A Resource for Families in Athens, Oconee County and the Surrounding Area Building Families... Building Businesses
LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED SINCE 1998!
Our 20th Holiday Issue!
A Season for Giving Back A Time for Thank-You Notes Shaking Up Travel Traditions Holiday Helper
free Holiday 2017
Holiday 2017 Vol. 20 No. 1
â€œBuilding Families...Building Businessesâ€? Locally Owned and Operated. Now In Our 20th Year! PRODUCTION DIRECTOR A.W. Blalock MANAGING EDITOR Sarah Danis ADVERTISING Anniston Howell Hanh Nguyen WEB DESIGN/CALENDAR Chris Parsons FOUNDER Shannon H. Baker
WRITERS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Liz Conroy, Sarah Danis, Jean Mangan, Chris Parsons, Dr. Jon Robinson, Suzanne Rutledge Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine is published six times a year. Reader correspondence and editorial submission welcome.We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without express written consent of the publisher. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this magazine. Distribution of this product does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services herein.
Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine P.O. Box 465,Watkinsville, GA 30677 Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial: email@example.com Office & Production: firstname.lastname@example.org Calendar: email@example.com Website: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.athensparent.com PUBLISHED BY
on the cover
Our amazing 20th Holiday Issue cover artwork by Claire Johnson
first words... It's the most wonderful time of the year With the kids jingle belling And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer” It's the most wonderful time of the year
contents 8 7
FROM “IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR” RECORDED BY ANDY WILLIAMS (1963)
he holiday season is upon us! I love this time of year! From roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and putting out all of our holiday decorations to looking forward to a break from school, it can definitely be a busy and sometimes stressful time. In this issue, we have some great suggestions for having less stress and more happiness in your lives. I am so excited about the great topics we have to share with you in this issue. We have included many new and cool gift suggestions in our holiday gift guide. Liz Conroy interviewed Janie Voss about the importance of thank-you notes. We share information with you about “Joyristas,” a program that Extra Special People, Inc. recently started serving coffee and joy at businesses and special events. Dr. Robinson has advice about how to keep our kids “thankful” during Thanksgiving and keeping them busy during the school breaks. Suzanne Rutledge will offer her insight on traveling out of your comfort zone during the holidays and she is definitely an expert at it!
8 Joyristas 10 Little Ways to Help in a Big Way 12 Teaching Children About Thank-You Notes 18 Holiday Family Travel: Shaking Up Traditions
Toys& Gifts 22-29 6
6 Show & Tell 14 On Your Mind:
Thanks and Giving 16 Calendar 30 ‘Til We Meet Again Sarah and her boys enjoying lunch at school
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Read Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine anywhere, any time ... online! Visit athensparent.com and click “read online.” Also, check out our online calendar for up-to-date, family-friendly events. www.athensparent.com
holiday cornucopia treats These fruit cones are like mini cornucopias and are perfect for a healthy holiday treat or dessert. All you need are waffle ice cream cones, wax or parchment paper to line the inside of the cone to keep it from getting soggy, and a colorful selection of fruit! Thanks to kirbiecravings.com for this yummy idea!
Compiled by Sarah Danis
Santa ildren’s staff with unty Library ch Co ke lar -C ns he At
ave you ever wanted to be one of Santa’s elves? Elf Training & Top Elf Book Signing is a free event taking place at the Athens-Clarke County Library’s Children’s area on Thursday, December 7 at 3:30 pm. Join them for the library’s annual certified Elf-Training Workshop! Make holiday crafts, enjoy treats, sing in the Elfin Choir, and meet local author Caleb Zane Huett, author of Top Elf. Children graduate from the program with a certificate given out by Santa himself! For children ages 2-11 and their caregiver. email@example.com
Did you know that gratitude is a learned behavior? Turkey on the Table is a book and activity that encourages the whole family to express and display their gratitude.The goal is to turn thankfulness into a daily routine. As parents, we want to instill values in our children that help them understand and appreciate all of life’s blessings. Cultivating a grateful heart helps create a happy child! Turkey on the Table includes an adorable knit turkey, 13 double-sided, customizable feathers with marker, and a heartwarming book.Your purchase also provides 10 meals for people in need through a partnership with Feeding America!
Send your ideas & photos to P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 6
... on Daniel Tiger’s storybook app
ead, play, and learn with Daniel Tiger’s Storybooks – a collection of favorite stories from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that you can download from the App Store for $2.99! The Daniel Tiger’s Storybooks app offers a library of interactive stories narrated by PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger.The stories show Daniel learning little life lessons, like sharing with friends and being a helper. Each book, available in English and Spanish, includes a familiar song, charming animations, and a simple game to encourage children to play about the theme of the story.
Restaurant: Cali-n-Tito’s Troy’s Score: 5 napkins “You Better Watch Out” by Rin Drudge
“Winter Cabin” by Calvin Schultz
The Classic Center is proud to present its first ice show performance, Christmas on Ice, at Akins Ford Arena at the Classic Center. Showings will be December 14, 15, and 16, 2017. Call 706-357-4444 for ticket information.
Troy Aldrich is a local 9-year-old who enjoys food and is over the kids menu at most restaurants – but not everywhere. His Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reviews will appear here in each issue and will guide parents on great places to take their kids to eat – from a kid’s point of view. Each restaurant is given a rating on a scale of 5 napkins.The project started because Troy always had an opinion on what he was eating and if the family should return to the restaurant. Over the summer the family used it as a teaching tool on opinion writing.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.” Helen Keller
ali-n-Tito’s on Athens’ east side is a great place for families to eat. It has outstanding food and different types of entertainment.They have a foosball table, Pacman video game, tricycles to ride and fun coin-operated kids rides. So bring your quarters.They have giant TVs if you want to watch sports.They also have a small ice cream shop located inside the restaurant, LaMichoacana. It doesn't have your normal flavors – the selections are really special, like almond dulce leche. When I went with my family, I had a pork quesadilla. It was cheesy, chewy and really, really good. It had a lot of flavor. My favorite part of Cali-n-Tito’s was having fun with my family playing foosball after we ate. I give it 5 napkins! Cali-n-Tito’s at La Puerta del Sol is located at 1254 Cedar Shoals Drive in Athens.
