Page 1




Building a Family With the


How to Choose

THE PRIVATE SCHOOL That's Right for Your Child

How Donating Umbilical Cord Blood Can


Birmingham/ Central Alabama




DEC. 13-14, 2014 DEC. 13, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. DEC. 14, 3:00 p.m. Photos by Robert Norris and Carol Harris

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Turkey and Dressing


t’s one of the Thanksgiving staples of the southern home – turkey and dressing. My northern and western neighbors may call it stuffi ng, but in the South, it’s “dressing.” Everyone has their favorite recipe – all cornbread, partial loaf bread, adding sausage or rice, lots of sage, a little sage, etc. For me, no one could make it quite like my mom. Hers was an all-cornbread recipe – and she was generous with the sage. It was cornbread, onions, celery, salt, pepper, sage, chicken broth and hard boiled eggs. She never really could tell me exactly how much of each to use. She’d say, “Just taste it.” Or she’d just say, “Add the ingredients until you like the way it looks.” She has been gone for more than 16 years. For so long the holidays have been bittersweet to me. I love to celebrate with my husband, children and family, but it makes me miss her so much more during those special occasions. I did have the good sense to make the dressing with her enough to be able to make her recipe now – even though there’s really no written recipe. And now, my husband and children think no one else can make it like I can. And I kind of like that. Except for the year I added too much sage. And it was BAD. Now the joke is, “not too much sage!” They are right, but it’s yet another memory that my own family has built together. Other family members have said it was dry – and they are right. That’s how we like it. Better dry with gravy on it. I’m trying to write that recipe down now. I want Hillary and Keith to be able to make MY dressing someday, if they want to. They can share it came from their Grandma Dot that they knew just for a little while, but still can enjoy something she started, and we passed down. As I go through my old recipe box, I still fi nd cherished recipe cards and bits of paper in her handwriting. No one else would know, but I do. Someday these will be Hillary’s and Keith’s. Th is month, Carolyn Tomlin presents a story about how to build family legacies during the holidays. We’ve done it with a simple dressing. Of course, there’s also the deviled eggs – another favorite at my house – ham, and the sweet potato casserole my son thinks we must have. I’m glad he likes mine – another special recipe to hand down to him. Hope you enjoy this issue, and have a very happy THANKSGIVING!

Thanks for picking up this issue! Carol Muse Evans, Publisher/Editor

4 | birminghamparent | november 2014

3590-B Hwy. 31 S. #289 Pelham, AL 35124 205-987-7700 205-987-7600 FAX

editorial Publishers David & Carol Evans Editor Carol Muse Evans Associate Editor Lori Chandler Pruitt Office Assistant Bethany Adams Calendar & Business David Evans Contributors Dr. Vivian Friedman, Ashley Tamucci, MD, Bull Garlington, Carolyn Tomlin, Heidi Smith Luedtke and Malia Jacobson

sales Account Executives Kayla Fricks, Rona Shedd Webmaster Digital Doo-Wop

art & production Art Director Hilary Moreno Distribution T&P Deliveries Legal Counsel Balch & Bingham LLP

BIRMINGHAM PARENT IS A PUBLICATION OF EVANS PUBLISHING, LLC. Publishers: Carol Muse Evans, David K. Evans Sr. Birmingham Parent (EIN20-0694149) is published monthly by Evans Publishing LLC. or editor@ Birmingham Parent is © 2013 by Evans Publishing LLC. Family Connections Media ©2011 by Evans Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Editorial submissions are welcome. For back issues, please send a self-addressed 10” x 13” envelope with $4 for postage and handling.




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Building a Family With the



How to Choose

THE PRIVATE SCHOOL That's Right for Your Child

How Donating Umbilical Cord Blood Can


Create a Family Legacy This Thanksgiving


Birmingham/ Central Alabama




Editor’s Note Turkey and Dressing


Parenting with Dr. Friedman


Birmingham Parent’s 2014 Private School Guide

22 28 34 38



ON THE COVER: Anna Reese, age 9 months, of Birmingham is no turkey, but she’s dressed up as one for fun for Thanksgiving. PHOTO BY KIM BRANTLEY PHOTOGRAPHY,

6 | birminghamparent | november 2014


16 28 26


08 09 19




Short Stuff School News November Pull Out Calendar November Expanded Calendar of Events Ask the Specialist: Donating Umbilical Cord Blood A Page in a Book: The Best Hound in Town Death by Children: Pauseaholics


Parenting with Dr. Friedman


My 8-year-old son has a January birthday. Gift buying is a problem every year as his birthday follows so closely after holiday gifts. We are thinking of getting him a powered ride-on toy. Is this too big a gift after he has just received a lot of other toys?


There are two different issues at play here. The fi rst is how much is too much. The second issue is whether a battery-powered car is a suitable gift at all. The function of play is to develop social, fi ne motor, large motor and cognitive skills. Play should also develop creativity. A battery-powered toy requires the child only to sit on the vehicle and press a power pedal. It requires no creativity, no problem solving and fails to offer the exercise that a child-powered bicycle or scooter would offer. It does not exercise the fi ne motor skills that drawing, writing or a pegboard would do. It does not even develop the visual spatial skills that some computer games can facilitate. Thus it really should not command much of the child’s time. Th is is the kind of toy that is best left for the neighbor to buy, so that your child can ride it once in a while. The more toys a child has, the less he appreciates any of them. If your son recently received many toys for Christmas, you will want to be creative and celebrate his birthday in a different way.

To understand the need for this, you need only imagine a friend offering to take you out to lunch after you have just fi nished eating. No matter how attractive the place you went for lunch or what food the friend offered, you would be sated and bored. After receiving 10 new toys for Christmas, there is no 11th toy that will delight your son. Instead of buying more toys, celebrate his birthday with a creative party for him. Ask that friends not bring gifts, or donate the gifts to a charity. Focus on the fun of the activity, rather than the gathering of more toys. Encourage the children to sing “Happy Birthday,” making him the center of attention. Have a craft party or a skating party, where the activity itself is entertaining. Gifts are not what a child’s birthday should be about. There are other reasons to avoid excess materialism. When a child has too much, discipline becomes difficult. By giving him everything, you have nothing left to use to motivate desirable behavior. In addition to discipline, you will need motivators for other kinds of events. When you child needs a painful medical treatment,

even if just an immunization shot, it will be helpful to be able to encourage cooperation with a treat. Treats after suffering help the child to feel that even when something bad happens, the parent will be able to make something good happen to balance it out. Parental attention means far more to a child than toys or goodies. If you are buying him things but spending little time with him you are creating a child who will later fi ll his emotional needs by shopping. Because the joy of acquiring never lasts long, he is doomed to repeat the pattern of feeling empty, buying, and soon feeling empty again. If instead you teach him that birthdays are about spending time with family and friends, he will have a source of good feelings that will last his lifetime.

Vivian K. Friedman Ph. D. is a child and family psychologist at UAB, Department of Psychiatry. Send questions for response in this column to No personal replies are sent.

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short stuff

“Piecing it all Together” During National Runaway Prevention Month

Between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youth run away each year. If all of these young people lived in one city, it would be the fifth largest city in the United States.


here are so many things that parents need to protect their children from, and sometimes it comes down to protecting children from themselves and their life choices. Between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youth run away each year. If all of these young people lived in one city, it would be the fi ft h largest city in the United States. Despite the numbers, it remains a silent crisis, but prevention is possible and help is available for youth and children who may be considering it and their families that are going through this crisis. November is National Runaway Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis in America and the issues that these young people face, as well as educate communities about solutions and the role they can play in ending youth homelessness. Prevention is key. Parents can help in a number of ways:

what they think would be appropriate. Make sure the punishment fits the “crime” and it is consistent with other actions you have taken. Understand Your Child: Try to sympathize with what your children are going through. Look at life – at least occasionally – from their point of view. Remember when you were their age your ideas seemed to make sense.

Discuss Feelings: When parents share their feelings, children know it is safe to share their own. Talk about what it feels like to be a parent and encourage them to talk about their feelings.

Often kids run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but with no plans for what to do next. The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is a resource for these youth and they can talk about their situation confidentially without fear of judgment. Reversely, parents or family members who recognize there is a problem that may result in their child running away can also contact NRS for help. In 2013, NRS handled 771 calls and live chats in Alabama. Th rough its free and confidential 1-800-RUNAWAY hotline and online services, NRS provides support and access to resources 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Youth can also text the short code: 66008, to receive an automatic response featuring links to the hotline or live chat. Additional Alabama resources for youth and parents include the Gateway and the Firehouse Shelter.

Create Responsibility: Give your child choices, not orders. Help them understand the consequences of their actions. When punishments need to be administered, ask

To learn more how you can get involved in NRPM, find more tips or get help, visit

Pay Attention: Listen when your child is talking with you. Don’t pretend while you are watching television, reading the paper or using the computer. Children know the difference.

