Y’all can’t deny these dimples!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43+00:00 March 31st, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, childhood, children, dogs, friends, friendship, gift, gifts|

This is the smile of one of our newest Totem owners! Standing proud and calm with Bulldog, all the way from ‘Nawlins!

New Orleans bulldog owner

Who dat?!

Thank you for sharing your smile and the gift of calm! Show us your Totems on Instagram @totemtamers, or email me at julie@totemtamers.com! Don’t have a Totem? Get one today www.totemtamers.com/shop

Stay well.

Negativity shouldn’t ever be part of a sales pitch!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43+00:00 March 29th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, mind/body, motivation, social media|

“You suck! But I have a trick that can make you suck less, just sign up here.” If that message showed up in your inbox, how would you feel? Well, that’s essentially the message I got very early this morning on Instagram. I will tell you that the only thing it made me feel was pissed off! The person who sent the message, well actually it wasn’t a message, it was a comment on a post I had put up days ago, I’m sure thought she was being helpful. That’s definitely not how it came across.

instagram message

#Instahate

Ok fine, maybe it wasn’t as vitriolic as it became the more I looked at it, but still. There’s my post and all it’s hashtag glory (my kids say I use way too many), followed by a lovely comment from a sweet supporter, and then boom, this sort of slap in the face but with an excuse built in. Not only do I not want to go to this so-called #Instaexpert’s website, but I have also decided to unfollow her. She has thousands upon thousands of followers, so it really won’t make a difference to her and clearly her narcissism won’t allow her to care anyway. The sad part is that she may actually be really good at what she does, I mean heck, she’s invited to speak at conferences so she must have some credibility, right? (yes, there’s a teeny bit of sarcasm in there.) And I am new to the world of Instagram, my kids even had to show me how to find this woman’s comment again, so I could use the support. I’m not going to be negative in return though, in fact, I’m going to be positive and even helpful. I actually touched on this theme a long time ago, and there were donuts involved in the blog post for some reason, but the message is still relevant. Being positive will get you better results and is more powerful than negativity. If this #instaexpert had approached me positively, I would have been more inclined to check out her free webinar, or consult or whatever she was peddling. Instead of saying “Your acct is confusing”, she could have said “Really love your pics, and would love to help you with your message.” See the difference? Something positive to lead in to whatever it is she thinks I need! Not so difficult and it could have led to something further but instead it fired me up to write a post.  I will at least be grateful for that! Thank you #instaexpert for validating the kind of support I am not looking for. Maybe she needs a Totem?

Stay well.

Sometimes being apart together is where the beauty is!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43+00:00 March 26th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, siblings, teenager, teenagers, teens, Uncategorized|

I’m sitting in my teeny office on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m checking in on the baby eaglets on the DCEagles Cam (I’m obsessed), I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee (sssshhh, don’t tell my GP), and I’m keeping myself “hidden” so I can enjoy the symphony of my children in the living room. You might already know that I have three boys, 16 going on 20 (he lives for independence), 13 going on tomorrow (he lives for the moment), and 9 going on 40 (he lives to tell everyone how it is). They are all so uniquely different, but those times they come together are the most amazing ones. Currently, the three of them are in the living room watching some wacky-sounding video and cracking up. I’m talking belly-aching, sore cheek, tear-inducing laughter. The temptation to go in and investigate, participate, and celebrate, is so strong, but I know that my presence will only alter the experience and change the vibe. So I sit here apart, but as together as I could ever want to be. Sure we have whole family moments where we all giggle, sometimes to the point of falling over, and those are awesome, but hearing my boys enjoy each other is what makes me whole. The three of them will (hopefully) be together long after I’m gone, and what gives me peace in that morbid thinking, is that they will all able to comfort each other and make each other laugh. These are the moments that build their relationships and the best place for me to be is not with them. Consider that the next time you hear your kids from the other room and the desire to join them hits you, give them the space to add the mortar to their foundation without you telling them where to lay every brick!

three boys and a fountain

I was tempted to go in and snap a new picture of the boys, but I know they would not have wanted that, so here’s an oldie but goodie from the Lincoln Center fountain!

Apart, but together, is actually pretty special.

Stay well.

#NationalPuppyDay although it’s puppy day in my house everyday!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 March 23rd, 2016|adoption, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, pets, stress relief, totems|

Seriously, there’s a day for everything, and I’m sure there’s even a day for things that don’t have an actual official day! On this day, when there’s much to be worried about, concerned about, and upset about though, let’s try to find some cheer, and what better way to do that than to talk about our puppies! It’s National Puppy Day! This is a day to commemorate puppies, and pet adoption, and to celebrate our dogs.  Sure, there’s Totem Tamers official puppy, Bulldog, and there’s no better calming friend than that.

Bulldog 3

Sup?

As much as I love Bulldog, my life wouldn’t be complete with our furry, four-legged, family friend, Zeke! Here he is with his very own puppy!

a dog and his dog

“A dog and his puppy”

Yes, it can be hard to have to get up super early to walk the dog in the middle of the winter with the freezing cold, but the snuggles and cuddles make it all worth it. Zeke has a job in our house, he is the official waker-upper! I promised my middle that I wouldn’t post the picture I took yesterday of Zeke pouncing on his bed and waking him up with a face full of kisses. It was perfect. So let’s celebrate our puppies of all ages and sizes and if you don’t have one, adopt one! So many need homes and have so much love to give. Visit http://www.adoptapet.com and maybe you can find a puppy of your own. You can always start by adopting a Bulldog Totem, too!

