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THE MAGAZINE PARENTS LIVE BY IN DENTON COUNT Y

FAMILY OUTINGS IN DECEMBER

D E C E M B E R 2017

WHAT TO DO THIS

WINTER BREAK PUPPY LOVE: GETTING YOUR FIRST FAMILY DOG

CAN’TMISS DATE NIGHTS MEET OUR MOM NEXT DOOR

SHARN BARBARIN

specia l ad

ion g sect : isin t r ve

*

family vacation planning

WITHOUT A HOME HOW TO HELP THE HOMELESS FAMILIES LIVING AMONGST US


SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY

Sports Medicine Expertise in Plano We’re champions at helping kids get back in the game–whether it’s on the field, gridiron, playground or court. With more than 95 years of experience, our specialists are world-renowned for pediatric orthopedics. We’re uniquely qualified to treat sports-related injuries to help developing athletes reach their full potential. scottishritesports.org | 469-515-7100

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pages / D E C E M B E R

2017

THE RICHARDS GROUP TRG JOB #: TSC-17-4012 CLIENT: TSRHC TITLE: Serious About Play PUB: North Texas Child TRIM: 8.25 x 10.75 LIVE: 7.25 x 9.625 BLEED: 8.75 x 11.25 COLOR: CMYK FOR QUESTIONS CALL: Karen Newman 214.891.5875

FEATURE 18 The Invisible Ones

Despite a thriving local economy, the number of homeless families and children in North Texas continues to rise. words Leslie J. Thompson

DEPARTMENTS NOTED 7 Homeward Hound

What to think about before getting a family dog

REAL MOMS 11 Mom Next Door / Sharn Barbarin The CEO and mom of two shares her favorite food and sports spots around town

14 Datebook

Happenings that are perfect for date night or GNO

How to protect the growing number of homeless kids in North Texas, p. 18

KID CULTURE 25 Beat Winter Break Blues

24 ways to spend winter break with the kids

ON THE COVER

THE HOLIDAY ISSUE

16 Routines / Kimberly Callahan

The Lantana mom of three balances her studies with never-ending carpool duty

Aumaurie of Irving Photography: Cindy James Hair/Makeup: Shane Monden, Wallflower Management Styling: Lauren Niebes

35 The Agenda

Our favorite family events this month

COLUMNS 38 Confessions / Mommy Fails

When bad things happen to good parents

PUBLISHER/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joylyn Niebes CREATIVE DIRECTOR Lauren Niebes EDITORIAL Executive Editor Wendy Manwarren Generes

Managing Editor Carrie Steingruber Assistant Editor Jessica Myers Calendar Editor Elizabeth Smith ART Graphic Designer Susan Horn

Editorial Designer Katie Garza ADVERTISING Associate Publisher Diana Whitworth Nelson Account Executives Nikki Garrett, Nancy McDaniel, Kristen Niebes,

Sandi Tijerina, Kerensa Vest Advertising Coordinator Amy Klembara PR/MARKETING Audience Development Director Candace Emerson

Promotions Coordinator Beth McGee ADMINISTRATION Business Manager Leah Wagner Office Manager + Distribution Robbie Scott

NorthTexasChild is published monthly by Lauren Publications, Inc. NorthTexasChild is distributed free of charge, one copy per reader. Only NorthTexasChild authorized distributors may deliver or pick up the magazines. Additional or back copies of NorthTexasChild are available for $2 per copy at the offices of Lauren Publications, Inc. We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. We cannot be responsible for the return of any unsolicited material. NorthTexasChild is ©2017 by Lauren Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express written permission prohibited.

northtexaschild / december 2017

5


Where bundles of joy arrive, we’re there for you.

More than 350 locations across North Texas. When you need convenient, quality health care, Texas Health has you covered. From pregnancy to emergency services to primary care, we’re the health system more people choose for care in North Texas. We’re here for you, making it easier than ever to get more of the care you need.

TexasHealth.org/350 1-877-THR-WELL

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources. © 2017


noted. HOMEWARD

HOUND the do’s and don’ts of getting a family dog WORDS SUNDEY MCCLENDON

©ISTOCK.COM/CSA IMAGES

A

jar on the counter at Kerri Well’s home in Mansfield has been accumulating change for the last year. Her kids— Natalie, 14; Kaitlyn, 12; and Jackson, 9—are saving up, not for a new gaming console or a trip to Universal Studios. For a dog. As it turns out, finding the funds might be the easiest part of the whole pet process. Well wants a small dog. Her husband, John, wants a big dog. The kids will take anything. “We really aren’t sure how to even start to choose a dog or what we would do once we got one,” the mom confesses. Her family isn’t alone in their uncertainty. Before adding a furry member to the family, there are lots of variables to consider: Should you get a rescue with an unknown past? Buy a purebred from a pricey breeder? And how do you get the kids to help care for it?

northtexaschild / december 2017

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HOUND

Relax. Adding a dog to the family should be fun, so we begged—er, asked—Dr. John Harvey, a veterinarian at Cross Timber Animal Medical Clinic in Flower Mound, and renowned dog trainer Pam Martin (recently featured on America’s Got Talent), of Top Dog Obedience Training in Garland, to give us the do’s and don’ts of getting a family dog. DO RESEARCH

LAKELAND

PRESCHOOL LAKELAND CHRISTIAN ACADEMY PRESCHOOL

Choosing the cutest pup at the pet store is a bad idea. Martin suggests that families look at their lifestyle first, then compare to different breeds’ temperaments, activity levels, trainability, shedding habits and other characteristics to find a good fit. “If you’re an active family, then a larger, sporty breed might be best,” she says. “But if you’re looking for a dog to cuddle with while you watch TV, you would want a smaller companion dog who doesn’t need a lot of room to run.” The American Kennel Club (akc.org) is a good place to start if you have a few breeds in mind. If you don’t have a breed preference yet, look at the Dog Breed Info Center (dogbreedinfo.com) to sort by breeds that tend to drool, make good guard dogs or will jog with you on a morning run. DON’T ASSUME YOU WANT A PUPPY

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december 2017 / northtexaschild

“The younger [the dog], the more dependent it will be on you,” Martin explains. A puppy needs to be house trained and requires constant supervision, so an older dog may be better for families without loads of free time. DO LET SOMEONE ELSE PLAY MATCHMAKER

you will get,” he explains. “But a foster owner can tell you exactly what you are getting.” DON’T CHOOSE A BREEDER LIGHTLY

FINDING FIDO

Dogged by indecision? Let this just-for-fun quiz help you narrow the decision. Our favorite family activity is: A. Going on a family hike B. Spending time outside C. Binging on Netflix When things break in our home we say: A. “Add it to the pile.” B. “Bummer, but oh well” C. “Noooo!” Our family schedule is: A. Laid back B. Some days are crazy; some days are calm. C. “Eat this sandwich in the car; we’re late for practice.” Our yard is: A. A big job to mow. B. Large enough for a game of catch C. No yard = no problems. MOSTLY As: Consider a dog from the working or herding category—a boxer, collie, German Shepherd, even a Great Dane. These dogs are smart, active and energetic. They need room to run and do well with families who can invest a lot of time in their training and activity. MOSTLY Bs: Think about a dog from the sporting or hound family—a retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, spaniel or poodle mix. These dogs are easily trained, intelligent and, with the proper investment of time, can fit well into a somewhat busy lifestyle. MOSTLY Cs: Look to the smaller toy breeds for a companion dog for your family—a papillon, Chihuahua, toy poodle or Shih Tzu mix. They don’t need a lot of space and generally like to be held.

Some rescue groups, such as Paws in the City in Dallas (pawsinthecity.org) and Animal Hope in Fort Worth (animalhope. org), will swipe left or right for you, Harvey says. He advises families to work with rescue groups who foster dogs because foster owners get the inside scoop on potential pets. “Even within a breed, there is so much variation on personality that you really never know what

If you’ve settled on a purebred instead, Harvey and Martin agree that breeders should be researched thoroughly. Arrange a tour so your family can see the facilities and meet the breeder, the dog’s parents and the puppies. DO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A VET—SOON

Collect all of the new dog’s medical data, Harvey says, including shot history, deworming history and heartworm prevention care. Then try to get her to a vet within the first week or so. DON’T NEGLECT THE BONDING PROCESS

“Creating a bond is crucial,” Martin stresses. “You must build a trusting relationship with your dog.” Plan to be home for the first few days after Lassie joins the family, and sign up for a local training program. “Basic training opens up the [obedience] world to the family and the dog,” Martin says. “And better behavior gives deepened trust and freedom for dog and owner.” DO MAKE CARING FOR THE PUP FUN

Little ones might not be able to walk or clean up after their new friend, but they can help you feed her. Make a game of it. Count the strokes while brushing her fur or see how many cups it takes to fill the water dish. DON’T LET THE DOG BABYSIT

For at least the first few months, you shouldn’t leave the kids alone with the dog—for the safety of both. “Neither of them really knows the rules yet,” Martin explains. “They are both still learning. Adults need to be present in that learning process until they both know what is acceptable and what is not.” Be prepared for school-age kids to grasp boundaries quickly; younger tykes will likely take longer.