8 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Sheriff ’s Corner with JEFFCO Sheriff Mike Hale: Get Away from Domestic Violence Domestic violence is not an occasional argument. It is a pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate or romantic relationship where one person chooses to control the relationship through the use of force, intimidation or fear. The abusive behavior can be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. Sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it’s extreme. Without help, the abusive behavior usually gets worse. And it is important to remember it is NEVER the victim’s fault. Domestic violence and child abuse often occur in the same family. It is a fact that children who are exposed to domestic violence are at greater risk for substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy, and criminal behavior. Studies have noted that children from violent homes exhibit signs of more aggressive behavior, such as bullying, and are up to three times more likely to be involved in fighting. Domestic violence can happen to adults and it can also happen to teenagers. Both males and females can be perpetrators or targets of abuse. There is nothing that you can do or say to deserve being abused. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship.

If you are a victim, don’t hesitate to make that call.

school news

Walker County Public School System to Integrate Pioneering App Promoting Good Nutrition and Fitness Walker County schools in Jasper announced it will integrate the groundbreaking “Kids Making Healthy Choices ” app, based on the award-winning illustrated children’s book “Making Healthy Choices--A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids,” into its iPad®-enabled health and physical education curriculum at Bankhead Middle School in Cordova. The app is an effort to educate, motivate and empower students to get and stay on a healthy track through good nutrition and physical fitness.   The app, designed for both iPad® and iPhone®, serves to inform and inspire kids to make wise lifestyle choices and also better understand and empathize with peers currently struggling with a weight problem, which can lessen the all-too-common incidence of bullying in schools and elsewhere. “It’s been reported that Alabama has the eighth highest childhood obesity rate in the United States, with 35 percent of Alabama’s youth currently overweight or obese,” says Jason Adkins, Walker County superintendent. “Walker County residents rank 66th out of 67 Alabama counties in regard to their health and well-being. As educators and residents of this community concerned about the well-being of our nation’s youth, it behooves individual schools and systems/districts at large in Alabama and beyond to capitalize on salient opportunities to promote good nutrition and fitness when they present.” The app includes a bevy of valuable kids’ edu-tainment and educator/caregiver support resources that promote a healthy youth lifestyle. In total, the app features six distinct value-added sections – the complete digital e-book adaptation of “Making Healthy Choices – A Story toInspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids” with story-discussion prompts that families can use; fun activities, healthy kid-friendly recipes, free online tools and resources, and research, information and news. For more information on the app and the online book, see 

McElwain Christian Academy Achieves Accredidation McElwain Christian Academy recently received full accreditation by the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) and Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS). Successful accreditation is an indicator of McElwain’s focus on quality and continuous school improvement in multiple areas, including governance, administration, faculty/personnel, instruction and curriculum, facilities, and student activities. McElwain Christian Academy is a small, private elementary school serving kindergarten through 5th grade students, with a mission to provide quality academic instruction in a Christian environment. For more information, call 205-957-2628 or visit






2804 John Hawkins Pkwy, Suite 100, Hoover, AL 35244

Nurturing the Mind, Body & Spirit of Every Child Preschool for ages 6 weeks through 4K. We also have a 5K program using the same curriculum as Trussville City Schools. M-F 7:30 am–4pm 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, or 5-day programs available

5700 Deerfoot Pkwy, near I-59, exit 143, Trussville, AL Sandy Jenkins, WEE Director 205.352.4020

A Ministry of NorthPark Baptist Church | 9

Birmingham/Central Alabama

Private School Directory (SACS), Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the American Montessori Soceity (AMS). Indian Springs School 190 Woodward Dr. Indian Springs, AL 35124 Long recognized for its innovative curriculum, Indian Springs School inspires students to love learning, explore their passions, engage in community, and achieve their goals. Integrity Christian Academy 216 Roebuck Dr. Birmingham, AL 35215 205-833-4416 Preschool, kindergarten and elementary classes. ABEKA academic, Bible curriculum and training. Character development and discipline.

November 2014 with age appropriate exploration into the world of learning. Spring Valley School 605 Hagood St. Birmingham, AL 35213 205-423-8660  Spring Valley School is the only school in Central Alabama serving bright students (3rd grade through 12th grade) who struggle with dyslexia, ADHD and other learning differences.  The Discovery School 2100 Highland Avenue Birmingham, AL 35205 (205) 933-5907 The Discovery School is a nurturing and engaging preschool for all children to learn, discover, and imagine. Full-day program, ages 15 months-5 years old. TUTORS AND TESTING

AREA PRIVATE SCHOOLS Advent Episcopal School 2019 Sixth Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35203 205-252-2535 Advent has a 64-year reputation for academic excellence that promotes lifelong learning, moral understanding and selfdiscipline. Faculty embraces the students in a caring, Christian environment. 4K-8. Alabama Waldorf School 1220 50th St. S.  Birmingham, AL 35222  205-592-0541 The developmentally appropriate, arts-integrated Waldorf curriculum empowers children to become confident, capable graduates who know how to think for themselves. The Altamont School 4801 Altamont Rd. S. Birmingham, AL 35222 205-879-2006 The Mission of the Altamont

School is to improve the fabric of society by graduating compassionate, well-educated individuals capable of independent thinking and innovative ideas. Covenant Classical School And Daycare 3 locations, 4th coming soon • 25 Southlake Lane, Hoover, AL 35244 • 5390 Magnolia Trace, Hoover, AL 35255 • 450 Huntley Pkwy., Pelham, AL 35124 • Homewood – coming soon! 205-444-5437 205-620-2626 Prep school with enrollment from infants through kindergarten. We maximize each child’s early school experienced to develop well-rounded individuals equipped to succeed. Hilltop Montessori School 6 Abbott Square Birmingham, AL 35242 205-437-9349 Scholarships available.Accredited by AdvanceD, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

10 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy 5509 Timber Hill Rd. Birmingham, AL 35242 Phone: 205-995-8709 Fax: 205-995-0517 For 30 years JBMA has equipped children with the essential skills and knowledge they need to thrive as a successful adult. Enrolling toddlers - 8th grade.  Noah’s Park Weekday Early Education 5700 Deerfoot Pkwy. Trussville, AL 35173 205-352-4020 A world of discovery awaits your child at Noah’s Park! We provide an exceptional level of care and instruction for every child ages 6wks to grade 5K. Odyssey Early Schools INVERNESS CAMPUS 104 Heatherbrooke Park Dr. Birmingham, AL 35242 (205) 991-0039 TRACE CROSSINGS CAMPUS 401 Emery Dr. Hoover, AL 35244 (205) 988-8829 Created by educators featuring state-of-the-art facilities, nurturing teachers with Education degrees, and comprehensive curriculum that provides your child

The Tutoring Center 2804 John Hawkins Pkwy Suite 100 Hoover, AL 35244 (near Academy Sports) 205- 987-9577 One-to-one tutoring designed to help your child develop stronger academic skills, earn better grades, score higher on standardized tests, while gaining confidence, motivation and focus. Mathnasium The Math Learning Center 410 Inverness Corners Birmingham, Alabama 35242 205-437 3322 Our goal is to significantly increase your child’s math skills and overall school performance, while building confidence and a positive attitude towards math. ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS Alabama Dance Academy 3221 Old Columbiana Rd. Hoover, AL 35226 205-978-6820 A state-of-the-art dance instruction facility in the disciplines of ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical/contemporary and Pilates.

Founded by professional ballet dancer Pamela Merkel in 1995. Alabama Ballet 2726 1st Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35233 205-322-4300 Changing lives through dance since 1981 by promoting and fostering the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality performances, dance education, and community outreach. iSpeak,LLC 2531 Meadowview Lane Suite C Pelham, AL 35124 205-721-8876 iSpeak’s primary goal is to prepare tomorrow’s global citizens by providing Spanish classes to children & adults. Our new Spanish immersion preschool program opens in January for ages 4-5. Spirit of Math Coming soon to Vestavia! 2110 Calhoun Drive Gadsden, AL 35903 256-438-4766 Grades 1 to 8. Exciting, fast-paced after school math classes for high-performing students. Children with an average of B+ or higher are considered for acceptance. The Academy of the Arts at Samford University South Lakeshore Drive Birmingham, AL 35229 205-726-4049

205-726-2810 Music for children & adults at Samford University in Homewood. Preschool piano; Kindermusik; private & group piano, voice, and strings lessons. FIELD TRIPS AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES Birmingham Museum of Art 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Birmingham, Al 35203 205.254.2565 Bart’s ArtVenture combines high tech art-making tools with hands-on creation stations to let kids and families develop their art education in a creative, communal environment.   Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum 1919 Ninth St. Calera, AL 35040 205-668-3435 RIDE THE TRAIN! Board at a turn-of-the-century depot and experience a ride through the scenic forests of Shelby County. Museum is a living monument to railroad history. McWane Science Center 200 19th St. N. Birmingham, AL 35203 205-714-8414 Fun and learning never end at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on museum with aquarium and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder.

Three Years in a Row is something to


Schedule a tour to see why parents choose Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare® as Favorite Preschool and Favorite Parent’s Night Out! We’re honored to have been chosen as Family Favorite for the past 3 years!


BIRMINGHAM AREA LOCATIONS Trace Crossings Pelham Valleydale Homewood Coming Soon!



The Discovery School is a nurturing and engaging preschool for all children to learn, discover, and imagine. Take a tour of our beautiful facility, meet our dynamic degreed teachers, and learn about our curriculum based on best practices in early childhood education. We celebrate moments of discovery.

Full-day, year-round program for ages 15 months - 5 years old • 7:15a.m. - 6p.m.