For more kid's reviews go to Troytastes.com www.athensparent.com
ja va jo y!
Special photos of ESP Joyristas
Redefining Barista: Special Joy with Every Cup of Java
w WHEN MOST COFFEE DRINKERS enjoy their first cup of java, they are looking for a boost to start their day. At Java Joy, coffee lovers receive much more than a jolt of caffeine – pure joy finds its way into every drop. Java Joy, run by Watkinsville-based nonprofit Extra Special People, aims to spread joy and java one cup at a time across Athens and Oconee. And their business is booming. Serving a specialty Jittery Joe’s blend of local coffee, baked goods, and iced coffee popsicles, Java Joy is a mobile coffee cart
operation that employs young adults with special needs. Traveling to events and local businesses, Java Joy has been eagerly welcomed into the community, growing from one small stand to a two-cart, two-van operation in less than a year. Several businesses host Java Joy each week at the request of employees who love having their morning cup of joe served with an authentic, heartwarming smile. “Our employees love to start their day with a good cup of coffee,” said David Kernall, owner
and general manager of Bulldog Kia car dealership, one of Java Joy’s regular customers. “But what they love more are the smiles and enthusiasm from the Joyristas – it’s contagious.” Watching the interactions between Java Joy employees and the community, ESP Executive Director Laura Whitaker quickly realized that the word “barista” didn’t fully describe the role of those serving coffee from behind the cart or inside the van. As a result, ESP coined a brand-new term: “Joyrista.”
Joyrista: (n) a person of varied ability who’s able to serve coffee and transformative joy. The joy is authentic in the Joyristas, many of whom would not have the opportunity for a fulfilling work experience in a traditional business environment. But through the training and support of ESP’s staff, they empower the young and eager entrepreneurs – many of whom have Down Syndrome – to take ownership and pride in their roles at Java Joy. “I love Java Joy because I get to
FROM FAR LEFT: In less than a year, Java Joy has grown its following to businesses, schools and organizations around Athens and Oconee County. Joyrista Hannah Baird loves serving coffee with a smile. Joyristas Suzanne Goossens, Megan McCutcheon, Hannah Baird and Colin Allen take ownership and pride in their roles. Joyrista Nick Stanley offers joy with every cup of coffee at their regular weekly visit to Bulldog Kia. Working alongside friends is one of the greatest joys for Joyristas Suzanne Goossens and Megan McCutcheon.
be with my friends and meet new ones,” said Joyrista Megan McCutcheon.“I get to see that I’m bringing joy to people’s faces.” Java Joy’s motto is “Fuel to Give,” and each Joyrista lives out that sentiment when they serve every cup by providing an experience of unparalleled joy that encourages each customer to change their perspective on the day. And the work experience is fuel for each of the Java Joy employees.These young adults with disabilities gain confidence through meaningful workplace
training and involvement. Equipped with the perfect job title, lots of coffee and a loving community, the Java Joyristas are showing others what it means to see ability rather than disability through the way they serve customers with radiating and heartwarming smiles. ■ If you are interested in hiring Java Joy and their friendly Joyristas to visit your business or event, visit JavaJoy.org.You can also join their Facebook page, @fueltogive, to see where they are serving around town. www.athensparent.com
By Jean Mangan
Little Ways Big Way to help in a
THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS upon us.We are busy attending school functions, seeing extended family, decorating, menu-planning, and cleaning. Christmas music and decorations have been out since early October. Kids are studying for exams and finishing up term papers.This time of year often feels frenetic and chaotic, even though the purposes of the holidays is to celebrate light during darkness, being connected to a higher purpose, remembering family, and remaining united in our paths to peace.This year, try to give back to our community during this holiday season in whatever capacity you can, big or small. Donate! Add an item to the Little Free Pantry around town that is closest to you. These wooden cabinets started being placed around Athens in March 2017. Helpful items include crackers, canned food, toothpaste, and shampoo. As the weather gets colder, items like socks, gloves, and handwarmers will all
find their ways home with those in need.This is a great initiative that has been put together. You can pick up an extra of something you are already buying at the grocery store and place it in the pantry you pass on your way home. Locations of Little Free Pantries include: Extra Special People, Inc., Athens Community Career Academy, Ebenezer Baptist Church West, Lifespan Montessori of Athens, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Strong Girlsâ€™ Pantry at Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Reblossom, and Double Helix STEAM School; and coming soon to East Athens Community Center, Presbyterian Student Center at UGA, and The Church at College Station. Start a new holiday challenge, where every day of the holiday season you add a
Fill a holiday box during the season, then donate to an area food bank or food pantry. PHOTO BY JEAN MANGAN
At left, a Little Free Pantry located at Extra Special People, Inc. headquarters. PHOTO BY SARAH DANIS
canned or dried good to a box, and at the end (once all the wrapping paper is thrown away and the decorations have come down), donate the goods to locations such as Athens Area Emergency Food Bank or the UGA Student Food Pantry. If there is a charity that has a special place in your heart, consider sending them a check.With a receipt you can potentially use that donation as a tax deduction.This could also be a good gift idea for someone on your list who already has everything but has a particular cause about which she feels passionate. You can also donate by volunteering your time at the food bank, serving food, organizing donations, visiting a nursing home, or a plethora of options.There is always someone out there who can use your help.Volunteering does not have to
be done with a group; bringing your neighbor’s paper to their door or holding the door for an elderly person at the grocery store are also ways to give back and help that take up almost no time at all. Shop local! There are many independent businesses that have been lovingly dreamed of and made into reality by our neighbors. Consider shopping for gifts for your family and friends in locally-owned and locally-run stores in our community. Remember, in addition to material items, gifts can include experiences such as excursions and skills classes (martial arts, dance, swimming, art, sewing) or even treating a friend to a meal. You can buy your food and drinks for holiday get-togethers from small businesses ane more money will stay in our community. Remember that holidays can be stressful for both us and those around us for a variety of reasons – overbooked schedules, stretched financial obligation, tense family relations, loneliness during a time when everyone else has a group to belong to.There are going to be many people standing in line at the stores, driving around town running errands, or trying to find parking spaces. Get in the right frame of mind. Exercise patience.Ways to do this include taking deep breaths and counting to ten before you act.You can also consider going out in off-peak hours or consolidating errands into fewer trips. Smile! Flashing your pearly whites at those you encounter during the day costs you no money, takes you no time, and wastes no effort. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile! Put together a “random acts of kindness” challenge with your family or friends. Get together and compile a list of acts of kindness everyone is to complete, maybe writing a letter to a family member telling them how much they mean to you, baking cookies for someone who has helped you, thank someone each day who helps you in a small way, send a card to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Give one (or all!) of these ideas a try, and see how giving to others is truly the best way to give to yourself. ■ Jean is a 30something attorney in Athens, Georgia, who delights in spending time with her family, reading, writing, and running. www.athensparent.com