©ISTOCK.COM/CSA-PRINTSTOCK

noted / H O M E W A R D


northtexaschild / december 2017

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real moms.

mom next door /

SHARN BARBARIN ceo at medical city lewisville I N T E R V I E W K E L LY W O O L E Y PHOTOGRAPHY MARCUS JUNIUS LAWS

S

harn Barbarin swears she sleeps—some. The 44-year-old mother of two busy teen and tween athletes has a highprofile job as the CEO of Medical City Lewisville; spends time volunteering for various organizations; and serves on the board of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce, Lewisville Lake Symphony and the Cross Timbers Rotary Club. Originally from Baton Rouge, Barbarin earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her master’s in health administration from Tulane University. And in 1997, she moved

northtexaschild / december 2017

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SLOAN-NTXC 17/18 R.qxp:Layout 1

11/2/17

7:34 AM

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real moms / S H A R N

BARBARIN

to North Texas as an administrative fellow my meeting ran late and then I hit traffic. By with Medical City at Las Colinas Medical the time I arrived at his school, my son was Center and married her college sweetheart, in tears. I was sure that I was going to win the Reginald, who owns a general contracting and worst-mom-ever award. It turns out he was homebuilding business in Dallas. (The two crying because he was worried something had celebrate 20 years of marriage this month). happened to me, not because of the cupcakes. From there, things didn’t slow down for HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR Barbarin. She was quickly promoted to COO PARENTING STYLE? I’ve taken my greatat Medical Center of McKinest influence from my ney, where she served nine parents. I grew up in a years before moving to household where a strong Medical Center of Arlington emphasis was placed on I DON’T as COO in 2011. In 2015, independence, family and NECESSARILY Barbarin became the CEO the importance of having BELIEVE THAT of Medical City Lewisville. goals for yourself. We also All this while she was raising have very rich religious THERE IS SUCH two boys—Courtland, 14, beliefs. As parents, we A THING AS A and Brice, 12. know that we will not be WHAT’S YOUR FAVORable to be there for all of WORK-LIFE ITE THING ABOUT LIVING the roadblocks our boys BALANCE … IN NORTH TEXAS? I will experience. It’s our absolutely love the people. WHETHER IT’S IN hope that they can rely on There is such a strong sense the values we’ve instilled in MY MARRIAGE, of community and family them to make good decihere, both of which are sions as they grow older. WITH OUR KIDS very important to me. And It’s the last thing I say to OR IN MY CAREER, them when I drop them off being a lover of dance and music, I love that we have somewhere, “Make good I DO MY BEST access to so much culture decisions today.” TO BE FULLY here in both Dallas and HOW DO YOU MAKE Fort Worth. SURE EACH OF YOUR COMMITTED TO

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HOW HAVE YOU BALANCED YOUR SUCCESSFUL CAREER AND MOTHERHOOD? I think that’s been one of my biggest

BOYS GETS WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU? I make

sure we have an open line of communication. We are very transparent. I ask them to tell me what’s important to them so that I can prioritize the games and school events that I’m able to attend. WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND FAMILY TIME? Hard Eight BBQ in Roanoke is a

family favorite. And then being sports fans, we love to support our local teams, particularly the Dallas Mavericks since our boys play basketball.

WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO WHEN IT’S JUST YOU AND REGINALD? We love Tru-

luck’s in Southlake. It’s probably our favorite. We also really like Al Biernat’s and Uchi, both in Uptown Dallas. WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST PART ABOUT MOTHERHOOD SO FAR? Honestly, it’s just

struggles and greatest lessons. I don’t necessarily believe that there is such a thing as a work-life balance. I just have to do the best I can. Whether it’s in my marriage, with our kids or in my career, I do my best to be fully committed to wherever I am at that moment. When I’m at work, I’m all in. The same goes when I’m with my kids or my husband.

the love that I see and feel when I look at both of them. It’s so interesting how you can have two children from the same parents who are so totally different. Both are hilarious and always keep me laughing. They are great little entertainers. But Brice is quiet and structured, and Courtland is our social butterfly.

it’s OK not to be perfect. I remember one particular instance where I had been planning to take cupcakes to my son’s third-grade class for his birthday. It was a stressful day at work,

You know the only thing that I do regularly for myself is to get manicures and pedicures. I realize it’s only one hour of time, but it’s something that I do that is totally for me.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A WORKING MOM? Accepting that

AND WHEN YOU CAN STEAL SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF, WHAT DO YOU DO?


real moms / M O M

SOCIAL

WORDS NICOLE JORDAN

DATEBOOK

make your own merry this december with spirits, shopping sprees and can’t-miss holiday performances DECEMBER 01 THE MODERN LIGHTS

In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is featuring a stunning light display. See it for yourself during extended hours on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays through Jan. 6 or during First Friday on Dec. 1, featuring live music, spirits, snacks and a docent-led tour of the galleries. $10 admission. 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth // 817/738-9215 // themodern.org

01 THE DRAMASTICS: A PUNK ROCK VICTORY TWISTER IN TEXAS Don’t miss Nathan Carter’s fictional, female-led punk rock band, the DRAMASTICS, at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Carter’s characters are 10-inch paper-and-wire cutouts set in dioramic environs, depicting the band’s rise to stardom out of Booker T. Washington High School. Through Jan. 28. $10 admission.

The DRAMASTICS: A Punk Rock Victory Twister in Texas

2001 Flora St., Dallas // 214/242-5100 // nashersculpturecenter.org

01 BREWERY YOGA

Pop by Denton County Brewing Company at 10am every Friday in December for a yoga session with Karma Yoga Denton. Once you rouse from your warrior pose, stay for a while and recharge with kombucha, served on tap. $5. 200 E. McKinney St., Denton // 940/435-0710 // dentoncountybrewingco.com

A local tradition, the Polyphonic Spree’s Holiday Extravaganza at the Majestic Theatre features sets from the Dallasbased choral rock group and a midnight milk and cookie toast. Donations for the Toys for Tots Foundation and the North Texas Food Bank are welcome. Tickets start at $40. The Polyphonic Spree

1925 Elm St., Dallas // 214/670-3687 // theholidayextravaganza.com

15 THE NUTT Y NUTCRACKER

This racy rendition by Texas Ballet Theater is sure to sell out. Choreographed by Ben Stevenson, The Nutty Nutcracker is an irreverent satire of the beloved classic, replacing sugar plum fairies and mischievous mice with unexpected characters such as Edward Scissorhands and Dr. Frank N. Furter. At Bass Hall one night only; tickets start at $72. 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth // 877/828-9200 // basshall.com

31 LIL’D NYE

Ring in the New Year surrounded by the glamour of Las Vegas without ever leaving Denton. Benefiting United Way of Denton County, Inc. and Greater Denton Arts Council, this year’s Lil’d NYE features live music from David Pierce and DJ Woodtronic, hors d’oeuvres by Barley and Board, an auction, cocktails and casino games. $175 per couple.

The Nutty Nutcracker 14

december 2017 / northtexaschild

400 E. Hickory St., Denton // 940/382-2787 // lildnye.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KEVIN TODORA/COURTESY OF THE ARTIST, CASEY KAPLAN AND ESTHER SCHIPPER. © NATHAN CARTER; THE POLYPHONIC SPREE; DENTON COUNTY BREWING COMPANY; STEVEN VISNEAU; ISTOCK.COM/GOOD_STUDIO

09 THE POLYPHONIC SPREE


Now – January 1, 2018 • NEW ICE! theme – 2 million pounds of colorful, hand-carved ice sculptures and slides featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas • 2 million twinkling lights along with lavish holiday displays • Build-A-Bear Workshop® & Scavenger Hunt

• NEW-The Elf on the Shelf® Character Breakfast • Gingerbread Decorating Corner • Ice Skating and Snow Tubing • Santa’s Christmas Cottage Escape Room • Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Photos with Santa & much more!

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PEPSI, PEPSI-COLA and the Pepsi Globe are registered trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. FUJIFILM and INSTAX are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates. © 2017 FUJIFILM North America Corporation. All rights reserved. © Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The Elf on the Shelf and © CCA and B, LLC. All rights reserved.

®

PRESENTED BY

ICE! PRESENTED BY


a wednesday in the life of

KIMBERLY CALLAHAN A born-and-raised Texan, Kimberly Callahan lives in Lantana with her husband, Matt, who’s a real estate broker for Callahan Realty Group, and her children, Pierce, 8; Dean, 5; and Vivian, 4. Kimberly is currently a stayat-home mom but is just a few days away from (finally!) taking the Texas Real Estate Exam, so she may soon join Matt in the real estate business. In between parenting duties, she’s a coffee connoisseur and food fanatic.