REGISTER YOUR CHILD TODAY! Conveniently located in Southside near downtown and UAB.

2100 Highland Avenue . Birmingham, AL 35205 (205) 933-5907 . | 11

Birmingham/Central Alabama

Private Schools Guide November 2014

Indian Springs School

Odyssey Early Schools

Inspired by the motto "Learning through Living," Indian Springs School helps students reach their full potential by encouraging them to challenge themselves and to engage actively in their community and world. Long recognized for its rigorous and innovative curriculum, Indian Springs serves grades 8-12, offering more than 270 day and boarding students from 12 states and 9 countries a full range of academic, artistic, athletic, and extracurricular activities.

Odyssey was created by educators who dreamed of opening an early learning center where children could be nurtured and taught by a highly trained and loving staff. That dream was realized when our Inverness school opened in 1995, and then again in 2001, with the opening of our second school in Trace Crossings. Odyssey’s goal is to create a life-long love of learning. We have developed our own age-appropriate curriculum, specifically designed to introduce each age grouping to language, reading, math, science and more, so that your child will possess a strong foundation for Kindergarten and beyond. Additionally, we guarantee teachers with four-year education degrees in all preschool classrooms and offer exceptional child-to-teacher ratios. At our schools, you can watch your child’s entire day in live, streaming, HD video over the Internet, through an individual, secure connection linked directly to your child’s classroom. We want our parents to know what happens during their child’s day, and Odyssey is the only Over-the-Mountain daycare to offer this service. Our team works tirelessly to earn its reputation as the best childcare option for Birmingham parents, and we invite you to visit today to witness for yourself what so many other families have known since 1995! Visit for more information.

New classrooms are being built for 2015-16! We welcome you to visit our incredible 350-acre campus just south of Birmingham. Know Indian Springs and know this is where you want to be. 190 Woodward Drive Indian Springs, AL 35124 205.988.3350

Joseph S. Bruno Montessori Academy Our educational practices are built around the belief that children are born with the need to explore and discover and with the strong desire to learn. Therefore, we treat their curiosity and creativity with great care allowing them to explore their interests from an early age. We provide the kinds of lessons, even the most challenging ones that make learning exciting and stimulate the desire to find out more. Lessons are given to small groups of students or even individually, so that they can understand the concepts presented. Our students are our first priority, and we have the time to listen and help them find answers. Older students learn through seminars, laboratory experiments, and hands-on projects. Reading, research, and discussion are important parts of our curriculum. At Bruno Montessori Academy, we encourage our students to develop independence, responsibility, resourcefulness, and organizational skills. Even in the Lower Elementary students learn to use individual work plans listing their goals for the week. When you visit Bruno Academy, you will see students working individually and cooperatively to get their work done, enjoying the total learning experience. The enthusiasm must be seen to be believed. Children learn the importance of having respect for one another and for their classroom environment. We have high expectations for our students, and they learn to set higher and higher standards for themselves. JBMA currently serves children from toddlers to the 8th grade. To tour our campus & visit our classrooms, please call: 205-995-8709 or visit 5509 Timber Hill Road, Birmingham, AL 35242.

12 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Birmingham/Central Alabama

Private Schools Guide November 2014

Advent Episcopal School

Spirit of Math

Since its establishment in 1950, Advent Episcopal School has built a national reputation for academic excellence. No other school in Alabama can match the success of our students who have amongst the highest SAT scores in the nation. The students excel in an environment that is safe, stable, and wholesome, and are highly recruited by the most prestigious high schools in the country. Offering 4-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade, Advent is a diverse community of bright children who are challenged by the school’s accelerated academic program presented in a caring, Christian environment. The school also offers before-school and after-school care from 7:15 am until 6:00 pm. Advent’s downtown campus offers an array of educational opportunities. Museums, theaters, libraries, cultural centers and the Civic Center are literally within walking distance. Advent is small by design. Every child is known by name. They are challenged, but they are also celebrated for who they are and what they are able to accomplish.

Spirit of Math is an after-school math program for high-performing students designed to challenge and excite them. Rather than only memorizing procedures, our students learn the number theories and critical thinking skills required to truly understand and solve math problems. They learn a different way of thinking that carries over to other subjects and to life. Spirit of Math is not a tutoring or remedial program, but a proprietary program in which high-performing students attend intensive weekly 1.5 hour classes for grades 1-8. Students are engaged in math education through Spirit of Math’s proprietary and innovative curriculum which includes a sequential, non-spiral approach to learning, and the Four Elements (drills, core, problem solving and cooperative group work). Students with an average of B+ or higher are considered for acceptance. Spirit of Math is an education-based company that has developed a training system for teachers and administrators in mathematics. Spirit of Math also publishes the “Release the Genius” series of drill and problem solving books, including digital applications. Private schools and public school districts are now using Spirit of Math books to supplement their curriculums. For more information, call Jennifer Dodd at  866-767-6284, ext. 180

Covenant Classical School

Covenant Classical Schools provides advanced education and care for children throughout Alabama, with campuses in Birmingham and Huntsville. At CCS, shepherding children is a focus with a Bible-centered curriculum taught in the Classical tradition. Development of Christ-like character is an essential focus for each child as they grow with these principles as a foundation of their values. In the CCS approach, children learn in the Grammar stage of classical education where the core idea is for obtaining knowledge, and young children have an incredible ability to absorb information. From their ability to recite the books of the Bible, U.S. Presidents,

to all 50 states and capitals, preschool students at CCS demonstrate how important the Grammar stage is to the development of the young mind. Their success is measured also by scores on standardized tests with most kindergarten students ranking in the 98th percentile for SATs. There is a great amount of structure at CCS balanced with lots of fun! Most classes use learning games to reinforce the lessons. Teachers constantly use a mixture of methods to retain the interest of the students, and to avoid redundancy. Children also enjoy time outdoors on playgrounds, trike tracks and soccer fields. With proven academic success and overwhelming approval from parents throughout Birmingham, CCS is proud to have been voted Best Daycare by three different publications for several years running. We invite you in to experience CCS by scheduling a tour at one of our local campuses—Pelham, Trace Crossings or Valleydale Road.

Additionally, a new Homewood location will be opening in 2015! Visit us online at for more information. | 13

Birmingham/Central Alabama

Private Schools Guide November 2014

The Discovery School at Temple Emanu-El

Academy of the Arts at Samford University

The Discovery School is a nurturing and engaging preschool for all children to learn, discover, and imagine. We are proud of our beautiful facility, our dynamic degreed teachers, and our curriculum based on best practices in early childhood education. We celebrate moments of discovery. We offer a full-day, year-round program for ages 15 months - 5 years old. The Discovery School is conveniently located in Southside near downtown and UAB. Why choose The Discovery School? We have a low student/teacher ratio in line with licensure and accreditation standards. Our large classrooms are child-centered spaces with large windows and natural light. We have a newly renovated playground which resembles a park with open spaces and quality equipment. We offer a hands-on curriculum that develops the whole child intellectually, socially, and spiritually. Our enrichment activities include music, dance, Hebrew, art and science, as well as educational programming offered by McWane Science Center, The Birmingham Zoo, Children’s Dance Foundation, Got Rhythm, and more. For more information, please contact us and visit our website at

Welcome to the Academy of the Arts at Samford University! During the spring of 2014, the Preparatory Music Department and Samford After Sundown staff made the transition to our new home across from the main campus. The Academy is a beautiful new space with convenient parking and easy access, as the facility does not have steps or barriers. The location is just across Lakeshore Drive from the main campus on the road between Homewood High and Covenant Presbyterian Church (South Lakeshore Drive). Families may enjoy the generous playground while waiting for classes or lessons, and the large gathering room is a wonderful space for community gatherings, large classes, and intimate performances. We have something for everyone, offering classes in piano, voice, strings, Kindermusik, photography, painting, creative writing, drawing, ceramics and much more. Our classes begin as low as $45 and we are now registering for our Holiday workshops. If you have any questions or would like more information about our classes and programs, please call 205-726-2739 or 205-726-4049.

Spring Valley School Spring Valley School was founded in 2000 by parents seeking better educational opportunities for their children. SVS is the only school in central Alabama offering specialized instruction for children with learning differences, such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and ADHD. We serve students from all areas of Jefferson County and surrounding counties. Sixty students are enrolled in grades 3 through 12 for the 2014-2015 year. Spring Valley is accredited through SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) Karen Kisor Executive Director 205-432-8660 Learn more about us - visit our website at

14 | birminghamparent | november 2014

CHECK IT OUT For a great list of private schools all over Alabama, check out http://alabama. private-schools/ For more information about private and public high schools in Alabama, check out http://high-schools. com/alabama.html. For an explanation of private school associations in Alabama (What do those acronyms stand for and mean?), check out http://high-schools. com/report/al/privateschool-associations-inalabama.html

ready for college, prepared for the world.

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How to Choose the Private School


Comparing private schools is challenging because each institution offers unique programs in a unique environment. One may present a specialized science curriculum geared toward a future in engineering, while another focuses on developing cooperation and compassion through active community service. The comparisons parents must make are apples-to-oranges at best. Faced with so much detailed information about so many exciting opportunities, it’s hard to stay focused on the end goal: finding the best educational option for your student. Approach the school selection process with this three-step strategy to make sure your child’s needs come first.