Story and photo by Liz Conroy
Teaching children about
JANIE VOSS HAS TAUGHT two- to five-year-old children in Athens, Georgia for more than three decades. She began her career at the UGA’s McPhaul Child Development Lab. She then taught in the Clarke County School system, and later worked with preschoolers in the half-day program at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School. Her kindness, patience, and knowledge were apparent as she worked with different pre-school groups. Her skills helped parents throughout the Athens area – including me and my husband – improve their own parenting skills.We learned better ways to interact with our children. Now recently retired, Janie Voss (JV) offered to share her expertise with Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine (APM) on teaching children about writing thank-you notes in their early years. APM: Why is writing thank-you notes such an important habit for children to learn? JV: It is always important to teach children the value and importance of saying “thankyou” whenever they receive special gifts from family, friends, or school acquaintances. First, talk with your child about what it means to be grateful to those who care enough to give gifts, share their time, or extend invitations to tea parties or other events. Second, explain that a good way to express gratitude is to write a thank-you note or even draw a picture to send to that person. APM: At what age can a small child begin learning about thank-you notes or thank-you pictures? JV: Even one and two-year-olds can be involved in these activities. It’s best to start when they are young. And, keeping things simple makes it easier for child of any age to enjoy the task. APM: What are some tips for teaching a young child to write thank-you notes? JV:When you sit down to write thank-you notes, include your child in the process by briefly explaining what it is you’re doing and why the note or card means a lot for someone to receive.
As the child sits next to you and watches the process, you are serving as an important role model for this positive project. Consider inviting your young child to add a scribble, a fingerprint, or a sticker to the card, as their contribution.They will enjoy being part of something special. Older children like choosing the card or paper to make thank-you cards or notes since this gives them some control in the activity. Allowing them to feel involved helps increase their excitement about taking part. It also helps to describe to them how excited the person will be to receive such a special card in the mail. Everyone enjoys receiving a thank-you note in the mail! APM: Can you recall some of your own experiences as a child in this activity? JV: My parents, especially my mother, encouraged my siblings and me to send thank-you cards.They provided us with pretty cards, stamps, and other artsy things. I really enjoyed writing to my grandparents. It felt like a special connection because they lived several hours away, and we only saw them a few times each year. I even remember becoming “Pen Pals” with my mother's mother after a time, and it’s a nice memory. APM: What supplies do you recommend for creating hand-made notes? JV:Today, there are so many creative supplies for children to use to make thank-you notes and cards.You may want to have a craft box filled with a few cards, paper to make cards, lots of writing/drawing tools (glitter pens, crayons, markers), stickers, scissors, and glue sticks for your children to inspire their creativity. APM: When a child refuses, how should a parent best handle it? JV:You know your child the best! He or she may not be ready to engage in such activities. All you can do is be excited, provide role modeling as you go, offer the supplies, and invite the child to join in the fun.Try to keep things positive so it doesn’t become a cumbersome chore.
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Karlin Silvershield, Ruby Nackashi, and Adah Nackashi use drawing as a way to convey their thanks through pictures.
APM: At what age will a child be able to write his or her own thank-you notes or cards? JV:When children are about six to eightyears-old, they can begin writing their thoughts on their own.The parent can write down what a younger child has to say. Sometimes these are the best-ever notes! After all, young children have their own ideas of what a thank-you note is all about and are willing to freely express themselves. Before mailing their cards, parents can take a moment to teach older children where to put the name, address, and return address on each envelope.Then let them stick the stamp on the envelope, too. APM: When are the best times to begin writing notes, such as after supper or on weekends? JV: A good time to suggest to your children to write thank-you notes is when a parent is going to do the same activity or a similar activity such as other paper work or paying bills.That way, it becomes kind of a group activity or project. Another good time is when you have just purchased new supplies for the craft box, and then the children are already excited about using them. APM: What are some final tips for parents who are teaching their children about writing thank-you notes? JV: Begin role modeling writing thank-you notes to children while they are young.This activity – especially when started in the early years – helps youngsters develop this life skill early on, and it may even become an enjoyable family tradition to do together. It’s a wonderful way to have fun while learning to express gratitude to others. ■ Liz Conroy is an Athens-based freelance journalist who always enjoys finding a thank-you note in the mailbox.
on your mind
By Dr. Jon Robinson
d Dear Dr. Robinson,
My 10- and 7-year-old sons only think of Thanksgiving as a break from school and stuffing themselves with turkey. Don’t get me wrong.They are great kids, but just a tad “me”-oriented.We probably add to the situation by just collapsing and vegging out in front of the TV with football games. Also, because it’s a short work week, my boss tries to cram five days of work into three. Any thoughts about how we can put more “thanks” and “giving” in the holiday? - Signed, Drained Dear Drained, Ya know, given your surroundings and work demands, good for you for even remembering the intent of the Thanksgiving holiday. Making changes sounds like a process of swimming upstream for you and your family. Hang in there. Family traditions can be challenged and changed with planning, effort, and upbeat attitude. First, talk with your spouse privately. Make sure you both are on the same page.There’s a saying in psychology: “We are drawn to the familiar, even if it is unhealthy.” So, change involves persistence long enough for the healthy unfamiliar to become familiar. Once your spouse is on board, plan a family meeting.Tell the kids that you want to plan holiday activities that will embrace the meaning of “thanksgiving.” Tolerate the groans, “sounds like homework,” and “do we hafta?” Keep your smile and be upbeat. Use the week preceding the family meeting to notice inci-
“Thanks and Giving”
. r e p l e h y a d i l o h A
dentally ideas that you’ve heard about. Use your active listening to hear your children’s feelings, and then redirect them to options. I’ve known some families who find a homeless person to bring home for family dinner. Others volunteer at a nursing home or a homeless shelter or serve food at a local church feeding the disadvantaged. Others make Thanksgiving an extended family, or multi-family, neighborhood event. Others tape the football games and trade vegging out in for a family trip to the park, the zoo, or another local attraction. Lots of possibilities. As you are committed to the change and find the energy, your family will follow your lead. Once you have a plan, include the kids in the details. Hopefully, their groaning will become excitement.