Stay well.

Owl and I have Eagle fever!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 March 18th, 2016|activist, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bird lovers, birds, birds of prey, Life, Owls, stress relief, Uncategorized|

“Mr. President” and “First Lady” have mated and now they’re eggs are hatching!! Wait….what? Ahem, I’m talking about a majestic pair of Bald Eagles that have made a home in Washington, DC, inside the United States National Arboretum! I have always loved Bald Eagles and whenever I am given the question of what superhero power I would choose, I always choose flight! Why am I sharing this random information with you? Well for the last two days Owl and I have been obsessed watching the LIVE CAM of the eggs hatching to this beautiful mated pair of eagles. It’s incredible and I can’t seem to tear myself away. So I thought it was important enough to share with you and give a shout out to the American Eagle Foundation in the process! “The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore, and protect the USA’s living symbol of Freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey.”

 

 

Eagles nest

© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG.

Join Owl and I and watch these new hatchlings come to life! You can even take a guess at when Egg #2 will start hatching by tweeting your guesses to #dceaglecam. Somehow watching these birds makes everything a little bit better, and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Stay well.

#NationalNappingDay

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 March 14th, 2016|bears, brothers, bulldogs, childhood, children, creativity, dogs, Life, sleep, Uncategorized|

Not writing much because I haven’t officially celebrated this most perfect day yet, and my best napping partners await!!

Napping boy and dog

 

With Daylight Savings time in full effect, a nap may be just what the interweb ordered! I will frequently announce that I’m taking a “disco nap” which means under a half hour for me, and just enough of a boost to get me to the disco (more likely the kitchen to make dinner, but you get the point!) Apparently reducing blood pressure, enhancing productivity and reducing stress happen to be bonuses to taking a nap, not that I need anymore motivation but at least this gives it purpose.

So what are you waiting for? Take a nap!!!

Stay well.

Totems are great napping partners, too. If you don’t have one, get one!! Just head over to our store, link at the top!

 

Happy International Women’s Day 2016!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 March 8th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, charity, civil rights, Equality, inspiration, Life, mind/body, motherhood, women|

Celebrate the women in your life today! Not just because it’s International Women’s Day, but because it feels good to celebrate other people. Give an extra smile. Make someone laugh. The reward will be your own.

International Women's Day

Celebrate #IWD2016

Stay well!

You could even give a Totem if you like! Visit our store and get a Totem for the women in your life!

 

First there was “High School Musical”, now there’s high school drama!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:45+00:00 March 5th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children|

This time around though, the stars aren’t cuties Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, they’re the sweet faces of our very own teens, and a lot of them are red-faced and teary-eyed. NYC high school acceptance letters are being delivered this weekend, some finding out yesterday and others today, depending on the middle school they attend. My son’s 8th grade class got their news yesterday. Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind. See, NYC is unlike most, if not all school districts in the country. There are hundreds of high schools to choose from across the five boroughs, so your kid may end up in Brooklyn even if you live in Manhattan. Or, if you live on Staten Island, you could end up traveling to Queens every day for school. It doesn’t have to be a school so far away, but sometimes it’s the school you love and want to spend your high school career at, so that’s what you pick. Well, that’s what you may rank on your application, it doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll go, because the school has to rank you as well. Very similar to medical school and how doctors get placed for residencies, but we are talking about 13 year olds!  In the Spring of 7th grade, the buzz begins as the guidance counselors start suggesting that we look at the phone-book-sized list of high schools to help narrow down our choices. HA! In the fall of 8th grade, we start touring high schools, partly based on who we think our children are, who our children think they are, and of course, the schools that all the parents have labeled “must see” schools. I’ll be very honest here, the parents are generally the worst part of this whole process. For example, let’s say I like school A, undoubtedly there will be at least one fellow parent who will question that like and freely impart their complete distaste for school A, along with their disbelief that I would even like school A. Let me say this, it really sucks! My child’s first choice school may be a school that you wouldn’t even put on your list, and if that’s the case, keep your opinions to yourself! And vice versa, of course.

high schools in niece

The panic ensues….

Honestly, railing on my fellow parents is not the motivation for my writing today, but more about how to parent if your child gets rejected from their top choice. Listen up: IT’s NOT ABOUT YOU!!!! Let me say this again, IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!! Yes, be sad, be angry, be frustrated and hurt about your child essentially being rejected, not chosen, or however you want to look at it, but do not somehow internalize this rejection and project your old wounds on to your child. Comfort your child. Validate their feelings. Let them cry, scream, throw things, whatever they need to do in those initial moments of shock. Then talk to them. Reassure them that they are still the amazing, talented, funny, charming, smart kid they were before some random strangers decided that they weren’t right for some school. Remind them that they are freaking awesome and that any school they go to will be lucky to have them. Reinforce how resilient they are and how capable they are at making new friends and persevering in new experiences. Then if you need to, go into the bathroom, or your room, or the hallway, and cry. Shed the tears for your child’s upset, shed the tears for the heartbreak you feel when your kid is sad, further shed tears for all those moments from your life when you were rejected, passed over, not chosen. And then, move forward! That’s it!!! Your job is to allow your child to unravel while you stand strong, so dust yourself off, wipe your tears and get back in there. This is exactly what I did for my son yesterday, and this morning when he looked at me and said “Mom, I’m ok”, I knew we would both be ok, and that is the only thing that matters!

Congratulations to those who got matched with schools they wanted, and to all of us for ultimately surviving this insane process.

Stay well.