STEP 1: Assess your Values Start your school-selection process at home. “Ask yourself what you expect of a school and what you expect of your child, in terms of attitude, behavior, motivation and achievement,” says educational psychologist Jennifer Little, Ph.D., founder of Parents Teach Kids. You may want a school that has high cultural or ethnic diversity, or whose students and staff have religious values similar to those of your family. Clarifying your values will help you put schools’ marketing materials in context. Acknowledge practical matters as well. Determine how far you’re willing to drive and how much tuition you can afford. Be honest with yourself about the level of involvement you will have in your child’s school. Many private schools require parents to volunteer a specified number of hours. Create a personal checklist of your requirements and limitations so you don’t overlook important factors. 16 | birminghamparent | november 2014

STEP 2: Seek Info For each potential school, collect information on curriculum, student-teacher ratio and academic outcomes. Study data that show how students scored on placement tests for math, English and foreign languages, and pay particular attention to how many students graduate and what schools they attend next. Also, pay attention to accreditation. The National Association of Independent Schools and similar state associations require member schools to uphold rigorous standards and to undergo periodic review. Th is makes school officials accountable to other educators who are in touch with national standards and teaching trends. Examine course descriptions, materials and teacher preparation to evaluate the quality of a school’s curriculum. Also, ask about choice. You want your child to have a fi rm foundation in primary subjects and a choice among interesting electives. Kids are motivated to learn when they can pursue subjects they select. Learn about the availability of special programs that interest your child, such as language immersion or music instruction. Visit schools on your short list to evaluate the academic workload and environment. Ask students how much homework they do each night and attend classes to see how teachers affect learning. Do they use readings, lectures or group discussion? Do students do projects, community service or internships at local businesses or universities? A school’s instructional strategy should match up with its educational objectives and your child’s learning style, Little says. Highly competitive classes can undermine learning for some students. Others might be frustrated by a collaborative approach. Keep in mind a school is more than its academic programs. It is a community of learners. Observe social dynamics among

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students and ask how teachers encourage cooperation and manage behavior problems. Kids can’t learn when they’re struggling with classroom chaos or feel left out of exclusive cliques. Look at how adults are involved in the school. A strong parent-teacher association ensures that ideas and information flow both ways. Involvement from alumni suggests a strong sense of pride in the institution. Find out how long teachers have been at the school and whether they receive regular professional development. High turnover may reflect bad management. It can also create a poor climate for learning.

STEP 3: Focus on Fit

“Ideally, you want to match the school to the learner,” says Faya Hoffman, founder of the Washington, D.C. learning concierge service, My Learning Springboard. “A school with a phenomenal reputation may not be the right fit for your child.” Be honest about whether an institution’s approach fits with your student’s interests and temperament. If your child has an Individualized Educational Plan due to learning (or other) disabilities, find out what services are available to meet his needs. Smaller schools may not have full-time staff to provide speech or occupational therapy or counseling services. Speak directly with staff members who provide services your child needs, so you understand how your child will get help. Knowing what to expect sets everyone up for success. Although it may be inconvenient, Hoffman says siblings may need different educational approaches and/or different schools to learn and thrive. Focus on each student as an individual to make the best educational decisions for your family.

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Coming To Vestavia

Web: Choosing between public and private schools School visit and observation checklist Guides to student success Books: Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child’s School With Confidence, the Elementary Years, K-6, by Bryan and Emily Hassel, Armchair Press, 2004 How To Choose The Perfect School: What 21st Century Parents Need to Know about K-12 Education by Mary Lang, Trafford Publishing, 2006 The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade by William Bennett, Chester Finn, Jr., and John Cribb, Jr., Free Press, 2000

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Veteran’s Day at the Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Zoo.

Neurobiology of Suicide: Relevance to Diagnosis and Treatment, 6:30pm, Hoover Public Library.

Magic City Toastmasters Open House, 6pm, Trinity Medical Center.


National Sleep Comfort Month

Real Jewelry Month

Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Native American Heritage Month

National Novel Writing Month


National Epilepsy Month

National Adoption Awareness Month

International Drum Month

Child Safety Protection Month

Aviation History Month









Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, 9am-6pm, Gardendale Civic Center.

Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS), 9:30-11:30am, Pelham First Baptist Church. Off the Charts: Music of ABBA, Motown & The Beatles, 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater.




Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. See

Bart’s Books, 11am, Birmingham Museum of Art.

Calera Christmas Market, 10am-4pm, Calera First UMC, 6107 Hwy. S.

15 Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, 9am-4pm, Gardendale Civic Center.

Bart’s Art Cart, 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art.

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family, 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Free Classes from Magic City Chess U, 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library.

Autism Society’s 1st Annual Bowling Tournament, 3-5pm, Oak Mountain Lanes

Bart’s Art Cart, 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art.

2nd Annual Tailgate Festival & Turkey Toss, 10am-5pm, Gardendale Civic Center.

Birmingham FARE Walk for Food Allergy, 8:30am, Railroad Park.




November 2014

special days



16 Audubon Teaches Nature: Bird Coloration-Understanding the Beauty of Birds, 1:30-4pm, Alabama Wildlife Center.

The Footprints Ministry Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser, 2-4pm, Oak Mountain Lanes.



See the daily calendar of events in detail beginning on page 22.


United Way Food Drive at the Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Zoo.


Color in the Winter Landscape, 6:30pm, Hoover Library.


Family Holiday Manners Mash Up, 6:157:30pm, Albert Scott (Alabaster) City Library Meeting Room.


Science Cafe presents: The Science of Meteorology, 6-8pm, John’s City Diner.






Alabama Family Rights Association, 6pm, Hoover Public Library.



Pete the Cat Book Club, 4pm, Albert Scott (Alabaster) Library Meeting Room.

0 $8

0 $5




Soul of November, 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater.


Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS)Pelham First Baptist, 9:30-11:30am, Pelham First Baptist Church.

Bart’s Art Cart, 11am1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art.

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family, 10am Birmingham Botanical Gardens.


Free Classes from Magic City Chess U, 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library.

Bart’s Art Cart, 11am-1pm, Birmingham

Flora Pearl Foundation’s 3rd Annual Matters of the Heart, 10am-2pm, Faith Chapel Christian Center.

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family, 10am Birmingham Botanical Gardens.


Free Classes from Magic City Chess U, 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library.

November 1.



Soul of November, 2:30pm Dorothy Jemison Day Theater.


United Way Food Drive at the Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Zoo.

daily calendar of events


Calendar sponsored by

8 Saturday Autism Society’s 1st Annual Bowling Tournament 3-5pm, Oak Mountain Lanes. This event is benefiting Act Today-Autism Care & Treatment for Military Families. 205-603-5300, www.

The Alabama School of Fine Arts will hold its annual Open House for Prospective Students Saturday, November 8. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASFA

1 Saturday Birmingham FARE Walk for Food Allergy 8:30am, Railroad Park. Familyfriendly event helps raise funds for food allergy education, advocacy, awareness, and research. There will be fun activities for kids, including a costume contest. www. asp?ievent=1102655. FREE. 5K Rib Run 8:30am, Brown-Mackie College. Participants stop approximately every mile to enjoy a single delicious rib from local restaurants. The start and finish lines are at Homewood City Hall. 2nd Annual Tailgate Festival & Turkey Toss 10am-5pm, Gardendale Civic Center. Gardendale’s tailgate charity drive benefiting Christmas Visions 205-400-6595, www.

Free Classes from Magic City Chess U 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library, second floor. Learn to play or improve your play in these free classes. 205-8622018, http://magiccitychessu. FREE.

String Theory in Concert 7-9pm, Leeds Theatre and Arts Center. String Theory, an instrumental pop group, plays an eclectic mix of songs from every genre and some original songs. Great for a date night or a night out with friends. 205699-1892. Fee.

Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Preschool children will go on a shape hunt with Anwen. We will go through the garden hunting for shapes and discussing why plants grow that way. 205-540-6642, www. FREE.

7 Friday

Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. Drop into this art program for kids and families to make art with Bart! This month, create a flag that represents you!

Off the Charts: Music of ABBA, Motown & The Beatles 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. Travel through time with the sounds of the ASFA Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble as they perform timeless classics. 205458-0360,

Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS) 9:30-11:30am, Pelham First Baptist Church. Mothers Of PreSchoolers or MOPS International exists to meet the needs of every mom. Free child care is provided. fbcpelhammops@ FREE.

Alabama School of Fine Arts Open House for Prospective Students 9am-12pm, Alabama School of Fine Arts. The Alabama School of Fine Arts will hold its annual Open House for prospective students. Information sessions about the school’s six programs (creative writing, dance, music, theatre arts, visual arts and math and science) will begin promptly at 9am, 10am and 11am. No reservation is necessary. Parents of students in grades 6-10 are encouraged to attend if they would like to learn more about the school and audition requirements for the 2015-2016 school year. 205-252-9241 x 2230, www. FREE. Free Classes from Magic City Chess U 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library. See November 1. Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A member of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens educational staff will take preschool children and their families on a hands-on educational adventure through the gardens. 205-540-6642, www. FREE. Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. See November 1.