Dear Dr. Robinson, For Christmas break, the local schools allow almost a month off from school. Of course, my kids are thrilled about it, but the change in their routine and the time alone, having to find things to do, take their toll.They gripe about being bored and they are moody. I want them to enjoy their time off. I don’t want to ground them for just being kids, but, at times like these, they can get on my nerves. Help. - Signed, Out Of Options Dear Out, With your comment about their time alone, I’m assuming that your kids are middle school and high school, and also reasonably responsi-
ble. That being the case, you will have more options by planning ahead, factoring in reward and consequence, helping them establish a routine, and inserting family outing time as schedules permit. Calling a family meeting is always a good start. Use your family calendar to tag events during the time off from school. If there are local concerts, movie nights, sleepovers, church events, and time for holiday shopping, put all of that on the calendar. Use these events as rewards for tasks completed and for keeping a good mood and attitude. Get creative about ways they can become more responsible, while also having more fun. For example, divide up age-appropriate ways they can help you out (code for “chores”) since they have more time. Have them balance computer gaming and phone texting with pleasure reading. Have them plan, shop, and prepare evening meals, and then brag on them as you share the meal together. Help them think outside of the box as well and be creative with the time off from school, supporting ideas that they come up with, within your time and expense limitations. With cooperative planning, holiday time can be fun, family time. ■
Dr. Robinson is a licensed, clinical psychologist. His specialty is in school-clinical, child psychology, with emphasis on child development, parenting and family counseling. He is also author of Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting, now available nationwide in bookstores and on-line as an e-book.
Compiled by Chris Parsons
who have experienced the holidays after separation or divorce. Ask about childcare. Attendees will receive a book with over 30 daily readings providing additional insights and ideas on holiday survival. Grace Fellowship, 4-6pm, $5, 769-4001 or 540-7259
■ Ice Skating
25 Small Business Saturday
“Athens on Ice” public skating will be offered 11/24-1/15 in Akins Arena and 1/29-2/28 at the 440 Foundry Pavilion at The Classic Center.Tickets are $13/person and $10/person with groups of 10 or more. classic center.com/272/Athens-on-Ice
Shop local and support small businesses in Athens and Oconee County!
Always verify events through their organizations before attending. Pre-registration may be required for some activities.
■ Deck the Walls Santa buys original art! For the holiday season the Lyndon House Arts Center gallery shop will extend into the Lower Atrium Gallery. All items are original and hand-made and are for sale. Enjoy the satisfaction of buying local! Lyndon House Arts Center, 11/22-12/31,TuesdaysSaturdays, noon-5pm, 613-3623
November 2017 18 Rock and Gem Show Annual event for all ages featuring gem and mineral collections from local enthusiasts. Come learn about our local geology and participate in educational activities. Sandy Creek Nature Center, 9am-4pm, 613-3615
19 Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller. The Classic Center, 7:30-9:30pm, see website for ticket pricing, classiccenter.com, 208-0900
19 DivorceCare: Surviving the Holidays This seminar features practical suggestions, guidance and reassurance though video interviews with counselors, experts in divorce-related care and people 16
Some events, dates and times are subject to change. Please call individual event organizers to confirm schedules. All area codes are 706 unless otherwise noted.
them up close! You may know Ranger Nick from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and the Georgia Farm Monitor television show. All ages. Oconee County Library, 10:30am, 769-3950
1 First Friday on Main Festivities begin at 6pm and include Lighting of the Christmas Tree! Downtown Watkinsville
30 Holiday Countdown Calendars Let’s enjoy stories about Hanukkah and Christmas and make holiday calendars that you can use to count down! Ages 5-11 + caregiver.Athens-Clarke County Library, 3:30pm, 613-3650
30 Holiday Gift Workshop for Teens! Come by to make your own personalized gifts.There will be an array of stations ranging from jewelry making to body scrubs to learning how to construct fidget spinners and more! Grades 6-12 only, please! Athens-Clarke County Library, 4-6pm, 613-3650
30-Dec.1 UGA Holiday Concert Hodgson Concert Hall,, 7:309:30pm, visit pac.uga.edu for tickets, 542-4400
December 2017 1 Amazing Animals with Ranger Nick Ranger Nick will bring in some amazing local wildlife and we will get to learn about them and see
Discover festive themes in the permanent collection, then create your own glittering, bright, wintry work of art. Enjoy refreshments and a special holiday performance by Meridian Women’s Choir in the lobby. Georgia Museum of Art, 10am12pm, 542-4662
2 Canopy Festivus Show Annual Holiday Student Show featuring Canopy students performing on trapeze, fabrics, lyra, and circus pole. Canopy Studio, 160-6 Tracy Street, Athens, 4pm and 8pm, visit canopystudio.org for ticket information.
29 Printmaking with Teens Come channel your inner Picasso or Warhol with this hands-on interactive printmaking session lead by a local artist, Jackie Slayton Methe.Teens (grades 612) will get a chance to make and take home personalized masterpieces. Signups are required for this event. Georgia Museum of Art, 4:30-5:30pm, 613-3650
2 Family Day: Holiday Celebration
2-3 Holiday Hooray
1-3 OCAF Annual Holiday Market and OCAF Artists’ Shoppe The OCAF Holiday Market will include pottery, paintings, fiber art, stained and fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, photography, woodwork and more from over 70 artists. Tasty home-made treats also available. 12/1, 5-8pm, 12/2-12/3, 10am5pm. Admission for all three days is $3 for adults. Children under 16 are free. Plenty of free parking.The Artists’ Shoppe will remain open Tues-Sat beginning 12/1, 10am-4pm, through 12/22. Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF), ocaf.com, 769-4565
1-2 How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Other Holiday Dances Presented by Encore Dance Theatre, Inc. Friday, Dec. 1 at 7pm; Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3pm & 7pm in the Oconee County Civic Center, Watkinsville. For tickets and more information call 706-769-1177.