6

:30AM Vivian has crawled into bed with us during the night. I hit snooze on the alarm and roll over to snuggle her for a bit. She’s so warm! Like a little heating pad! 6:45AM My feet hit the floor as I hear the opening and closing of the refrigerator door in the kitchen. Pierce is up and completely ready for school, making his own breakfast. Today ... oatmeal. I’m so incredibly proud of his independence! Dean requests pancakes. I make extra on Saturday mornings to keep in the freezer for busy weekdays. They are perfect for a quick on-the-go breakfast! 7:05AM I head upstairs to dress Dean. He’s my picky one! Must. Only. Wear. Athletic. Clothes. I let him pick out his outfit to avoid any type of meltdown. Plus, as long as he’s clothed, that’s all that matters, right?! 7:15AM Vivian is up. I quickly grab a warmedup pancake and get her situated at the breakfast table.  7:18AM I comb the boys’ hair, then they brush their teeth. 

7:25AM Matt gets up and makes his way into the kitchen and makes his morning espresso. 7:27AM I change from my jammies, toss my hair into a top knot, find a pair of shoes (any shoes!) and meet the boys back in the kitchen. I’ve managed to make myself look somewhat presentable, ya know, in case I see anybody I know during drop-off. I grab lunches from the fridge, and the boys sling backpacks over their shoulders. A quick kiss on the forehead for Vivian and it’s time to go! 7:30AM Drop off boys at their school.  7:45AM Back home! Time to get Vivian ready for preschool! 7:50AM I go upstairs to Vivian’s closet! She tugs her favorite hot pink tutu from a hanger. I find a cute shirt and a pair of shoes to match. She requests a high pony tail then plucks a hot pink headband from her bathroom drawer. The girl can accessorize!  8:05AM We head downstairs, and I turn on the TV for her. I use this time to make a coffee for myself, check emails and get myself ready for the day.  9:05AM Grab lunch and backpack from the counter and we are off! 9:25AM I drop Vivian off at preschool and head to the gym for a morning workout. 11AM Back at home, I shower and grab a quick lunch. Before I decided to go to real estate school, you could probably find me at T.J.Maxx/HomeGoods or Ulta for a solid amount of time. Ask anyone! Buuuuut, today, I study for my real estate exam. It’s not easy, folks, but it will be totally worth it!  1:30PM Pick up Vivian from preschool and head back home for an afternoon snack and to prep dinner for tonight. Pull Pierce’s football pants from the hamper.  2:30PM Get in the pick-up line to wait for the boys to get out of school. 3:15PM Home with the boys from school. Matt works from home so he is here when we get home. He makes them an afternoon snack as I quickly change Vivian into her dance clothes, and we are out the door yet again for dance class.  3:45PM Dance class. 5:25PM Home! (I feel like sometimes I live in my car!) Matt and I high-five each other as we pass each other at the back door. He and Pierce are off to football practice.  5:35PM Kids are hungry! Pull the prepped chicken from the fridge and get that going.  6:15PM I have Dean sit at the counter in the kitchen so I can help him with his homework while I also make dinner.  Tonight ... reading and sight words. (I’m so tired. I just want to sit down!) 6:30PM Dean, Vivian and I sit down for dinner. We talk about our day. I just love this time with them. They want to tell me every-

Diaries are penned by moms (and dads) in the North Texas area. The authors volunteer to share a day of their choosing and are not paid or endorsed by NorthTexasChild. Send your diary to editorial@dfwchild.com. All submissions are subject to editing and may be cut for space. 16

december 2017 / northtexaschild

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERLY CALLAHAN

real moms / R O U T I N E S


GO GLOBAL

the fine

print

for the HOLIDAYS! Irving Arts Center’s holiday celebration features tree decorations and art inspired by holiday traditions around the world.

YEARLY DESTINATION Destin, Florida WHERE SHE GOES FOR RETAIL THERAPY

Two favorites: HomeGoods and Ulta FAVORITE MOVIE Dirty Dancing FAVORITE DATE NIGHT SPOT Piranha Killer Sushi. Hands down. Every time. GUARANTEED TO MAKE HER LAUGH My husband! He has the greatest laugh, too! BEAUTY PRODUCT SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

RapidLash WORKOUT SHE MANAGES TO SQUEEZE IN HOTWORX Hot Warrior GO-TO UNIFORM Jeans, tee and long cardigan sweater FAVORITE INDULGENCE Dr Pepper BIGGEST PET PEEVE Not arriving on time BY HER BED ChapStick and face cream WISHES SHE HAD MORE TIME TO Cook and bake—I love to cook and entertain. LEAST FAVORITE CHORE Floors LOOKING FORWARD TO Taking our first camping trip in our new camping trailer CELEBRITY CLOSET SHE’D LIKE TO RAID

Kim Kardashian

MOOSELTOE : A New Moosical Performance

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE FREE!

FRIDAY, DEC. 8 • 5:30 TO 7:30 PM

Moose Saves Christmas! Dec. 6 | $6-$12. Rudolf the red-nosed….MOOSE?? Meet a moose that dreams big. Al Roker narrates this musical perfect for kids 8 and under and the adults who love them. 60 minutes. TICKETS: IrvingArtsCenter.com or 972.252.ARTS

• Santa selfies, sculpture garden train rides & refreshments • A wonderland of decorated trees and art • Stiltwalkers, jugglers, & performances • Holiday card & craft projects • Grammy™ award winner Dan Zanes brings his friends for an all-ages sing along based on holiday traditions around the world. Seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:45 PM, show begins at 7:30 PM.

3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Irving, TX, 75062 Open 7 days a week • Free parking

ILLUSTRATION BY KATIE GARZA

We Care About Your Family! thing since I’m finally sitting and can really engage with them! 7PM Bath time. 7:30PM Bedtime. Both kids pick out two books. Dean picks the same books almost every time. Vivian likes the lookand-find books.  8PM A little quiet time before Matt and Pierce get home from practice. I spend this time picking up the house a bit and making lunches for tomorrow.  8:30PM The boys are home! They both eat dinner, and then Pierce showers and puts himself to bed. The responsible one. Remember?  9PM Matt helps me clean the kitchen. Either I will put away the dishes and he will load, or I will load and he will put away. I like this time with him because we can finally connect and visit about our day. We do make quite the team.  9:30PM Relaxation time! Ahhhh! I take a bath and do my nightly routine. 10:30PM I’m in bed, but I’m a night owl and like to stay up late. I browse the internet from my phone. Matt is zonked out.  11:30PM Alarm set for tomorrow. Same stuff, different day. Nighty night.

Susan Heller, MD

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northtexaschild / december 2017

17


THE

INVISIBLE

ONES

Despite a thriving local economy, the number of homeless families and children in North Texas continues to rise. And they’re not all panhandling—they’re at work, at school and on the playground, going unnoticed and, sometimes, unhelped. WORDS LESLIE J. THOMPSON

T

racy Cross, whose name has been changed at her request, and her husband worked hard to make ends meet and cover their monthly expenses. Although both were employed, the cost of food, clothing and school supplies for their three children, ages 15, 13 and 7, maxed out their income. “There were days where I had to choose, were we going to pay rent and not eat? Or, were we going to pay for gas, so my husband could go to work?” Cross recalls. When the couple came up short on rent, they were evicted from their Dallas apartment. They ended up living with a nearby relative. “My kids were sleeping on the floor, and we were sleeping on a mattress,” Cross recalls. Unfortunately, the Cross family story is increasingly common in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A SILENT EPIDEMIC

More than 63,000 people in Denton County live below the poverty level, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That

number includes 10 percent of the county’s children. Rates elsewhere in North Texas are even higher: About a fourth of Fort Worth and Irving children live below the poverty level, and nearly 38 percent of Dallas children. Families in poverty are much more likely to become homeless—in fact, families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Although the tally of those without permanent housing in Denton, Tarrant, Dallas and Collin counties fell slightly from 2016 to 2017, according to data released from the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless census, thousands more are likely unaccounted for, experts say. They’re not sleeping under bridges or panhandling. Instead, they’re in school and at work during the day and couch surfing or staying in budget hotels at night. “What is interesting about [homeless] families with children is that you almost never see them out in the public eye,” notes Ellen Magnis, CEO of Family Gateway, a Dallas shelter that serves families with children. “And for good reason—they’re afraid. So, they’re super hard to count,” she says. The U.S. Department of Education’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who lack a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes being doubled-up (i.e., staying in the home of a friend or relative), living in a transitional or emergency shelter, living in an unsheltered situation (e.g., sleeping in a car, abandoned building or outdoor encampment) or staying at a hotel, motel or trailer park. Earlier this year, Dallas ISD reported that the number of homeless children had reached “catastrophic levels.” More than 3,700 homeless children attend school in Dallas ISD alone, and another 1,283 are enrolled in the Fort Worth school district. Plano ISD reported 457 homeless students for the 2014–15 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, with Lewisville ISD and Frisco ISD counting 684 and 207 homeless students, respectively.