9 Sunday The Footprints Ministry Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser 2-4pm, Oak Mountain Lanes. Join in on the fun and help the Footprints Ministry share the love of Christ. Registration in-

Events may change after publication, deadline; please phone ahead to confirm important information. The deadline for submitting calendar items for the Dec. 2014 and Jan. 2015 issue is Nov. 3. Mail calendar items to: Calendar, Birmingham Parent, 3590B Hwy 31 S #289, Pelham, AL 35124; fax to 987-7600; e-mail to; or enter directly to the online calendar at www.birminghamparent. com. Entries added online after the print deadline will not appear in the print version. Information cannot be accepted over the phone. Birmingham Parent publishes a calendar 11 times a year. January events are included in the December issue. Guidelines: Birmingham Parent’s calendar is designed to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fund-raisers, free classes, etc., are events that may be included in our monthly calendar. We reserve the right to reject any event or listing due to rules or space restrictions. For questions regarding calendar entries, call 987-7700. 22 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Calendar sponsored by

cludes 2 games, shoe rental and 2014 Footprints Bowl-athon T-shirt. 205-281-3946, http://footprintsministry. info/events/bowl-a-thonfundraiser.

10 Monday Magic City Toastmasters Open House 6pm, Trinity Medical Center. Are you looking to improve your communication and leadership skills? Come visit Alabama’s oldest Toastmasters Club. 205-913-8303, http://572.toastmastersclubs. org/. FREE. Neurobiology of Suicide: Relevance to Diagnosis and Treatment 6:30pm, Hoover Public Library. The UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center presents Neuroscience Café: Yogesh Dwivedi, Ph.D.,professor, department of psychiatry, and director, Translational Neuroscience, and Nina Kraguljac, M.D, M.A., department of psychiatry will present this informative program. 205-444-7840, http:// FREE. Veterans Day at the Birmingham Zoo Birmingham Zoo. In honor of this special holiday, all active and retired military personnel and their dependents will receive FREE admission on November 11.

11 Tuesday

VETERANS DAY National Veterans Day Parade 1:30 p.m. Starting at 18th Street and Eighth Avenue North. Ends at 19th Street and Eight Avenue North. Home of America’s first Veterans Day and the largest parade in the country. http:// Veterans Day at the Birmingham Zoo Birmingham Zoo. In honor of this special holiday, all active and retired military personnel and their dependents will receive FREE admission on November 11.

14 Friday Christmas Arts and Crafts Show 9am-6pm, Gardendale Civic Center. The North Arts Council presents over 65 vendors with a wide variety of handmade crafts including pottery, children’s clothing, jewelry, purses, home décor and one of a kind gifts. Door prizes given away every hour. Pictures made with Santa on Saturday 9am to 3 pm for $10 www.northartscouncil.webs. com/. FREE.

15 Saturday Christmas Arts and Crafts Show 9am-4pm, Gardendale Civic Center. See December 14. Calera Christmas Market 10am-4pm, Calera First UMC, 6107 Hwy. S. Come get your Christmas shopping done early at the Calera Christmas Market. Lots of great vendors with wonderful selections for all your gift giving needs. Come dressed to get your Christmas photos made. FREE. Free Classes from Magic City Chess U 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library. See November 1. Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Go on a magical storytelling hike with Fresh Air Family’s Verna Gates. Are there fairies and dragons in the Gardens? We will be on the lookout! Fairy house building to follow. 205-5406642, www.freshairfamily. org. FREE.


SANTA SPECIAL SATURDAYS Nov. 29 Dec. 6, 13 & 20 11am & 2pm

Take a train ride with Santa and tell him what you would like for Christmas! Special gift for each child! Bring your camera for a photo with Santa!

For Tickets and Information: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum 1919 9th St., Calera, AL 35040 205-757-8383

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Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. See November 1.

16 Sunday Audubon Teaches Nature: Bird Coloration-Understanding the Beauty of Birds 1:30-4pm, Alabama Wildlife Center. Guest speaker Geoff Hill’s program will address everything you ever wanted to know about coloration in

erin nelson, d.d.s family dentistry 3825 Lorna Road, Suite 206, Hoover, Alabama 35244 205-988-9800 . | 23



birds, adding a new dimension to your birding in the field. Be sure to bring your binoculars for a bird walk after the program. 205-663-7930, x4, www. FREE.


17 Monday

Upscale Children’s Clothing



Color in the Winter Landscape 6:30pm, Hoover Library. From flowers to evergreens, fight the drab winter days with a punch of color. Presented by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. 205-444-7840, FREE.

18 Tuesday

32 yrs in hours: TU-SA 10-4 business



Science Cafe presents: The Science of Meteorology 6-8pm, John’s City Diner. Join other science geeks (and science novices) for an exciting presentation, lively discussion and a little science trivia at the Birmingham Science Cafe every third Tuesday at John’s City Diner in downtown Birmingham. Speaker: J.P. Dice, meteorologist, Fox 6. 205-7148414, FREE. Family Holiday Manners Mash Up 6:15-7:30pm, Albert Scott (Alabaster) City Library Meeting Room. Get ready for the holidays with etiquette expert Kathie Martin of the Etiquette School of Birmingham. This is for the whole family to learn by enjoying a simple meal before the holidays. Find out: American dining style vs. Continental dining style, what is acceptable to eat with your hands, appropriate conversation at the table, and more. Registration required. 205.664.6822, FREE.

20 Thursday Dr. Tabitha Jarman Gatrey, DMD

5751 Pocahontas Rd. Suite B Bessemer, AL 35022 p 205-230-9000 f 205-230-0188

Pete the Cat Book Club 4pm, Albert Scott (Alabaster) Library Meeting Room. Boys and girls can join in the fun of cool cats, reading, and more during our meeting. Children age 6 and younger must be with an adult. 205.664.6822, FREE. Alabama Family Rights Association 6pm, Hoover Public Library. Guest speaker: Family law attorney Austin Burdick,. Topics: The difference between the

24 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Calendar sponsored by

“best interest of the child” and “McLendon Rule” in family law; why the Alabama Supreme Court ruling overturning the 1989 decision requiring noncustodial parents to pay college costs for adult is significant for family law reform supporters; how to put parenting decisions back in the hands of parents during a custody situation; and benefits of standard visitation vs. parenting plans. FREE.

21 Friday Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS)-Pelham First Baptist 9:30-11:30am, Pelham First Baptist Church. See November 7. Soul of November 7:30pm, Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. Enjoy a feast of classical ballet and contemporary choreography styles performed by ASFA’s talented dancers and musicians. 205-458-0360,

22 Saturday

Free Classes from Magic City Chess U 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library. See November 1.

22 Saturday Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A member of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens educational staff will take pre-school children and their families on a hands-on educational adventure through the gardens. 205-540-6642, www. FREE. Flora Pearl Foundation’s 3rd Annual Matters of the Heart 10am-2pm, Faith Chapel Christian Center. Alabama’s premier event focuses on overall wellness and positive relationships between mothers and daughters. The day will include brunch, relationshipbuilding workshops, cosmetic and apparel vendors for attendees, and live music/dance performances. 205-821-2474, http://mattersoftheheart2014. Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. See November 1.

Soul of November 7:30pm Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. See November 21.

23 Sunday United Way Food Drive at the Birmingham Zoo Birmingham Zoo. Help the Zoo give back to the community this fall with the annual United Way Food Drive. Admission half price with nonperishable or canned food donation, one per person. Soul of November 2:30pm Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. See November 21.

24 Monday United Way Food Drive at the Birmingham Zoo Birmingham Zoo. See November 23.

25 Tuesday Legos 4-4:45pm, Albert Scott Alabaster City Library. Kids of all ages are thankful for Legos of all sizes. Come for free play and make new buddies in the meeting room. Kids age 6 years old and younger must be with an adult. 205-664-6822. FREE.

29 Saturday Free Classes from Magic City Chess U 10am-12pm, Birmingham Public Library. See November 1. Hikes for Tykes with Fresh Air Family 10am Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Pre-school children will go on a shape hunt with Anwen! We will go through the garden hunting for shapes and discussing why plants grow that way. 205-540-6642, FREE. Bart’s Art Cart 11am-1pm, Birmingham Museum of Art. See November 1.w

The December issue of Birmingham Parent will contain both the December and January 2015 calendars. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 3.

Aldridge Botanical Gardens 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. 205-6828019, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame 1631 Fourth Ave. N., Birmingham. 205-254-2731, Alabama School of Fine Arts 1800 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd. Alabama Sports Hall of Fame 2150 Richard Arrington Blvd. N., Birmingham. 323-6665, www. Alabama Wildlife Center 100 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-663-7930. Albert L Scott Alabaster Public Library Tunes & Tales: Wednesdays at 3:30pm in Library Meeting Room Toddler Tales: Fridays at 10:30am in the Library Meeting Room Lego League: Tuesdays 4-4:45pm 100 9th Street NW, Alabaster, AL, 35007. 205-664-6822, American Village Highway 119, Montevallo. 205-6653535, Barber Motorsports Park 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds. 205-298-9040, Birmingham Botanical Gardens Be sure to download the treasure map to take with you! treasuremapforweb.pdf 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. 205-414-3900, www.