2 Watkinsville Christmas Parade Parade includes floats, bands, horses, vintage cars and tractors, scouting troops, dance, twirling, tumbling groups and more. Downtown Watkinsville, 11am
Annual Indie South event featuring 125 artists, makers and collectors plus food trucks, vinyl DJs, kids crafts and holiday cheer. 660 N. Chase Street, 12/2, 10am6pm, 12/3, 12pm-5pm, $3. theindiesouth.com
4 Visit with Santa Come visit with Santa Claus and take your picture with him! Oconee County Library, 4-5:30pm, 769-3950, also on 12/11, 12/18
7 Downtown Parade of Lights Kick off the holiday season with this annual parade through downtown Athens.This year’s theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The parade begins at 7pm.Visit athensclarke county.com/parade for the route.
7 Elf Training & Top Elf Book Signing Join us for our annual certified Elf-Training Workshop! Make holiday crafts, enjoy treats, sing in our Elfin Choir and meet local author Caleb Zane Huett, author of Top Elf. Children will graduate from the program with a certificate given out by Santa himself! For children ages 2-11 + caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 3:30pm, 613-3650
7 Sewing Club for Teens Have you always wanted to learn to sew or create inexpensive fashion on the fly? Join Ms. Lorena as she teaches you the ins and outs of sewing (612th grades only). AthensClarke County Library, 4:306:00pm, 613-3650
7 Baby Music Jam Join us for a sing-a-long and lots of fun! Children and caregivers play musical instruments, sing, and dance together. Oconee County Library, 10:30am, 769-3950, also on 1/11
9 OCAF Mingle with Kringle Each session of this festive annual event consists of a FREE photo with Kringle, storytelling, holiday crafts, and construction of the Peaceful Village. In addition, Peter Hart will present his “Holiday on Strings” puppet show.The Fox family as well as Scarlet the macaw will visit with the children and be available for photo ops. Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, Session 1: 10am-12pm, Session 2: 1-3pm. Admission $2 or one unwrapped toy per child. However, no child will be turned away. All proceeds and gifts will be donated to Oconee County Resource Council’s Christmas program for kids. 769-4565, ocaf.com
9 Breakfast with Santa! Enjoy a breakfast buffet, a special visit with Santa, including a photo with complimentary digital copy, a stop by Santa’s workshop craft station and more.The Classic Center, 8:30-10:30am, visit Classic Center.com/Breakfast WithSanta for updates and ticket information!
11 Puppet Show: The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man Follow the new adventures of the little troublemaking
Gingerbread Man as he makes narrow escapes from unsuspecting cookie lovers and meets many wacky characters from classic tales. Oconee County Library, 7pm, 769-3950
14 Happy Hanukkah! Join us in celebrating the season of lights with an afternoon of stories and crafts. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah in your home or want to learn about this wonderful holiday, you won’t want to miss the fun. Ages 311 + caregiver. AthensClarke County Library, 3:30pm, 613-3650
14 Hanukkah Storytime Join us for stories, songs, food, and crafts as we celebrate the season of lights! Oconee County Library, 4pm, 769-3950
15 Teen After Hours Program! Teens, join us for a cupcake decorating war! We’ll have cupcakes on hand for each teen to decorate.The winner will receive a special prize! You must register for this event by 12/14! Grades 6-12 only. Athens-Clarke County Library, 6-8pm, 613-3650
15-17 Canopy Teen/ Kid Holiday Shows Canopy Teen Showcase will feature middle and high school students on trapeze, fabrics, lyra, and circus pole.
12/15 7pm, 12/16 7pm; Canopy Kids Show will give younger Canopy students a chance to shine in this endof-the-year show. 12/16, 5pm, 12/17, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm. Canopy Studio, 160-6 Tracy Street, visit canopystudio.org for ticket information.
16 Breakfast with Santa at Sandy Creek Nature Center Join Santa for breakfast, and enjoy crafts and activities for children as well as your chance to talk to Jolly Old St. Nick (photo included). Sandy Creek Nature Center, 8:00-8:45am, 9:00-9:45am, 10:00-10:45am. Online registration is required by 12/8, $5-$7.50, 613-3615
27 Cooking with Jayln Learn how to make some fun and delicious treats with Mr. Jayln. 6th-12th grades only. Athens-Clarke County Library, 4:30-5:30, 613-3650
January 2018 1 First Day Hikes in Georgia’s State Parks In Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, dozens of ranger-guided treks will encourage friends and families to connect with nature and each other with an energizing First Day Hike. GaStateParks.org/events, 770-389-7286
6 Dad and Me Storytime: Winter in the Wild Spend the morning at the library with your dad or male caregiver. Listen to winter stories, and help us make snacks and bird feeders for our outdoor winter friends. Ages 3-11 + caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 11am, 613-3650
By Suzanne Rutledge
Holiday Family Travel
Shaking up Traditions
DURING THE HOLIDAYS, MANY families hit the road to visit grandparents and relatives or celebrate the days off of school with a vacation. Whether you are driving to the next state or flying to another country, every parent deserves to enjoy the vacation as much as their kids do. Here are some ideas to build into the itinerary, as well as an excerpt from my book, From the Rut to the Ledge, about our own travel experiences and what we learned after nine months traveling together around the world.While we saw and experienced many of the world’s wonders, what we learned as parents and as a family was just as powerful. Our son, Luke, was seven years old when we departed on that first 22-hour flight from Georgia to New Zealand. During our journey across 18 countries, we as parents had to adjust our expectations for what we could accomplish in a day.We intentionally traveled slowly to allow for the pace of our child. But the added benefit was breathing in every experience like locals, instead of squeezing in too many activities as tourists are tempted to do. Here are some of our favorite trip tips for family travel.