northtexaschild / december 2017

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“We track the number of homeless students that we serve, and we’ve seen that number double since 2014,” says Tasha Moore, a licensed master social worker and chief strategy officer for secondary campuses with Communities in Schools North Texas (CISNT) in Lewisville. Not only are these kids at high risk for health issues, developmental delays and problem behaviors, but Texas Education Agency (TEA) data indicates that homeless children are five times more likely to drop out of school. And over their lifetime, they will cost taxpayers $530 million, due to costs associated with medical care, shelter and associated services, as well as law enforcement expenses and lost tax revenue, according to a report out of the University of Texas at Austin. CAUSES OF HOMELESSNESS

With the economy in North Texas booming, how is it that so many parents and children find themselves without a stable roof over their heads? Unemployment is less than 4 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Dallas Regional Chamber predicts wage and salary employment to grow by 2.3 percent for the Dallas-Plano-Irving area and nearly 2.1 percent for the Fort Worth-Arlington area over the next five years. But wages are not rising at the same rate as housing costs, experts say, and the lack of affordable housing throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area leaves those who previously were just getting by without options. In fact, by far the most common driver of families ending up on the street is the disparity between wages and housing prices. The rental vacancy rate in Dallas was only 8 percent in 2014, according to a report from the New York University Furman Center, meaning landlords have little incentive to keep rents low or to rent to individuals without a strong credit history. Families who experience homelessness typically have been on the edge of poverty, and a single turn of events can leave them unable to make rent or pay the mortgage, Magnis explains. “Somebody got the flu, and the parent who’s an hourly worker doesn’t have sick leave, or they had to stay home and take care of their kids,” she says. A week without pay for a family with no savings or safety net can mean having to choose between buying groceries and staying in their home. Other likely circumstances include an unexpected layoff or job loss, divorce, even an expensive car repair. “It’s estimated that if you’re working in a minimum wage job here in Collin County, you need to be working 20 hours a day to sustain a basic living,” says Rick Crocker, CEO of Samaritan Inn in McKinney, the county’s only residential homeless program. The shelter served 623 residents last year, 150 of whom were children. However, due to a lack of space, Samaritan Inn also turned away 2,400 individuals who qualified for the program. The need, notes Crocker, is overwhelming, and the number of families without a permanent place to stay is on the rise. PROTECTING OUR YOUTH

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december 2017 / northtexaschild

INVISIBLE ONES

The effects of homelessness can be devastating for children, especially younger ones who trust and rely on their parents to provide a sense of safety and security. “We see the same issues with children who are homeless as we see in children who are abused,” Magnis says. “They’re traumatized by the experience and they need time to recover.” Similar to victims of natural disaster, they often find themselves left with only the few belongings they can carry with them as they move from one living situation to the next. The toxic stress of homelessness, combined with poor hygiene and malnutrition, puts children at increased risk of illness. The


impact is especially dire for children younger than 6, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group says homelessness during early childhood increases the odds that a child will develop stress-related chronic diseases later in life. Similarly, the experience of being without a stable home can also cause delays in a child’s social and emotional development. Not surprisingly, these factors often affect a child’s performance at school. “It’s harder for those students to find a rhythm and to find consistency and reliability,” Moore says. Frequent moves to unfamiliar places can cause them to be extremely anxious or mistrustful, and those behaviors play out in the classroom. “They get in trouble a lot, or they might jump or shake at a noise,” she says. Due to limited access to computers, a lack of parental guidance and unstable living conditions, children experiencing homelessness routinely fail to turn in their homework or they frequently fall asleep in class. “Then there are just general things around social interactions, as far as being able to shower [and] having clean clothes, that affect students’ relationships with their peers,” Moore notes. When a child wears the same outfit every day, for example, they may be teased by other students, and their self-confidence starts to break down. “They won’t want to come to school, and their attendance will decrease, along with their academics,” she says.

We see the same issues with children who are homeless as we see in children who are abused. They’re traumatized by the experience and they need time to recover.

STOPPING THE CYCLE

As the numbers of homeless children and families has continued to rise in recent years, local elected officials have stepped up their efforts to address the problem. In Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings and other community leaders formed the Dallas Commission on Homelessness in May 2016, following the closure of “Tent City,” a sprawling encampment under Interstate 45 near downtown where disease and crime ran rampant. The commission engaged the local community to help develop viable solutions that would both address and prevent homelessness. Mirroring effective practices of other communities to reduce the homeless population, the efforts include financing strategies, strong leadership and accountability, and most important, a push to increase affordable and supportive housing. Central to the initiative is the use of technology to convert to a community-wide Homeless Management Information System and coordinated entry system to match clients with housing and related services. Likewise, federal funds and federal housing subsidies will be combined with local investments to add a minimum of 1,000 new permanent supportive housing units within the next four years. Similarly, the city of Denton created a task force to explore improving and expanding housing solutions for the homeless there. Working in conjunction with the Denton County Homeless Coalition, the task force outlined a three-step strategy to address the issue, including creation of a new homeless shelter, allocation of federal funds to develop transitional housing and creation of a new coordinator position to implement the plan in conjunction with participating nonprofit organizations. “What we’ve been trying to figure out is, How do we make sure that people are getting the resources they need when they need them and that what we do helps them get out of the cycle?” says

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TJ Gilmore, a councilman in Lewisville who is one of two dozen appointees to the Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team. Other participants include other elected officials and board members and staff from local nonprofit groups and health care facilities. “The challenge with homelessness, especially when you deal with it at the scale of a city, is you kind of play Whack-a-Mole,” he adds, noting that closing encampments like Tent City HELP HOMELESS often results in homeless individuals STUDENTS simply moving to nearby towns. The McKinney-Vento The county recently implemented Act requires that every a new coordinated entry system, which school district statewide enables local social services agencies that identify homeless studeal with homelessness to share infordents within the district mation through a single database. The and give them the opporapproach lets the agencies refer those tunity and resources to in need to the right resources without succeed academically. duplicating efforts and tracks people Every district must also through the system more efficiently to have a Homeless Liaison whose job responsibiliensure their long-term success. ties include ensuring that And Tarrant County has adopted homeless families and strategies to ensure that no resident goes without shelter. Most recently, the children receive referrals to health care and other Tarrant County Homeless Coalition services and coordinating (TCHC) made the decision to merge related support services its board of directors with that of for homeless youth. Continuum of Care, reorganizing the “The liaisons all know two entities into one high-functioning what kinds of resources board that can more effectively drive are available in their change. TCHC has begun implemenlocal communities,” says tation of a coordinated entry system Jeanne Stamp, project that can rapidly identify and assess director for the Texas individuals and families in need and Homeless Education deliver appropriate housing solutions Office, which provides in Tarrant and Parker counties. support services and PROVIDING A HAND UP

Museum open extended hours until 8 pm on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays in December. For the first time in its history, the Modern grounds will be illuminated with a spectacular array of festive lights in celebration of the holiday season and in honor of the Museum’s 125th Anniversary. Visitors and families will be invited to enjoy nightly viewing opportunities with extended museum hours for a must-see holiday experience.

MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH 3200 Darnell Street • Fort Worth, Texas 76107 • 817.738.9215 • www.themodern.org Leading support for the Modern’s 125th Anniversary is provided by the William E. Scott Foundation and the Leo Potishman Foundation, with additional support provided by Southwest Bank, UBS, Southwestern Expo and Livestock Show, Pier 1 Imports, BNSF Railway Foundation, and TXU Energy. Special thanks to the Star-Telegram for their generous in-kind support.

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december 2017 / northtexaschild

INVISIBLE ONES

training to school districts. In addition, the legislation mandates that districts provide transportation for homeless students, even if a student moves outside of the school’s attendance zone or school district boundaries. If you or a parent you know is without a permanent residence or at risk of becoming homeless, contact the liaison for your school district for assistance. A list of Homeless Liaisons organized by school district is available at theotx.org/ liaison.