Birmingham Children’s Theatre 1001 19th St. North, Birmingham, AL, 35203, 205-458-8181, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Artistic Perseverance. BCRI presents the hidden collection of internationally known artist Steve R. Skipper through December 31 in BCRI’s Odessa Woolfolk Gallery. Wonders of the Universe. BCRI presents a collection which contrasts everyday living scenes with the grandeur and magnificence of natural, supernatural and galactic art by James Dean, Jr., through Jan 11, 2015 in BCRI’s Vann Gallery. 16th St. N., Birmingham. 205-328-9696, Birmingham Museum of Art 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-254-2565, Birmingham Zoo In-park Special Attractions Giraffe Feeding & Keeper Chat, Saturday & Sunday 11am-12pm & 2-3pm, $3.00. See Griffin, the first giraffe born in a North American accredited Zoo in 2014! Sea Lion Training, Daily 10am & 2pm Predator Zone, Saturday & Sunday 11:30am & 3:30pm 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham. 205-879-0409, Heart of Dixie ailroad Museum 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205-668-3435,

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McWane Science Center Fall Into Science. Fall is in the air! Get lost in our Corny Maze, complete with corn stalks and some seriously silly science jokes or take a ride down the giant slide. Through November 19. The Magic of Model Trains. The holidays are picking up steam with the return of the Magic of Model Trains exhibit. Discover trains of every shape and size.. Through January 11, 2015. Winter Wonderland. Bring your family to the most magical place around this holiday season. The Zip Line will be even longer this year as visitors fly through the air. The Ice Slide allows kids and grown-ups alike to take the plunge down a 40 foot tube slide. The McWane Train will double in size this year as it takes kids on a holiday-themed ride around 200 feet of track. Through January 11, 2015. IMAX Movies: JERUSALEM. Explore for the first time in IMAX this crossroads of civilization and faith. The film conveys the story of Jerusalem in all its beauty and diversity. Through November 26. TO THE ARCTIC. An extraordinary journey to the top of the world, this documentary adventure tells the ultimate tale of survival. Through April 30, 2015. ISLAND OF LEMURS: MADAGASCAR. Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby, Dolphin Tale) narrates the IMAX documentary Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, the incredible true story of nature’s greatest explorers—lemurs. Through January 8, 2015. 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205-714-8300,

Coming soon to Birmingham Parent’s FACEBOOK & TWITTER

Moss Rock Preserve Preserve Parkway, Hoover. 205-739-7141, Oak Mountain State Park 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-620-2520, Pepper Place Saturday Market Shop at the market for all of your holiday meal and handmade gifts from local artisans. Pepper Place Market was founded in 2000 as a way to bring the community together to buy fresh, local produce and help area farmers at the same time. Every Saturday, 7am-12pm through December 13. Rain or shine! http:// 2829 Second Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35233. 205-802-2100 Ruffner Mountain Nature Center 1214 81st St. S., Birmingham. 205-833-8264, Southern Museum of Flight 4343 73rd St. N., Birmingham. 205-833-8226, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla. 205-477-5711, Vulcan Park 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409,


Ask the Expert Watch for information about who the expert will be and the topic each week.

Each Thurs. afternoon/evening, an expert will take over Birmingham Parent’s Facebook page and answer your questions for an hour! Questions about healthcare, nutrition, education, tutoring, special needs and more will be answered by our experts. Want to participate as one of our experts? Contact your account executive or call 205-987-7700, or email

Use of these services is subject to the Terms of Use and accompanying policies at | 25

events & attractions

events & attractions

Calendar sponsored by

Creating Family Legacies at Thanksgìving By Carolyn Tomlin


fter years of preparing the Thanksgiving turkey, I recall with laughter my fi rst attempt at cooking the traditional bird. As a new bride and wanting to impress my husband and our

Not a word was spoken, until an honest 5-year-old nephew announced in a loud voice, “This turkey tastes awful! What did you do to it?” families, I invited the relatives for dinner. Although I knew my way around the kitchen and could prepare many recipes, I had never attempted to thaw a

26 | birminghamparent | november 2014

frozen turkey – much less cook an 18-pound monster. As the clan gathered at the table, all eyes were on the beautiful brown fowl. Being the perfect host, my husband started carving the roasted bird. The fi rst thought of a problem occurred when my mother took her fi rst bite, looked at my father, and rolled her eyes. Soon, others followed. Not a word was spoken, until an honest 5-yearold nephew announced in a loud voice, “Th is turkey tastes awful! What did you do to it?” By that time, the carving revealed the cause of the bitter taste. I didn’t know about the

paper bag of giblets inside the cavity! Thank goodness I had prepared lots of dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans and cranberry salad! Each Thanksgiving, my kin reminds me of that fi rst fiasco of preparing the traditional bird. Your table may not look like the traditional Norman Rockwell painting, but today’s modern families still should create their own legacies. How do you create legacies that will be handed down to the younger generation? Perhaps some of the following will work for you. Try some of these and add your own original creations.

Design simple invitations. Who will you invite? Provide colored paper and markers. Preschoolers can draw a table with food with an invitation to attend Thanksgiving dinner. Older children can create their own design. Assist with addressing an envelope and mailing, if needed. Include children in menu planning. Allow each child to suggest a favorite food – even a snack for the special meal. Grocery shop together. As you shop, identify whole foods by name and category as to fruit, vegetable, dairy, grains or meat. Mention the richness of colors and variety of shapes. For example, say, “Please put eight sweet potatoes in the buggy. Or, we need six yellow lemons.” Think of the grocery store as a place to teach as you have fun with your kids. (Suggestion: Shop mid-morning as stores are less crowded and children are less tired.) Food preparation. Think about your menu and decide the areas youngsters can safely participate, such as removing grapes from the stems and washing, filling celery sticks with pimento cheese spread with a plastic knife or crumbling cornbread for the

dressing. Beware of hot stoves and sharp knives. Make simple decorations and set the table. Holidays should be for everyone! This means including children when you decorate the dining table. If you have a children’s table, include this also. Our family plans an outing to the country to gather dried materials a week or so before the big day. Back roads and fences often contain dried materials appropriate for the season. Farmers markets sell apples and a variety of local nuts. Using sprigs of natural greenery, dried materials, apples and nuts with a few candles make for inexpensive decorations and one in which children can participate. The main purpose is to have fun together as a family. It’s a memory children can carry over to adult years when they have youngsters of their own. For another child-friendly decoration, insert bare branches into a flower pot and secure with pebbles. Using seasonal colored construction paper, trace around fall leaves and cut out. Ask each person who attends your meal to write their name on a leaf and one word that describes something they are

thankful for. Designate a child to be responsible for attaching the leaf to a branch with a bit of tape. If you’re using fine china and crystal, you may want to handle this yourself. However, teach children how to place the knife, fork and spoon. Where does the napkin go? Where do you place the water or tea glass? Share family stories for a lasting legacy. Encourage your clan to share stories, perhaps those handed down from your ancestors. Encourage everyone to say at least one thing for which they are thankful. Start by offering your own thanksgiving blessings. Go around the table and ask everyone to mention a special blessing this year. Ask someone to lead your family in a special prayer, thanking God for his goodness to your kin.

Carolyn Tomlin is the co-author of The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister. She teaches writing for the magazine market. Email:

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE In memory of my Aunt Jessie, this dish is served at each Thanksgiving dinner. Ingredients: 8 c. sweet potatoes 1 tsp. salt 1½ c. sugar 1 stick margarine 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 2 c. miniature marshmallows Mash cooked potatoes until smooth. Add other ingredients. Spread evenly in baking dish and bake in oven at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add marshmallows to top. Bake until brown. Serve warm.

MAKE A PINE CONE TURKEY Gobble, gobble – it’s turkey time! Involve the kids in this simple table decoration. Materials: Dry pine cones Orange or brown construction paper Hot glue gun Bread basket filled with colored leaves Directions: Cut a simple turkey head and wings from construction paper. Use a hot glue gun to attach the pieces to the pinecone (adult handles glue gun.) Place turkeys on a bed of leaves in the bread basket.




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ask the specialist

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How Can I Save Lives by Donating Umbilical Cord Blood?

By Ashley Tamucci, MD


Ashley Tamucci, MD, is an OB/GYN with Brookwood Medical Center.

everal years ago one of my pregnant patients asked, “Can I donate my umbilical cord blood to a patient in need of bone marrow transplant?” I had no idea. As a nurse on the oncology floor at Children’s of Alabama, she desperately wanted to donate her umbilical cord blood to a child fighting cancer. She had experienced the devastation of losing pediatric patients to lymphoma and leukemia before they were able to get their bone marrow transplants, and most of these children could not fi nd suitable donors in time. We both knew that mothers could collect cord blood for personal use, but this collection was associated with a substantial fee and the specimen was kept frozen in case a family member was diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma. After extensive research, my patient and I identified a way to donate her cord blood, but there were some limitations to this process. Since she delivered on a weekend when no couriers were available, her specimen could not be donated. The process was also limited to very motivated patients who had to fi ll out lots of paperwork ahead of time, and were responsible for bringing the collection kit to the hospital with them. Imagine trying to remember the collection kit when contractions are every three minutes. I am so happy to announce that cord blood donation is now available at Brookwood Medical Center! Brookwood is the fi rst hospital in Birmingham to partner with LifeCord, a division of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, and offer a seamless umbilical cord blood donation process. Once a patient signs consent forms in Labor and Delivery, the doctor collects the blood from the umbilical cord after the baby has been delivered and the cord has been clamped. LifeCord then processes the donation and submits it into a national bone marrow registry program called Be the Match. The blood is matched to recipients all over the country. There is no expense to donors or recipients. The paperwork, consents and collection Interested in cord blood kits are available around the clock in any of our labor and delivery donation at Brookwood? Talk suites. It’s so easy! to your OB/GYN at your next I was initially inspired by visit about the opportunity to one of my patient’s trying to save leukemia and lymphoma patients. save countless lives. Ironically, the same month we began meeting with LifeCord, my best friend was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Talk about divine intervention. Now my inspiration is personal. I am more motivated than ever to make this program a success as a tribute to my very brave best friend who lost her battle to lymphoma. I’m driven by all the other patients out there fighting leukemia and lymphoma. Interested in cord blood donation at Brookwood? Talk to your OB/ GYN at your next visit about the opportunity to save countless lives.