Learn from the Experts
If your children are anything like mine, they always seem to learn better from others. If my husband and I attempt to lead our family on a self-guided walking tour, it inevitably lands on deaf ears. But, we discovered in many cities we have visited in the U.S. and in foreign countries, there are free walking tours led by young, smart and engaging guides who not only keep our son’s interest, but engage him in conversation between stops on the tour. These 2-3 hour tours are an excellent way to start a trip, get the history of the city and lay of the land. Some tours offer street food stops to introduce local fare.We’ve even taken a tour of our hometown! You would be surprised what you discover that is unfamiliar and new in your very own zip code. Because the tours are free, we never feel bad about bowing out early 18
your interests. But, some experiences can be as simple as asking your local hotel or tour guide to point you toward a “voluntourism” opportunity. Especially during the holiday season, there are many opportunities to serve a meal, donate time or gifts to a homeless shelter or volunteer at an animal shelter. For a child, seeing their parents give back and working alongside other volunteers while learning about an important cause plants positive memories and a future desire to serve. Giving of themselves while seeing the benefit it provides others is a worthwhile lesson to teach early.
Riding bicycles throughout their trip (here in Rovinj, Croatia) allowed the Rutledges to cover more ground and spend time together outside.The family also took advantage of free walking tours, teaching them all something new about each city they visited.
if our son gets tired. However, we always tip them graciously because it is great value for money.The guides also provide local recommendations on restaurants and answer questions about local transport or other sites. Google “free walking tour CITY” to find one at your next destination.
Teach the Joy of Giving Back
A vacation is a vacation, but there is something rewarding about giving back to those in need. We’ve found that there are plenty of opportunities to work with organizations in the U.S. or in foreign countries, either for a week or a day. It usually requires some time and research online to find a charity or cause aligned with
We learned when traveling with a child that you must sprinkle in some pint-sized activities with the adult wish list to keep everyone happy on your journey.When kids are small, finding a local playground entertains them and gets out that never-ending energy.The adults might like the atmosphere too, engaging with locals or other traveling parents.We’ve also found it intriguing to see what playscapes foreign countries use to entertain.While the U.S. parks may never shoulder the liability of a zipline in a public playground, they are quite common in other countries and our son’s favorite thrill ride! If a playground is not enough to interest your little ones, we have found that renting bicycles is the perfect way to see a new place and expend some energy. Many rental outfits offer child seats on bicycles, or once your child is on two wheels, consider a biking tour or explore a nearby riverfront or park.We’ve found that we can cover much more ground in a new destination on two wheels instead of two feet. Whether you are traveling to another country, or even just out of your zip code, these tips and tricks aim to bring out the best in your children and help you find the most joy in your travel experiences. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different on your next vacation. And, if you are visiting family
this holiday season, ask them to join in the fun. Rather than sticking to the staid holiday traditions, your kids will thank you for introducing some new family activities that are sure to make lasting memories.
“ EXCERPT FROM
From the Rut to the Ledge
Hoi An was a Vietnamese French colonial town in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries known for its trading port and midway position between the northern and southern ends of the country. Largely undamaged by the Vietnam War, the yellow two- and three-story buildings that make up the pedestrianized Old Town have the worn charm of villages in the South of France today. Still a port of commerce and trade, as a tourist you can see authentic Vietnamese life happening at the waterside open market and in the many haberdasheries where a tailored suit can be custom made for a fraction of what it would cost in the United States. We booked a room at a homestay – the Vietnamese version of a bed and breakfast – with a precious family of three generations.This homestay offered five spacious and modern rooms and an outdoor courtyard for serving breakfast.They immediately took us in, asking if we would join them and the other guests for a family-style dinner. It was a delicious feast of noodles, beef, spring rolls, and cakes for dessert. We fell in love with their hospitality and warmth, and I was quickly won over and convinced that most Vietnamese had long since moved on from the negative feelings they may have once harbored for Americans. “They’ve got free bikes, Mom!” Luke exclaimed after breakfast our first morning. “Let’s ride out to the beach!” “I read Anthony Bourdain found some delicious banh mi sandwiches in the Old Town. Maybe we could get lunch there?” Mitch added. Food and freewheeling. Our day’s plans were firmed up by 8:00 a.m. Our favorite family activities were slowly formulating as we ventured into each new town and discovered things all three of us could enjoy together. One delightful surprise was our love of discovering a new city via bicycle. Luke impressed us with his willingness to adapt to any size and style bike, and we found we could cover much more ground on two wheels instead of two feet. Our intention was to purposefully spend time together soaking up what life was like around the world.We wanted to peel away the layers of schedules and busyness that enveloped our family and spend weeks at a time in different places where we knew only each other.At home, it was sometimes hard to slow down and find time to play a simple board game or
Washing the elephants was one of the highlights at the Rutledge’s volunteer week at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
take a bike ride as a family. Old fashioned family activities seemed to be drowned out by baseball, basketball, Cub Scouts, swim practice, and of course,TV. But on our journey, simple was all we had. Seeking out a bicycle rental outfit in almost every city we visited became a treasured part of our routine, spending hours riding side by side as we explored. Another surprise delight was investing in cooking courses to learn the country’s cuisine. In Thailand and Cambodia, we had taken cooking classes and we wanted to do the same in Vietnam.We found that the key to our hearts was through our stomachs when arriving in a new destination.There seemed to be no better way to make the unfamiliar look appetizing than to chop, stir, and cook it ourselves. Each cooking guide takes the group to the local market for fresh ingredients, a great lesson in the local fare.This was Luke’s least favorite part because of the inevitable stinky fish and seafood purveyors, but I loved perusing the stalls and gazing over the brightly-colored fruits and vegetables. Later, back in the classroom kitchen, we each chose the dish we wanted to make from a selection of options and set up our ingredients at a cooking station.Traditional dishes that may have been intimidating on a menu now looked, smelled, and tasted delicious. Luke has always been a picky eater, preferring simple and uncomplicated meals where no two items touch on the plate. But the process of shopping, chopping, and the new responsibilities of cooking over his own stovetop miraculously opened his mind and palate to the local cuisine. ■ Tired of living in their “comfortable rut,” Athens locals Suzanne and Mitch Rutledge decided to quit their jobs in America and take their seven-year-old son with them on a journey around the world. For nine months, they traveled slowly and volunteered, home schooled their second grader, and experienced what everyday life was like in new and different places. “From the Rut to the Ledge” shares their highs and lows, but also provides practical travel tips for anyone who wants to see the world – near or far – on a budget.The Rutledges went out on a ledge to experience authentic life around the world and hope to encourage and inspire other families to do the same. Learn more and buy the book at www.ruttotheledge.com.
toys& wishing pages!