Meanwhile, local nonprofits and social service organizations continue to do what they can to provide help for families on the brink of homelessness and those without a stable roof over their heads. Interfaith Family Services, for example, not only offers free child care and career services but also financial coaching for participants in its Hope & Home program, which provides 25 fully furnished apartments as temporary housing for homeless families. Residents meet with on-site volunteers to learn about money management and career development and receive the accountability and support they need to begin a new chapter in life. “For every paycheck they receive, [program participants] put 30 percent toward their savings,” says Destiny DeJesus of Interfaith Family Services. The funds can help residents get into an apartment after leaving the program. “Once they graduate, our screening coordinator reaches out to see whether they are still saving, what type of job they have, and how much they’re making so we can make sure they’re still on the right track,” she says. At City House in Plano, homeless children are provided new clothing, personal toiletries, transportation to and from school, and most


important, the stability of a nurturing environment. In addition to teaching children basic etiquette and personal grooming, the staff strives to instill in them a sense of value and self-respect. “We focus on dignity, and teaching that they’re worth having a brand-new set of socks and underwear and T-shirts,” Executive Director Sheri Messer says. Through the combined efforts of state and local elected officials, social service organizations, nonprofit charities and hundreds of selfless donors and volunteers who are willing to give their time and means, homeless families—and especially homeless children—in the Dallas-Fort Worth area now have more opportunities to access the resources they need and break the cycle of poverty. Achieving a lasting solution will still take time, as cities address additional obstacles that keep families stuck in the cycle of poverty, such as the lack of public transportation and limited options for affordable housing. Even so, community involvement and public-private initiatives are gaining momentum and making a difference. Cross says that families who find themselves in a situation similar to hers, without permanent housing, need to keep the faith and be willing to ask for help. The Cross family is currently in one of the 30 rooms at the Annette Strauss Family Gateway Center and will receive vouchers for permanent supportive housing once they leave the program. “They really did get us from being homeless to having a place to live,” Cross says.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Want to help homeless children and families in your community? Volunteer with one of these local organizations. C O M M U N I T I E S I N S C H O O L S N O R T H T E X A S Become a mentor or academic coach, deliver food to local schools, or lend a hand at one of CISNT’s events. Lewisville, 972/538-9930; cisnt.org CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHILDREN’S H O M E Make crafts with kids, plan a birthday party or provide child care. Denton, 940/382-5112; cpch.org F A M I L Y G A T E W A Y Organize a donation drive, prepare a meal at the shelter, help students with their homework or teach an adult class in job readiness or financial literacy. Dallas, 214/8234500; familygateway.org

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...

IS EMPOWERING

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www.ymcadallas.org/donate

H O P E S U P P L Y C O . Volunteer to help sort donations on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month or make hygiene and birthday boxes on your own. Dallas, 214/630-5765; hopesupplyco.org I N T E R F A I T H F A M I L Y S E R V I C E S Help tutor kids in elementary through high school or work with parents as a career coach or financial coach. Dallas, 214/827-7220; interfaithdallas.org K I D S H E L P I N G K I D S Volunteer to help on the second Saturday of each month at various events. Dallas; kidshelpingkidstx.com O P E R A T I O N C A R E I N T E R N A T I O N A L Join hundreds of volunteers to serve more than 20,000 guests at the Christmas Gift for the Homeless event on Dec. 16 at the Dallas Convention Center. Dallas, 972/681-3567; operationcareinternational.org P R O M I S E H O U S E Host a holiday party, watch a holiday movie, ice skate, decorate stockings or drop off meals. Dallas, 214/941-8578; promisehouse.org T H E B I R T H D A Y P A R T Y P R O J E C T Decorate, sing and hand out cupcakes at one of the monthly birthday parties for homeless kids. Dallas-Fort Worth area, 972/290-0908; thebirthdaypartyproject.org V O G E L A L C O V E Read to children, play with them, make snack bags, organize a donation drive or help sort donations. Dallas, 214/3688686; vogelalcove.org

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kid culture.

BEAT WINTER BREAK BLUES make new holiday traditions with these wintertime activities

PHOTO COURTESY OF PANTHER ISLAND ICE

WORDS JESSICA MYERS

Y

ou’ve already Googled a million crafty ideas to help you survive the holiday break with the kiddos at home. For those days when you just need to get out of the house, we’ve

pulled together 24 ideas that’ll help you celebrate the season North Texas–style. Not only will the days fly by, but you just might create a few new family traditions along the way.

northtexaschild / december 2017

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kid culture / B E A T

WINTER BREAK BLUES

1

PREVIOUS PAGE // Skate Panther Island Ice at Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, the area’s only outdoor skating rink. Lace up on Tuesdays for half-price admission. 1 // Make arctic slime and snowball launchers at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in honor of both its fifth birthday and the Season of Science. 2 // Light up your children’s faces at Enchant where they visit Santa inside his palace, investigate a golden ornament, and navigate the world’s largest outdoor, lighted maze.

Inside TH E A R K at GracePoint Church in Coppell, bigger kids brave the three-story wavy slide in the Noah’s Ark–themed play structure (with plenty of obstacles too), and little ones bounce around the giant ball pit or zoom down the double slide in their underwater-themed space. Mom and Dad, you can keep a close eye on everything from the seating area. gracepointcoppell.org/the-ark Kiddos 52 inches and smaller burrow their way through the maze of tubes at I RV I N G B I B L E C H U R C H . The seating area between the big kid and padded toddler play space lets parents keep an eye on the mayhem while enjoying a Nutella frappé from the church’s Cuppa Espresso Bar. irvingbible.org Get to First Baptist Church Grapevine’s PA R A D I S E P O N D right at 9am (Thursdays and Fridays, $1 per kid) before it “overflows” with littles ages 2–12 scaling the small climbing wall, scrambling the two-story play structure or playing dress-up. fbcgrapevine.com/paradise-pond Fit the gym into your busy break schedule at P E N N Y ’ S P L AY TOW N

in Denton (you just have to be OK with the mini equipment and foam weights). This and a dozen other storefront-style playhouses with costumes await littles ages 1–8. pennysplaytown.com

bowled over

’Tis the season to delay bedtime for an hour or two with an impromptu Tuesday night visit to A M F L E W I S V I L L E L A N E S . Every Tuesday, games and shoes (and beer for Mom and Dad) are just $2.22 after 8pm, but the memories are priceless. amf.com 26

december 2017 / northtexaschild

let there be light

Find Santa’s missing reindeer in the world’s largest outdoor light maze at E N C H A NT inside Globe Life Park in Arlington. Under the big top, take a picture with Santa in his golden house, glide on the ice pond, walk through the Christkindl Market Lane and sip on cider while kids explore the mini maze by themselves. Also, bring the selfie stick for a family photo with one of the giant 25-foot-tall reindeer at the main entrance. $29.95 per adult, $21.95 per child, free for ages 4 and younger. enchantchristmas.com

cozy cocoa

At S E V E N M I L E C A F E in Highland Village, order hot chocolate for your kids and the Nutella mocha for yourself, then sit back and relax as your little ones peruse the shelves of books and toys just for them. sevenmilecafe.com Z E N Z E R O in Coppell serves hot chocolate two ways: steamy milk swirled with dark chocolate from local chocolate maker Dude, Sweet Chocolate or a milkier drink for the kiddos from $2.75. zenzerokitchen.com In the midst of exploring down2 town Grapevine’s holiday festivities, stop by R E : D E F I N E D CO F F E E H O U S E for hot chocolate—one ingredient is melted chocolate chips. Kiddos can tailor the drink to their palates with homemade simple syrups such as lavender, mint, rose, vanilla and pumpkin spice. redefinedcoffeehouse.com CU LTI VA R makes holiday hot chocolate fun with fancy foam art. Treat your littles to a pretty cup of the sweet stuff in Denton. cultivarcoffee.com Let your bookworm skim the children’s Golden Series books in the kid-size leather armchair at G E O R G E CO F F E E & P R O V I S I O N S in Coppell while you order her

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get your (indoor) play on


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WINTER BREAK BLUES

a Spencer’s Special Hot Cocoa made with Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, homemade vanilla syrup, whipped cream and milk (or an assortment of dairy-free milks). If the sun is shining, take your mugs to the front porch or enclosed yard where you can gab on miniature picnic benches. georgecoffeeandprovisions.com At B E TH M A R I E ’ S two Denton locations, ask for the hot chocolate float topped with their famous homemade ice cream and whipped cream—for $2.50, it doesn’t get more decadent than that. bethmaries.com

fun on the ice • Cognitive Assessment • Cognitive Brain Training • Sensory Integration/Focusing • Visual Math/Algebra Tutoring www.MindMenders.net pat_staf@msn.com 214-755-4386

Open from 11am–11pm (10pm on Sundays) throughout winter break, PA NTH E R I S L A N D I C E welcomes skaters rain or shine at its outdoor rink (the only one in Fort Worth). $12 admission includes skate rental for 90 minutes. pantherislandice.com Bring your socks for an ice skating session at one of the D R P E P P E R S TA R C E NTE R S . (There are six locations around Dallas-Fort Worth.) Public skate costs $8 per child, free for kids 3 and younger and $9 for parents. Bring your beginner skater on Friday evenings or weekends to learn how to skate in the bucket zones with balance props. drpepperstarcenters.com