Send us your questions for "Ask the Specialist" at No personal replies are sent.

28 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Celebrations Birthdays in Birmingham


Celebrating over 20 years of blockbuster fun! Outdoor movies for private parties, churches, schools & large-scale events.

Your local birthday party resource Loved by Parents since 1997 Places to Go  Entertainment Party Supplies & Rentals  Facilities  Coupons

You name it. We can do it! 205-595-3549

Advertise here! for as little as $195/month Call 205-987-7700 or email for details. 205-527-2134

Congrats to Bobbieann Cooke who will be 13 on Nov. 12 As the winner, she will receive 25 tickets to McWane Science Center Adventure Halls

Pick up the 2015 issue of Birmingham Parent's all-year resource guide, The Guide, starting Dec. 29, 2014. If you would like your kid to be a Birthday Kids contestant, complete and send this form, along with a recent photograph of your child (photos will not be returned) to Birthday Kids, Birmingham Parent, 3590-B Hwy. 31 S., #289, Pelham, AL 35124. Child must be 13 and under to win. By entering, contestants and their parents or legal guardians release the photo to Birmingham Parent with no further obligation to Birmingham Parent, and give consent to Birmingham Parent to reproduce and publish any photographs submitted whether or not the entry is chosen as the winner. All entries must be signed by parent/guardian. Employees of Evans Publishing and contest sponsors are not eligible. Dec entries much be received by Nov 12, 2014. Entries can be sent ahead for later months.

Child’s Name _______________________________________________ Child’s Age __________ Birthday ______________________________ Address ___________________________________________________ City _______________________________ Zip ____________________ Phone _____________________________________________________

It's the list of contacts, websites, times, emergency numbers - everything you need, all year! Advertisers, call 205-987-7700 or to be included.

Email _____________________________________________________ Parent/Guardian Signature __________________________________ | 29

The Adoption Option: OPENING DOORS, BUILDING A FAMILY By Malia Jacobson


hen it comes to adoption, there’s no such thing as “normal.” Just ask Christina and Kevin Kindt. The couple just had their biological child in August, but they’re already parents to three other children – five-year-old Elizabeth and three-year-old Natalie, both adopted as infants from foster care, and a one-year-old boy (name withheld), whose adoption from foster care is still in progress. Though not the typical family, the Kindts are far from alone. According to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, two percent of American children are adopted. That means adoption touches many families, schools and communities across the country. Modern adoptive parents and children won’t encounter many of the old stigmas and biases that used to besiege adoptions. Not long ago, “You’re adopted!” was the ultimate childhood insult, birth mothers were shamed into hiding the pregnancy and lying about the birth, and adoptive parents kept the matter a closely guarded family secret. After being shrouded in silence and secrecy for most of its history, adoption is coming out of the shadows, becoming more mainstream and more open, according to Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming our Families — and America. 30 | birminghamparent | november 2014

But would-be adoptive parents still face challenges, including choosing which type of adoption to pursue, figuring out how to pay mounting fees and navigating the exploding world of online adoption information. One thing is clear: though every adoption journey is unique, adoption as an institution is becoming less the exception, and more the norm, all the time. OPENING DOORS:  Adoption comes out of the shadows Because states are not required to record the number of private, domestic adoptions, it’s hard to pinpoint just how many children are adopted each year. In 1992, the last year this type of data was compiled, the Donaldson Institute reported that nearly 127,000 children were adopted in the U.S., including those adopted domestically, internationally, out of foster care, and by step-parents (which account for 42 percent of all domestic adoptions). All told, there are more than 1.5 million adopted children in the U.S. The Donaldson Institute’s 1997 survey (the most recent one available) found nearly 60 percent of Americans have a personal connection to adoption, by knowing someone who has been adopted, adopted a child, or has placed their child with an adoptive family. And because so many adoptions have been veiled in secrecy, the real figure is likely much higher, since many families kept adop-

tions hidden, and many adoptees didn’t know they were adopted. Those types of secrets are dying out, though. Today, only 5 percent of modern adoptions are “closed adoptions” in which the birth parents and adoptive parents have no contact and birth records are sealed, and 95 percent of agencies offer open adoptions, which allow for ongoing contact between the adoptive family and the birth parents. Open adoptions are associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process for all participants, data shows. Birth mothers who have ongoing contact with their children through open adoption experience less grief and greater peace of mind. And adoptees have access to their biological families and medical histories. In international adoptions, ongoing contact between birth parents and adopted children can be harder to arrange, due to logistics, language barriers, and a host of legal and other complications. But those, too, are slowly cracking open. FAMILIES WITHOUT BORDERS: International adoptions International adoption can be a good option for families seeking an infant (nearly half of the children adopted internationally are infants and 90 percent are under five, according to the Donaldson Institute). But those who dream of international adoption face a number of hurdles: first, choosing an adoption site from a dwindling list of countries open to U.S. adoptions. Under tighter regulations, the number of international adoptions appear to be tapering off: after reaching a historic high of 22.884 children in 2004. In 2009, the number was 12,753. Russia, one of the top countries of origin for American parents adopting internationally, is now closed to prospective parents in the U.S. Guatemala, Haiti, Rwanda, and Vietnam are also on the “closed” list, while China and Ethiopia have cut international adoptions drastically and stretched waiting times for adoptive parents, according to Lori Ingber, Ph.D., president and founder of Parent Match, a national database and intereactive search too for U.S. adoption professionals. The waiting game adds to the mounting costs involved in adopting internationally as attorney and agency fees pile up over the course of months and years. The Donaldson Institute reports that parents adopting internationally can expect costs up to $25,000 for visas, immigration documents, agency costs, and program fees charged by the home country. That does not include travel or time/wages lost from work.

HOME SWEET HOME: Domestic adoptions While wait times for some international adoptions can stretch out for years, domestic adoptions can be relatively swift. According to Adoptive Families magazine, 34 percent of U.S. parents adopting a newborn domestically were matched with a child within three months; 19 percent brought their baby home within four to six months. Couples who choose to adopt domestically have several options: private (or “independent”) adoptions through an attorney or an adoption facilitator, adopting through an agency, or adopting through the foster-care system (sometimes called “public adoption”). How can prospective parents choose which type of domestic adoption to pursue? One factor is cost. Agency and private adoptions are the more expensive. The Donaldson Institute pegs domestic adoption costs for agency and private adoptions at $4,000 to $30,000. It’s a wide range that includes costs for home studies, post-adoption supervision, and court fees. Another factor is the age of the prospective adoptee. The Kindt family’s experience notwithstanding, newborn adoptions through the foster system are relatively rare. Only two percent of children adopted through the public system are newborns, according to the Donaldson Institute. Thanks in part of federal financial incentives enacted during the Clinton administration, public sector (foster care) adoptions increased 40 percent between 1995-1998, by 2008, 55,000 children were adopted from foster care. Foster care adoptions aren’t as prohibitively expensive as other types of adoption – there are no agency fees, legal fees are often minimal and reimbursed by the state, and parents can claim the adoption tax credit (as can parents adopting internationally or through an agency or attorney). Building a family The first step for couples considering adoption: talk to others who have adopted, advises Lori Ingber, Ph.D., president and founder of Parent Match. “Ask them which agency they used, or which attorney. Ask them about their experience. Talk to as many people as you can.” Choose an adoption attorney or facilitator with significant experience with adoptions, she notes – not a friend of a friend who practices law but doesn’t specialize in adoption. Take advantage of the Internet’s expansive power for research, referrals, information, and support – many agencies now have Facebook pages where prospective parents can ask questions, share victories, and support each other through tough days. Most importantly, parents should follow their heart to build a family that’s uniquely their own. The Kindts may not be a cookie-cutter clan, but that doesn’t bother their happy children in the least. Instead, Elizabeth is puzzling over her new brother’s birth. “Adoption is so normal to her, that she’s trying to figure out why this baby doesn’t need to be adopted,” says Christina. “One day, she figured it out, though, and told everyone ‘We have a new baby. And he’s already adopted!’” Malia Jacobson is an award-winning health and parenting journalist and mom of three. Her latest book is Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades.

Where all the dental needs of your child can be met under one roof!

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Ride the Train with SANTA! Every child receives a gift!