Selected and compiled by Shannon H. Baker and Sarah Danis
Aura is a gesture-controlled drone that uses patented Gesturebotics™
Loog Mini Guitar
This cool-looking child’s guitar is about the same size as a ukulele. However, it plays and sounds like a guitar because it uses classical guitar strings and standard guitar tuning.That’s why everything you learn on a Loog Mini applies on a regular 6-string guitar as well. It projects a sweet, beautiful sound that’s just unbelievable for a guitar of this size and price. Comes with a deck of flashcards with chord diagrams.This is a simple but quite effective way of learning how to form chords on your Loog or any guitar.There is also a Loog app that lets you record yourself playing and post those videos online. Available locally at Treehouse Kid + Craft.
technology powered by LocoRobo.The wearable glove controller will have kids feeling like superheroes – the drone is controlled by hand motions made while wearing the glove. Kids can fly Aura up and down, forward and backwards, and even perform tricks like a sideways flip! Previously only used in military applications, this gesture technology disrupts the drone market and turns the traditional RC controller on its head. “Other drones we have tried were hard to pilot via the controller.This made flying the drone not only easy but fun. My 17-year-old son loved it as much as my younger kids.”
Goliath Games Catch the Fox In the mood to play some family games with the younger kids? Try a Goliath brand game such as Catch the Fox, France’s 2016 Toy of the Year. Players put the chickens in the Fox’s pockets and press down on his head – you never know when his pants will disappear, sending the chickens scurrying! Or try Fish Food, where a smart and sassy fish counts the cards and tells you who wins. Players take turns feeding the hungry fish their cards but sometimes he spits them back out! NightZone Capture the Flag No daylight, no problem! Challenge your friends to a twilight game of Capture the Flag with a NightZone twist.This set features a dual color lighting system for team play on both the flags and bases, and the textured flag handles are easy to grip and pass.The pressure activated light modes indicate when a flag has been captured by either team, making it easy to track game progress.
&gifts Beat Bugs Musical Submarine Action Figure Vehicle
Plays three songs from the Beat Bugs show:Yellow Submarine, All You Need is Love, and Sgt. Pepperâ€™s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Colorful lights come on when it plays. Propeller spins as the yellow submarine rolls.
DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman Toddler Doll The Wonder Woman toddler girl is ready for lots of fun action! She stands 15 inches tall with her signature iconic outfit and gorgeous rooted hair.
Yookidoo Whistling Pull Along Duck This 2-in-1 colorful duck whistles and sings as your toddler pulls it. Synchronized battery operated sounds automatically stop and start when in motion.The rolling bead coaster cylinder shell can also be played with independently. Promotes balance and coordination and encourages independent walking.
Secret Message Bags Your loved ones will feel your love every time they open their custom secret message bag with a personalized message of your choice.The products are handmade one at a time in Queens, NY. Plus, they donate 2% of every sale to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, making each bag that much more meaningful. www.shopsandrasmith.com Scrabble Rustic Series
This Rustic Series edition includes a wooden puzzlefit gameboard, 100 wooden letter tiles, 4 wooden tile racks, drawstring bag, and game guide. Proudly display the game in its rustic wooden box on a shelf or table to encourage more Scrabble showdowns!
GeoSafari Constellation and Solar System Explorer Project and view 12 Zodiac constellations, the sun and moon, all eight planets, and the Big and Little Dippers from any room in the house with this amazing, handheld observatory!
Squish-Dee-Lish Super cute slow-rise squishies are fun to squeeze, they’re adorable, and fun to collect.They are made of slow-rise foam and are super soft. Each one is packed in a Blind Foil Bag so you won’t know which one you have until you open it!
Disney Princess Style Collection Travel Vanity This travel vanity opens up to reveal a lightup mirror, beauty accessories, and plenty of storage. Vanity comes with handle, folding legs and drawers that fold out from the inside, making it portable and perfect for kids on the go.
American Girl Doll: Nanea 18” Nanea (nah-NAY-ah) has a huggable cloth body and her movable head and limbs are made of smooth vinyl. Includes the paperback book Growing Up with Aloha, the first novel-length volume of Nanea’s classic series. Kind-hearted, helpful Nanea Mitchell has big hazel eyes that open and close, and wavy darkbrown hair. She arrives in an authentic 1940s-style outfit: pake blouse, moku shorts, shoes and hibiscus hair clip. www.americangirl.com
Baby Alive Sweet Tears It is up to the kids to nurture the Sweet Tears baby doll back to health. She has an expressive face which responds to her accessories. Flip the switch in her back and she says “Mommy” and “Daddy” so girls and boys can play out nurturing moments. With 35-plus sounds and phrases in English or Spanish, she can tell kids how she’s feeling and that she loves them! Includes doll, outfit, stethoscope, thermometer, bandage, tissue, juice box, brush, and instructions.
Perfume Science Kit Equipped with eight perfume oils, finishing solution, decorative flacons and important tools of the trade for kids to begin understanding the science and history of fragrances. After experimenting with scents, playing games to train the sense of smell and learning about the connection between the nose and the brain, kids will be on their way to becoming a master perfumer in no time. “I love that they are humanely-tested. It was a great way for my daughter to play and learn!”
Pretend & Play Teaching ATM Bank Children will learn money skills while they withdraw, deposit, and save money with this electronic ATM bank. Use with the included play money or your own real money.With a mechanical bill feeder, bank will recognize play and real coins.