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See classic holiday flicks every other Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm at M OV I E TAV E R N in Denton. Christmas Vacation plays Dec. 5 and 6; White Christmas, Dec. 12 and 13; and It’s A Wonderful Life, Dec. 19 and 20. $7.50 per child ages 12 and younger; $9.75 per adult. movietavern.com You won’t find any throwbacks here, but once you’ve finished your holiday shopping, you’ll be ready for a change of scenery. Watch a semi-new release for $2 ($1.50 on Tuesdays) at S I LV E R C I N E M A S inside Golden Triangle Mall in Denton. silvercinemasinc.com Sit back and enjoy the view from the comfort of your seat warmer at COYOTE D R I V E - I N in Lewisville. Catch a showing of Home Alone or The Polar Express for $8 per adult, $6 per child, and free for ages 4 and younger. coyotedrive-in.com Watch the season’s standards including a double feature of A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Dec. 22–23) throughout the month at PA L AC E TH E ATR E in Grapevine. Pro tip: Bring a same-day receipt from any Grapevine restaurant to get a free small popcorn. grapevinetexasusa.com/palace-theatre

calling all cooks

Bake and decorate cookies and gingerbread houses at C E NTR A L M A R K E T CO O K I N G S C H O O L . In the gingerbread class, you and your pastry chef decorate traditional Swiss Lebkuchen homes; in the cookie class, your little one will leave her mark (literally) on jam thumbprint, 1 chocolate chip and molasses crinkle cookies. Finally in cookie decorating, you and yours will unleash the artist within using edible paint (read: icing). centralmarket.com

get cultured

This month, kiddos meditate on the extraordinary 3-D sculptures that paper can create—and it’s not just paper airplanes—in the Paper Into Sculpture exhibit at the N A S H E R S CU L P T U R E C E NTE R in Dallas. Get the most out of your visit on the First Saturday (Dec. 2) for free family activities such as arts and crafts, art scavenger hunt and a family tour through the museum. nashersculpturecenter.org In December, the P E R OT M U S E U M O F N AT U R E A N D S C I E N C E in Dallas celebrates its fifth birthday with free cupcakes, ice cream chemistry demos, 3-D chocolate printing and a cup of gourmet cocoa (prices range from $1– $4) on select days for museum ticket holders. And during holiday break (Dec. 23–Jan. 7), older kids experiment with arctic slime, dry ice bubbles and snowball launchers while kids ages 5 and younger make melted snowmen and snowflakes and do other water-play activities at the Candy Cane Art Lab (free with admission). Don’t forget to download the winter-themed scavenger hunt before you go. perotmuseum.org

a wild holiday

Pet and feed the animals of P R E S TO N TR A I L FA R M S in Gunter. Admission is free, but feed for the cows, sheep, goats, chickens and more costs $3 per cup. prestontrailfarms.com Presents are great, but being able to tell their friends they met a zorse might make going back to school even more enjoyable for your kids. Fortunately, they can meet (and even feed and pet) a zorse and his friends the wallabies, kangaroos, black bears and more at S H A R K A R O S A 2 W I L D L I F E R A N C H in Pilot Point. $12 for adults, $10 for ages 3–12 and free for kids 2 and younger. sharkarosa.com

visit santa

Write letters to Santa and get a free photo with him at S A NTA’ S WO N D E R L A N D inside Bass Pro Shop in Grapevine. basspro.com

1 // Make like Hansel and Gretel and find refuge in a candy-coated gingerbread house at one of Central Market’s kid-friendly cooking classes. 2 // Make friends with Sharkarosa’s scarlet and blue and gold macaws as well as a zorse this holiday break. 28

december 2017 / northtexaschild

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CENTRAL MARKET; SHARKAROSA WILDLIFE RANCH

THE SOURCE

kid culture / B E A T


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Holiday

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Galveston Island TEXAS

A tropical destination with fun for all seasons, Galveston Island is home to 32 miles of beaches, 36 blocks of historic shops and countless opportunities for family fun. Plan a visit this holiday season to experience Galveston transformed into a “Winter Wonder Island.” Enter into the world of Victorian London at Dickens on the Strand, where costumed characters from the beloved tales of Charles Dickens bring holiday shopping, refreshments and carols to the street. Keep your hats and gloves handy for Downtown Lanterns and Lights, which features trees, lights and plenty of holiday photo ops throughout Saengerfest Park. If you’d rather keep warm, catch a holiday show at The Grand 1894 Opera House or snag tickets to the Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show at Moody Gardens, which promises a delicious buffet dinner, admission to the Festival of Lights and performances from cast members of “America’s Got Talent.”

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

galveston.com/holidaymagic

For more events, go to www.galveston.com/holidaymagic

50 DAYS OF HOLIDAY EVENTS NOVEMBER 11, 2017 - JANUARY 13, 2018 Galveston is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas, offering visitors a magical experience with more than 50 days of holiday events and activities! STAY MID-WEEK & SAVE! 888.GAL.ISLE (425.4753) 30

december 2017 / northtexaschild


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The High Lonesome Dude Ranch COLORADO

PHOTO COURTSEY OF GALVESTON ISLAND CVB; THE HIGH LONESOME RANCH

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

thehighlonesomeranch.com

For an unforgettable week in the mountains filled with adventure, family and cowboy culture, count on The High Lonesome Dude Ranch. A working cattle ranch settled on scenic terrain in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, The High Lonesome Ranch offers laid-back luxury lodging, exhilarating excursions, award-winning meals and s’mores around the fire pit. Different activities each day keep it lively, and lots of variety keeps everyone happy. Reserve your spot for 2018 by January 1, and your first child will come for free. Or bring along the grandparents for an extra special experience—with five paying family members, grandparents enjoy the ranch for free. The beautiful weather, clean air, enormous open space and a plethora of animals (including kid-favorite Rio, the beloved yellow Labrador) allow families to bond in a different way—and promise an experience that has many not wanting to leave.

Discover your inner cowboy. Something magical happens when you spend a week with your family in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Plan the perfect mountain escape where adventure, family, and cowboy culture combine into one unforgettable week. A working cattle ranch sprawling on scenic terrain, The High Lonesome Ranch offers the full package—laid-back luxury lodging, exhilarating excursions, award-winning meals, s’mores around the fire pit, cattle drives, riding, fly-fishing and lots more. Grandparents come Free with family, or if you book your trip by January 1, your First Child Comes Free! Call for details 970.283.9420

High Lonesome Dude Ranch DeBeque, CO, TheHighLonesomeRanch.com

northtexaschild / december 2017

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Restore YourJoy City of Granbury TEXAS

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

Located just outside of DFW, the city of Granbury serves as a quick and easy getaway for families seeking holiday excitement. Give the kiddos a chance to get in a good word with Santa at his house on the Historic Square; remind your crew of the reason for the season at the “Away in a Manger” nativity display; or hum along to your favorite Christmas tunes at one of the many holiday concerts featuring the Granbury Civic Chorus, Southern Gospel Experience and Brazos Chamber Orchestra.

visitgranbury.com

Celebrate the season at our Night of Lights Parade,

Relax, refresh and realize why we’re Christmas shows and Santa’s house on the square. rated a USA Today Top 10 Best Getaway

Restore Yourself

VISITGRANBURY. COM

Dream Departures Travel Want to make this holiday seriously magical? This is a gift for the whole family and one they will never forget. Whether your dream destination is a cruise, an all-inclusive resort or a magical theme park, don’t attempt this itinerary alone. Lorrie Galliher with Dream Departures Travel gives moms insider advice on dining, attractions, hotels, packages, amenities and all the ingredients it takes to plan the perfect escape, including what you can and can’t miss on your magical vacation.

dreamdepartures.com

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SEE HOW AN OLD-WORLD HOLIDAY CAN BRING

joy to your world

holiday lighting on Main | festivals & events | museums & historic sites over 30 wineries & tasting rooms | cycling | German heritage | golf live Texas music | Hill Country cuisine | abundant shopping | art galleries

Fredericksburg THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY

visitfredericksburgtx.com

VisitFredericksburgTX.com | 866 997 3600

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa

Holidays-2017-Master-1/4page.indd 1

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

Take your family back in time this holiday season. Enjoy the old-world charm of Fredericksburg including the popular Light the Night Christmas Parade! Experience authentic German traditions firsthand, take in a holiday concert and shop amidst a Main Street beautifully decked out for the holidays. There’s even an outdoor ice skating rink! And don’t forget the camera for plenty of family photo ops at Marktplatz with the 26-foot-tall German pyramid and Christmas tree. It’s a monthlong celebration!

9/11/17 10:32 AM

TEXAS Count on Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa to round out your 2017 and ring in the New Year. Located just 23 miles from downtown Austin, the resort offers the perfect two-night New Year’s getaway on December 30 and 31—book your family’s stay for access to a full spread of holiday activities, including live music at the amphitheater along the Colorado River, carnival rides and games sure to entertain the kiddos, and a magical midnight countdown complete with fireworks, champagne and sparkling cider for the kiddos.

