'll tell you their stories and give you ways to help. I'll link up to your blog posts, and we'll make a difference.

Because we owe it to our sisters.

And, I'll start this month in Iran.... Watch for posts over the next month.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My story.

Hi. I'm Kristine. Cora's mom.

Nope. I'm absolutely not giving up on her blog. It's started a whole movement. She's amazing. She's changed and helped and saved and loved and done so much despite only living five days.

Cora's story and my story weave together, yes, it's true. But, sometimes I have things to share about just me. About trying to live without her. About rediscovering old hobbies and interests.

I talk openly on Cora's blog. It's true. But, I also try to remember Cora has a lot of younger friends. Sometimes I need to be free to drop a few swear words, talk about grown-up stuff.

I've come to know and like so many of Cora's friends. My friends. Her readers. My readers. I wanted to share my story, too.

Show you the beautiful, wonderful ways Cora changed me forever. And, share with you the low moments in the middle of the night when I weep for her.

P.S. So my new blog was designed by CupcakeMag. Gorgeous, no?
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