SoapSox Disney Baby line of bath toys feature some of Disney’s most beloved characters. Snuggle, cuddle, and play together all day and, when it’s time for your bath, bring them with you! A patented soap pocket transforms lovable SoapSox® into a sudsy wash cloth – just add soap and scrub. Ultimate Brick Maker X6 Imagine and build with limitless creativity. Use the brick maker to create structures out of the smartest dough to ever flow! You can shape it, mold it, pack it, crumble it, mix it, strrrrrretch it and watch as it flows from your hands like an other-worldly rainbow waterfall. Encourages sensory exploration, visual-spatial skills, creativity, and calmness. Available locally at Treehouse Kid + Craft. Power Rippers 2-in-1 Competition Set Battle, race, and carry your Power Rippers with this 2-in-1 Competition set. Includes carry case, 2 Battle Rippers, 2 cords, 6 loop tracks, 8 straight tracks, 1 Y track, 4 connectors, 2 loop stabilizers.
Hot Wheels PlayTape opens up a universe of open-ended vehicle play that’s as simple as unroll, stick, and race! Easy to tear, easy removal and toxin free. Repositionable and mistake proof! Made in the USA.
Disney•Pixar’s Ultimate Lightning McQueen is the top-of-the-line racer that’s packed with personality.With animated eyes, an animatronic mouth, and emotive suspension, Ultimate Lightning McQueen was born to race. Connect to the app, hit the gas, and see Lightning respond to your commands with his personality on display, thanks to emotive actions and speech. Watch him lean into hairpin turns and drift like a pro. Use the app to build racing strategy.When you’re not training, kick back and relax by watching Disney•Pixar’s “Cars” with Lightning while he reacts to the movie. www.athensparent.com
wishing pages! OgoSport: OgoBILD POD and OgoMinton
For the kids who enjoy active and constructive play, the OgoBILD POD is a kit that will inspire creative building for hours.With its connective tubes and interchangeable rubber balls, POD allows kids to design all sorts of flexible, moveable, and innovative structures. From creating geometric shapes and 3D objects that can bounce, to building forts to camp out in, kids will expand on their STEM skills with POD and have a blast doing it! OgoMinton has all the thrill and challenge of Badminton but designed specifically for short range play. It’s smaller sized racket and stretchy ogosoft ball make it ideal for kids to play with indoors or outdoors. “We loved playing this indoors! The ball is so soft and fun to hit; I was even able to get my oldest son to play with me for awhile. It is more challenging than it looks.”
Cobra Paw Ninja-like reflexes, sharp recognition skills, and mental fortitude steals the game in this new tile-snatching challenge! Players take turns rolling the dice (featuring 6 unique symbols), spotting the tile with the matching pattern, then grabbing it before their opponents.The first player to snatch up 6 tiles wins the game and bestows great honor to the Grand Shidoshi, Master Meow! Ages 5+, 2 to 6 players.
Motorola Talkabout T100 These compact two-way radios are easy to use and provide fun for hours of playtime time outside! They’re stylish (choice of blue or pink) and still provide reliable two-way communications when out of cell phone range.These feature 22 channels and up to a 16 mile range. “My daughter and my husband both loved these. He was teaching her radio lingo and they were seeing how far they could go and still hear each other. Great idea for kids who don’t have their own cell phone and want to roam the neighborhood safely.”
Transformers: The Last Knight Autobot Sqweeks RC Interactive features include lights, sounds and phrases, with dance and blaster modes, both with lights and sounds. Figure does not convert. Includes Transformers figure, blaster accessory, remote control, and instructions.
The Mega 1-Step Turbo Changer Dragonstorm Figure by Hasbro features premium detailing and awesome, movie-inspired effects. Converts between knight and dragon modes in one easy mega-step. Cyberfire reveals hidden symbols. Over 20 movie-inspired sounds and phrases.
wishing pages! Chase ’N Yur Face Cookbook was created by 15-yearold food enthusiast, Chase Bailey, who also happens to have autism.The aim of the cookbook is to raise money to provide assistance to individuals and families on the autism spectrum.The cookbook features 75 simple, quick and easy recipes that 15-year-old Chase developed, all accompanied by beautiful photography, fun facts and anecdotes. www.chaseyurdreams.org
Homesick no more with hand-crafted scents inspired by home! Each candle is handpoured in small batches with ingredients 100% sourced and produced in the USA. Made from all-natural soy wax with premium cotton wicks and custom fragrance oils. Not only do these smell incredible, they are non-toxic and contain no lead, plastics, paraben, petroleum or phthalate. www.homesickcandles.com
Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide It’s a creative and colorful mix of daily planner, diary, and to-do list, perfect for students and moms on the go. Sold alone or as a set with a blank dot-grid journal. “My 21-year-old daughter was all about this book! She is in college and trying to keep track of school, homework, social stuff and health and wellness for herself – all be tracked in one book. I love that she is journaling in the process – it takes all those things in her mind that are worrying her and gets them on paper!” Verliux ORBit LED Calming Relaxation Mood Lamp Unwind and relax with calming colors. Illuminate with white, natural spectrum light or accent your environment with cool, colorchanging LEDs. Simple, onetouch, tap-the-top operation.
BioSilk Titanium Professional Curling Iron Create silky, bouncy, longlasting curls with incredible shine.The titanium barrel heats quickly and evenly while retaining even heat distribution.The use of titanium also produces incredible shine while sealing the hair cuticle and locking out humidity. Comes in sizes from ¾ inch to 1½ inches. Max temperature of up to 410°F which is great for locking in curls. Be sure to keep away from young children’s reach.
Yummi Yogi Cookie Cutter Collection Amy Dube, a mom and practicing yogi, created the Yummi Yogi™ collection after being inspired by yoga. Her hope is that we can all slow down and be creative in our own way. And in doing so, teach our children about healthy living in and out of the kitchen. Use for cookies, holiday ornaments, bird feeder ornaments, sandwiches and more. yummiyogi.com 28
‘til we meet again
Kids love to see their picture, and you’ll love the keepsake! Send your photos and info to facebook at Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine
Avery, 11 months
Owen, 6, and Ellis, 3
Lillian, 10 months
Calleigh Rose, 5
Left to right: top row Kamyah, 7, Asia, 7, and Kylee, 9; middle row Edyn, 7, and Mylee, 9; bottom row Maisie, 6, Kate, 4, and Collins, 6 Caroline, 5, Henry, 7, Emilio, 6, and Amelia, 2
Brooks, 4, and Carter, 3
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