PHOTO COURTSEY OF DREAMSTIME/INARA PRUSAKOVA;

hyatt.com

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kid culture

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WORDS ELIZABETH SMITH

2 5 F A M I LY- F R I E N D LY E V E N T S Y O U C A N ’ T M I S S I N

DECEMBER Dixon, who danced most recently with the Colorado Ballet, performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Meet her and the rest of the cast after the Saturday matinee and savor sweets and treats in the lobby from 4:30–6pm. Tickets from $25. 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/252-2787 irvingartscenter.com

FIRST FRIDAYS AT THE FARM

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ED STEELE PHOTOGRAPHY; MOOSELTOE; ISTOCK.COM/AZNDC

DENTON HOLIDAY LIGHTING FESTIVAL

DOWNTOWN DENTON December 1 Little D celebrates Christmas with a tree lighting on the lawn of its always-lit Courthouse on the Square. Drop off your unwrapped toy donations at the square for First Baptist Denton’s Elves Shelves ministry and get free tastings of warm wassail at each merchant participating in the recipe contest. $7 for Santa photos; $5 for horse-drawn wagon rides. 110 W. Hickory St., Denton; 940/382-7895 dentonholidaylighting.com

DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID

LEWISVILLE HIGH SCHOOL December 1–3 Theater, choir and band students of LHS’s fine arts department take on Disney’s most lovable mermaid in a one-weekend-only production at Stuver Auditorium. The Sunday afternoon performance features extra entertainment at intermission: a short offering by the young kids who participated in last month’s musical

theater camp. $10; $15 for premium seating. 1098 W. Main St., Lewisville; 888/478-5273 lewisvilletheatre.com

ELF JR.

STUDIO B PERFORMING ART S CENTER December 1–10 The kids of Studio B present a musical version of the 2003 holiday comedy. See Buddy the Elf (not starring Will Ferrell, alas, but kids equally as funny) navigate his way from the North Pole to NYC when two groups give performances: junior company of kids ages 4–7 and the senior company, ages 8–14. $15 adults; $10 children. 2400 FM 407, Highland Village; 972/966-2787 studiobtheater.com

THE NUTCRACKER AND TEA PARTY

I RV I N G A RT S CENTER December 1–3 Marvel at the dancers of Ballet Ensemble of Texas as they present their holiday production starring alumna Emily

N A S H FA R M December 1 The 1859 Nash Farm is an ideal locale for an old-fashioned Christmas party. Bring the kids for ornament making and tree decorating to help prepare the farm for the holiday, plus snack on cider and cookies. $3 per person. 626 Ball St., Grapevine; 817/410-3185 nashfarm.org

HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA

finest. This lighted boat parade starts at Twin Coves Marina and picks up entries at each marina while circling the lake. Call Scott’s Landing for questions. FREE Grapevine; 817/481-4549 grapevinetexasusa.com/ christmas

MOOSELTOE – A NEW MOOSICAL

I RV I N G A RT S CENTER December 6–7 This family musical, narrated by Al Roker, reimagines Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as the moose who dreams of joining Santa’s reindeer team. Follow Mooseltoe’s adventures on his quest to the North Pole and around the world. Best for kids age 8 and younger. $12 for Dec. 6 evening show; $7.50 for Dec. 7 morning show. 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/252-2787 irvingartscenter.com

I RV I N G C I T Y HA L L December 2 Follow the community parade through the Heritage District (with Santa as the caboose) and then follow the revelers to City Hall for a 30-foot tree lighting on the lawn, a stage show and fireworks, and free In-N-Out Burgers and hot chocolate for viewers. FREE 825 W. Irving Blvd., Irving; 972/721-2501 irvingevents.org

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE

I RV I N G A R T S C E N T E R December 8 Inspired by Santa’s trip across the globe, Irving Arts Center’s 25th annual holiday art exhibition and open house celebrate Holidays Around the World. Meet Santa for a photo op and enjoy stilt walkers, jugglers, train rides through the Sculpture Garden and an all-ages holiday singalong by Grammy Award-winning children’s musician Dan Zanes. Doors will open at 6:45pm, and concert seating is firstcome, first-served. FREE 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/252-2787 irvingartscenter.com

CHRISTMAS PARADE AND TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY

TWINKLE LIGHT BOAT PARADE

LAKE GRAPEVINE December 2 Head to your go-to spot around Lake Grapevine, such as Meadowmere Park or Oak Grove Park, to see this floating parade of boats decorated in their holiday

restridge neighborhood where many houses are expected to be decked out in Christmas lights. The holiday fun zone will be open with a bounce house, face painting and crafts unless temps fall below 38 degrees. $30 through Dec. 1. No race-day registration. 556 Hobson Lane, Denton; 940/349-7275 dentonparks.com

REINDEER ROMP

S O U T H L A K E S PA R K December 8 Bundle up for an evening run/walk (2.5 or 4.2 miles) through the For-

G E R A U LT PA R K December 9 Hoist your kids on your shoulders to see the Town of Flower Mound’s 28th annual lighted Christmas parade down Spinks Road to Gerault Park, where the evening festivities continue with a tree-lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa Claus, carriage rides and a petting zoo. FREE 1200 Gerault Road, Flower Mound; 972/874-6276 flower-mound.com/specialevents

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BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

RAINFOREST CAFE December 9–23 Meet Santa and Cha Cha (the red-eyed tree frog mascot) inside the Grapevine Mills restaurant for a breakfast buffet, crafts and activities on Dec. 9, 16, 17 and 23. Registration is required online. $34 adults; $12.99 ages 4–10; free for ages 3 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 972/539-5001 rainforestcafe.com

AGENDA

the Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. Watch as the unimaginably talented artists and acrobats perform gravitydefying feats as the environment changes from hidden forest to volcano to sky. Tickets from $40. 1201 Houston St., Fort Worth; 800/745-3000 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco; 800/745-3000 cirquedusoleil.com/varekai

SCUBADIVING SANTA

SE A L I F E AQ UA R I UM GRAPEVINE December 13, 16, 20 and 23 See the aquarium’s turtles, stingrays and sharks receive wreathand gingerbreadshaped holiday treats in the ocean tank and Stingray Bay at 10:30am. At 11:30am, a bearded, redsuited diver and his elf take the plunge into the aquarium’s 160,000-gallon ocean tank. Pose for pictures and find out if Scuba-diving Santa thinks you’ve been naughty or nice. $20.95 adults; $16.95 children ages 3–12; free for kids 2 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 877/819-7677 visitsealife.com/grapevine

HOLIDAY BRICKTACULAR

LEGOLAND D I S C O V E RY C E N T E R December 16–17 and 23–24 Help a master model builder construct a Lego Winter Wonderland, design your own winter landscape and drop your Santa letters in the Lego mailbox to be shipped to the North Pole. For a chance to win an annual pass, find all the elves hiding in Miniland and complete the scavenger hunt. $21.95; free for kids age 2 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 877/818-1677 legolanddiscoverycenter.com/ dallasfw

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S VAREKAI

F ORT WORT H CONVENTION C E N T E R A R E NA December 13–17 DR P E P P E R A R E NA December 20–23 Cirque du Soleil’s global force returns to North Texas with a new show based on 36

972/219-3550 llela.org

KIDS’ GINGERBREAD HOUSE PARTY

DENTON CIVIC CENTER December 16 Treat your kids to a two-hour gingerbread house–making party on Saturday morning, then let them loose on inflatables inside the civic center. Register by Dec. 13. $20 per person includes all materials, instructions and refreshments. 321 E. McKinney St., Denton; 940/349-7275 dentonparks.com

CHRISTMAS MOVIES ANIMATED DOUBLE FEATURE

THE NUTCRACKER

THE ACTORS C O N S E R VAT O R Y T H E AT R E December 15–17 This isn’t your average Nutcracker performance with ballerinas on pointe, but a musical play in which the Queen and King of Mouses have stolen the Christmas star and used its magic to turn the Prince of Make-Believe into a wooden nutcracker. Watch as Clara and her brother Fritz restore the nutcracker’s human form and his place on the throne. $14 adults; $9 children age 9 and younger. 359 Lake Park Road, Suite 118, Lewisville; 972/436-8228 getintotheact.org

CHRISTMAS AT THE CABIN

LEWISVILLE LAKE E N V I R O N M E N TA L LEARNING AREA December 16 LLELA staff hosts an oldfashioned Christmas party at the 1870s Minor-Porter Log Cabin. Create a hand-dipped candle, sing Christmas carols in between sips of hot cider by the campfire, make a cornhusk doll or an ornament to take home to your own Christmas tree. Free with LLELA entry: $5 per vehicle. Cash or check only. 201 E. Jones St., Lewisville;

december 2017 / northtexaschild

PA L A C E T H E AT R E December 22–23 Teach your kids the meaning of Christmas twice over with the 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas and the 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas. See the cynical Charlie Brown and thieving Grinch each day when both classic cartoon shorts are screened inside the historic theater starting at 2pm. $6 per ticket. 300 S. Main St., Grapevine; 817/410-3100 palace-theatre.com