Nov. 29 Dec. 6, 13 & 20 11am & 2pm

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

1919 9th St., Calera, AL 35040 205-757-8383 •

Nutcracker Ornaments 10



Perfect gift for teacher, Secret Santa or for the dancer in your family! 1629 Oxmoor Road Birmingham, AL 35209 205-871-STEP


Birmingham Museum of Art


holiday happenings

AdforGiftGuideBParent.indd 1

10/10/14 4:21 PM

Get in the holiday spirit with Birmingham Parent and this great guide to let area families know about all the celebrations and worship services for the holidays in December and early January. Spread the news about your event here! Listing is $150 as a standalone purchase and free with any regular display ad in December. Deadline is Nov. 13, 2014 to submit via email ( or fax 205-987-7600.





Delivered to your friend’s mailbox! For just $36 a year.

205-987-7700 32 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Name ____________________________________________ Address __________________________________________ Phone ________________ Email ______________________ Website __________________________________________ Event day/time _______________________ Fee__________ 25 word description (longer will be edited down): __________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ MC___ VISA___ AMEX___ DISCOVER___ Exp. Date Credit Card Number ________________________________ Signature for CC ___________________________________

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NOW BACK AT BROOKWOOD VILLAGE Booths & Sponsorships available call now! 205-987-7700 or | 33

A Page in a Book




By Gerry P. Smith

THE BEST HOUND IN THE HOUSE Since prehistoric times, dogs have occupied an important place in the lives of humans, both as working partners and as beloved members of the family. Th is millennia-old connection continues as today’s children still anticipate the moment when they can fi nd the best dog companion to bring home. Healthy partnerships between children and their dog(s) provide kids with a dependable partner who offers unconditional love, active play and loyalty that lasts for the duration of their time together. For children who dream of fi nding and adopting a perfect puppy pal, the following titles address both the responsibilities and the rewards that come with canine companionship.

Froggy Gets a Doggy By Jonathan London, Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz (Viking/ Penguin)

A Perfect Place for Ted By Leila Rudge (Candlewick)

Ted has been overlooked for adoption in the pet store for so long that he fi nally decides he must venture out to fi nd his own place to belong – a place where he is wanted. In an effort to be noticed, he joins the circus and stands on popcorn boxes, but the trained trapeze dogs get all the cheers. Ted enters a pet pageant, but he can’t compete with the pampered poodles. But just when Ted is about to give up on fi nding his place to belong, he sees a young girl posting a wanted notice for a furry friend (preferably one who enjoys long walks and ball games). Delightful pencil, ink and collage illustrations will charm readers as they follow Ted’s journey to be noticed and to fi nd his forever home. 34 | birminghamparent | november 2014

Froggy’s mother has promised him that he can adopt a pet and he knows exactly what he wants. Mother thinks a bunny or mice are ideal because they are easier to care for. But Froggy knows with all his heart he needs a dog. His mom tries to dissuade him, explaining all the responsibilities that come with a dog. But Froggy is convinced that he’s up to the challenge if it means he can adopt the perfect pet. When Doggy comes home with Froggy, he learns that love is just one of the things that a new doggy needs to adjust to a new family. From obedience training to “scooping up after,” Froggy Gets a Doggy offers a humorous insight into the real commitment needed to bring a dog into the family – and the real joy that comes with fi nding the best canine companion!

Mogie: The Heart of the House By Kathi Appelt, Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal ( Simon & Schuster)

In a very special house where sick children and their families stay during treatment at the nearby hospital, there are only a few rules (healthy eating, peace and quiet, and no puppies). In a neighboring house is a family of almost-grown puppies that are all leaving the litter as service animals, search-and-rescue helpers and show dogs. All except Mogie; he isn’t suited for any of those jobs. Adventurous Mogie wanders out into the neighborhood and discovers the very special house with sick children. Mogie can’t read the rules, but he CAN figure out just what kind of companionship each child needs to help them get well. Adapted from the true story of Mogie, the therapy dog at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, this gentle tale celebrates the power of companionship between child and dog to strengthen the hearts of both.

Starting November 14th ~ Visits and Photos With Santa Available Daily

Santa is located near the Brookwood Village Food Court. Check website for schedule.

Join Our Brookwood Village Mobile Club. Text BROOKWOOD to 444222 for special holiday savings, news & prize opportunities!

Follow Us on Facebook for Black Friday Happenings & Specials! | 35












Young Athletes

& Proper Nutrition


JUNE 2013

The Magic of a Disney Cruise

TRADITIONS Ho-Ho Hanukkah! How to Balance Hanukkah and Christmas

The 2013 Mini Holiday


Announcing our


Gift Ideas

for Dad 2013 FAMILY FAVORITESAwards Winners

HE R E’S YOU R CH A NCE! The search is on to find fresh faces & smiles to light up Birmingham Parent magazine covers in 2014!

CATE GORIE S : Ages 0-2 • Ages 3-5 • Ages 6-11 Special Needs (all ages) • Multiples HOW TO ENTE R : Visit Submit one personal photo no more than 3 months old (no professional photos please, and no make up) First child’s fee is $25, and each additional child in the immediate family is $10 each. (Only $25 per entry in multiples category.) Finalists will be chosen, then voted on online. Winners chosen will be on a cover in 2015. All entries must be received by Dec. 31, 2014. Finalists may be featured on main covers or specialty publication covers at the Publisher’s discretion. Former cover kids winners cannot be considered. A portion of the proceeds from Cover Kids Search will be donated to the American Red Cross.

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SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2015, 10 A.M.-3 P.M. L I N C P O I N T AT U C P, H O M E W O O D Great information for parents and caregivers of children with special needs, from the cognitive to physically challenged, meeting with providers of special products and services, speakers to educate and inform, as well as after school activities, sports, education, camps and more! All under one roof! Fun zone, too, for children to enjoy.

Booths available for nominal registration fee for qualifying special needs providers. Sponsorships also available for any business or service. For booth information or sponsorship info call 205-987-7700, e-mail or visit | 37

death by children

PAUSEAHOLICS By Bull Garlington

Your addiction to pausing the DVR has affected my life in the following ways...


need to have an extravention. It’s like an intervention, where I gather the family together to solve an addiction. Except instead of them reading their sad, poorly punctuated letter to me, I will pull a crumpled paper from my pocket and read this heartfelt note: Your addiction to pausing the DVR has affected my life in the following ways . . . Because my family is addicted. They can’t watch anything without a disproportionate level of pausing. They pause commercials. They pause movie credits. Yesterday, my son paused static. But they can’t help themselves. They are affl icted with a terrible, terrible disease: I live with ... It’s bad enough I’m being forced to watch the very dregs of television. My daughter makes me watch “Deadly Women,” my wife forces “Teen Mom 2” down my throat, and the boy infl icts the sheer hyperkinetic terror of “Adventure Time” on my sensitive palate. I can deal with bad TV – I grew up in the ‘70s, so trust me: I’ve watched at least one episode of “Love Boat.” It’s the pausing I can’t take. It takes my family three hours to watch “Hoarders.” They turn a 30-second commercial into a 10-hour miniseries. I swear if they hit pause again, I’m going to throw the remote into the blender. My family are pause-aholics. There is no cure. It’s not just the pausing that sends me into a conniption, it’s the implications. If I walk into the living room, the girl will hit pause until I sit down. Now this might sound like a conscientious act, but the glare on her face and the white-knuckling of the remote tell a different story. I’m a giant intrusion, a Godzilla attack on the Tokyo of her television experience. The boy is worse. For him, “Supernatural” is not divided into

episodes but into lessons on the occult. His constant pausing to Google the names of demons and the titles of musty old tomes turns a 44-minute glorified Scooby Doo into a decalogue only an angry Russian ex-patriate philosopher could ever hope to fi nish. My constant gasps of incredulity get me nowhere with these people. They are children of the future, and in the future, there is no such thing as continuity, and suspension of disbelief can be as fractured as the lives of the intolerable cretins they can’t get enough of on “16 and Pregnant,” “Animal Hoarders,” and “I Used to Be Fat.” I tried to institute a no-pause clause but was met with jeers of protest. My daughter actually playedpaused-played as she explained, “You’re pause-play so old-pause-you think pause play-pause only come on bears and-pause-dogs-play.” I tried to rattle off a snappy retort but she wouldn’t give me the remote and just turned the volume up until I left the room. It’s insidious. We were driving to the store to get batteries for the remote, arguing about the fate of Egypt, when she tried to pause the radio to make a point. When it didn’t work, she rolled her eyes as if the car was at fault for not coming with a pause button. It scares me because if she’s my Star Trek Future baby, then her every complaint about my antediluvian tech is an indication of what kind of head-swiveling technology I’ll be trying to figure out when I’m old. I cannot imagine the sheer incalculable death stats that will rack up when they can fi nally pause radio. I’ll just drive directly off a cliff and save myself the aggravation – although I’m sure, halfway down, the girl will pause me midair to ask me to get her a Coke on the way home.

Christopher “Bull” Garlington is a syndicated humor writer and a Birmingham native. His first book, by the same name as his column, is available at

38 | birminghamparent | november 2014

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Birmingham Parent Magazine - November 2014  

Inside this issue: Choosing the Adoption Option, how to choose a private school, and creating a family legacy this Thanksgiving.

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