AÑO NUEVO

LEWISVILLE LAKE E N V I R O N M E N TA L LEARNING AREA December 30 Eat grapes and lentils and write resolutions, and to participate in one unique New Year’s tradition among several Mexican cultures, bring with you a small, empty suitcase (you’ll find out why). Then gather around the campfire and sip warm ponche (a hot punch) while sharing your wishes for the new year. Registration is required by 11am Dec. 29. $5 per person. 201 E. Jones St., Lewisville; 972/219-3550 llela.org

LONE STAR CHRISTMAS

G AY L O R D T E X A N RESORT Through January 1 Grant your kids’ Christmas wish with a fun day on the Gaylord’s Texas-sized snow tubing lanes, ice rink, snowball target range and two-story-tall

ALL ABOARD! Experience the magic and adventure of The Polar Express with a story party, IMAX film and train ride. THE HOLIDAY EXPRESS

PAT T E R S O N - A P P L E T O N A R T S C E N T E R December 2 Denton County Transit Authority draws inspiration from The Polar Express for this two-part event. Meet at the arts center (North Pole) for kids› crafts and brunch, then walk next door to DCTA’s downtown station and board the A-train for a festive ride to Lewisville and back. $30 for North Pole activities and train ride; $15 for activities only. Proceeds benefit Denton County Friends of the Family. // 400 E. Hickory St., Denton; 940/387-5131; dcfof.org/ holidayexpress

POLAR EXPRESS PARTY

N O R T H W E S T PA R K R E C R E AT I O N C E N T E R December 14 Pile up a plateful of refreshments and listen to a reading of The Polar Express, the 1986 Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg, during this twohour party for children age 12 and younger. $5 per child. // 2800 Cheyenne St., Irving; 972/721-2529; cityofirving.org

THE POLAR EXPRESS IMAX EXPERIENCE

F ORT WORT H M U SE UM OF S C I E NC E A N D H I S T O R Y Through December 14 Sit back in the museum’s Omni IMAX Theater, with an eight-story domed screen, and watch the 2004 holiday favorite about a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and restores his belief in Santa. $9 adults; $8 youth 2–18. // 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300; fwmuseum.org

ice slides inside the ICE! exhibit featuring scenes from ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Prices vary by activity; open daily through New Year’s Day. ICE! tickets from $21.99 for adults and $12.99 for children. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine;

817/778-1000 christmasatgaylordtexan.com

PANTHER ISLAND ICE

C OYOT E DR I V E - I N Through January 15 Fort Worth’s only outdoor ice skating rink, powered by a 150-ton chiller, is open every day this season (including on Christmas and New Year’s day) for holiday fun, music and figure skating exhibitions at Panther Island Pavilion. Bring your own ice skates or rent a pair for $12 (children’s sizes available). Free for spectators. Drive-in movie tickets sold separately. 223 NE Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817/698-0700 pantherislandice.com

F O R M O R E F A M I LY- F R I E N D LY F U N T H I S M O N T H , C H E C K O U R O N L I N E C A L E N DA R AT D F W C H I L D.CO M/C A L E N DA R.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL; LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER; GAYLORD TEXAN; ISTOCK.COM/YLIVDESIGN

kid culture / T H E


For a Jolly Time This Holiday Season, Visit NorthPark Center We’ve made our list and checked it twice: THE SALVATION ARMY ANGEL TREE Through December 6, 2017 Level One near Macy’s

Make the holiday season a memorable one for those in need by giving presents, clothing and necessities through The Salvation Army Angel Tree. Choose an Angel, drop off your gift by December 6, and The Salvation Army will make your delivery in time for Christmas. Monday – Saturday Sunday

10AM – 9PM 12 – 6PM

VISITS AND PORTRAITS WITH SANTA CLAUS Through December 24, 2017 Level One in Macy’s Court

Capture memories of a lifetime with one-on-one visits and portraits with Santa Claus. Children feel right at home in Santa Claus’ cozy living room with a fireplace, a holiday tree and a comfy leather armchair. Take photos with your own camera or purchase professional portraits by Marc Robins Photography. Tickets are available starting at 9AM, Monday - Saturday, and 10AM on Sunday. Monday – Saturday

Sunday Christmas Eve

11AM – 2PM 2:30 – 5PM 5:30 – 7PM 12:30 – 3PM 3:30 – 5PM 10AM – 2PM

SPCA OF TEXAS “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” PET ADOPTION CENTER

THE TRAINS AT NORTHPARK™ BENEFITING THE RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE® OF DALLAS Through January 7, 2018 Level Two between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom

The Trains at NorthPark™, presented by Bank of Texas, has been a NorthPark Center tradition for 19 years. The most elaborate miniature toy trains exhibit in Texas, The Trains at NorthPark™ includes trains rolling across 1,600 feet of track on a journey across America. Monday – Saturday Sunday Thanksgiving Day Christmas Eve Christmas Day New Year’s Eve New Year’s Day

10AM – 9PM 11AM – 7PM Closed 9AM – 4PM Closed 10AM – 4PM 11AM – 6PM

SCROOGE PUPPET THEATRE Through December 24, 2017 Level One in EastCourt near Dillard’s

NorthPark Center’s whimsical Scrooge Puppet Theatre has been a holiday tradition for more than four decades. Charles Dickens’ famous character creates a funny scene through the magic of puppetry. Children of all ages giggle with delight as everyone’s favorite despicable holiday character emerges from his cottage at the bottom of every hour. Monday – Saturday 11:30AM – 8:30PM Sunday 12:30 – 6:30PM Christmas Eve 10:30AM – 3:30PM

SANTA’S TOY SHOPPE PUPPET THEATRE

Through December 23, 2017

Through December 24, 2017

Level One between Macy’s and Dillard’s

Level Two between Nordstrom and Macy’s near Green House Market

The sky is the limit for the dogs (and cats!) that make any house a home. The SPCA of Texas’ “Home for the Holidays” Pet Adoption Center at NorthPark Center has provided special adoption experiences for thousands of four-legged animals and their loving new families for 27 years. Daily

12 – 6PM

How does Santa get all of those presents to little boys and girls around the world? Santa’s Toy Shoppe Puppet Theatre animates the story of a toymaker and a cast of entertaining characters working to get Santa’s toys completed in time for Christmas Eve delivery. Santa’s Toy Shoppe Puppet Theatre shows start at the top of every hour. Monday – Saturday 11AM – 7PM Sunday 12 – 6PM Christmas Eve 11AM – 3PM

For a detailed listing of events, activities, holiday hours, stores and more, visit northparkcenter.com.


confessions

“My 4-year-old son’s school was closed, so I took him to work with me for a few hours. He was using the potty by himself (he does it at school, and it’s literally next to my desk), and he was taking a long time so I peeked in to find him wiping up the poop he had gotten all over the toilet seat.”

MOMMY FAILS ILLUSTRATION MARY DUNN

—ASHLEY, DALLAS

My 2-year-old dropped a piece of ice in Panera, threw his hands up in the air and yelled ‘Damn it.’” —KIM, ROANOKE

I TOOK MY KIDS TO THE MOVIES AND LET THEM GET CANDY. I WAS DISTRACTED DURING THE PREVIEWS AND DIDN’T REALIZE THAT MY 4-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ATE AN ENTIRE BAG OF GUMMY BEARS IN 20 MINUTES.” —SALLY, COPPELL

“I burped my 2-month-old daughter sans burp cloth and then discovered her dried spit-up in my hair in the form of a sticky clump of milk knots hours later while trying to run my fingers through my hair at work.” —JESS, DALLAS

Got a parenting fail you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Send it to editorial@dfwchild.com.

“Ten minutes before boarding a plane for an international flight, my 3-year-old spilled an entire cup of milk down the front of her. My husband took her into the bathroom, but instead of rinsing her clothes, he put them under the dryer. She stunk of spoiled milk for the entire flight.” —SUSAN, SOUTHLAKE

MY 3-YEAROLD DAUGHTER OFFERED TO DRESS HERSELF SO I LET HER, AND SHE ENDED UP IN A CUTE DRESS. WHEN I PICKED HER UP AFTER SCHOOL, HER TEACHER REMINDED ME TO SEND HER IN UNDERWEAR SINCE SHE HAD BEEN TWIRLING IN HER DRESS ALL OVER THE PLAYGROUND.” —TRACY, FORT WORTH

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december 2017 / northtexaschild


So today’s dreamers can grow into tomorrow’s doers. When you see the world through the eyes of a child, you don’t see limitations — you see possibilities. At Children’s HealthSM we believe that illness and injury should never stand in the way of childhood. For more than 100 years, we’ve been committed to providing the highest quality treatment for the most serious pediatric illnesses. Today, we’re the area provider ranked in the most U.S. News & World Report pediatric specialties, the only children’s Level 1 Trauma Center and the only one with eight care certifications by the Joint Commission. Now as a system, we’re by your side in more ways than ever with 50 specialties, virtual medicine, innovative research and locations throughout North Texas. All because we believe in supporting children who dream as big as we do.

Learn more at childrens.com/littledreamers

NorthTexasChild December 2017