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Happy Hearts 4 Ways to care Dental Savvy
Keep kids calm
Kids & Cupid
Local single parents on love
Sweet Spots 8 V-Day dates
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Get Connected to primary and specialty care where you live! Mann has been my preferred pediatric physician for “theDr. past 11 years. I am always confident when I take my
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Willits Redwood Medical Clinic Family Medicine 88 Madrone Willits, CA 95490 707.459.6115
Ukiah Adventist Heart Institute Cardiology 115 Hospital Drive Ukiah, CA 95482 707.463.2400 Mendocino Family Care Family Medicine 115 Hospital Drive Ukiah, CA 95482 707.463.1900 Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center Allergy Behavioral Health Family Medicine Internal Medicine Oncology Ophthalmology
Pain Management Pediatrics Urology 260 Hospital Drive Ukiah CA, 95482 707.463.8000 Womens Health 1050 N. State Street Ukiah, CA 95482 707.462.2945 Ukiah Valley Medical Specialties Orthopedics & Physical Medicine 260 Hospital Dr., Suite 107 Ukiah, CA 95482 707.467.5278 Gastroenterology 415 Hospital Drive Ukiah, CA 95482 707.467.5275 General, Bariatric, Plastic & Reconstructive Cosmetic Surgery 246 Hospital Drive Ukiah, CA 95482 707.463.8011 Ear, Nose, & Throat 1165 S. Dora St., Ste. C-2 Ukiah, CA 95482 707.462.8855 Ophthalmology & Optometry 1165 S. Dora St, Ste. B-1 Ukiah, CA 95482 707.467.5218 Ophthalmology 248-B Hospital Drive Ukiah, CA 95482 707.467.5250
children to see Dr. Mann that they will be well taken care of. He puts children and their parents at ease with his patience, thoroughness, and humor.
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Bits and Pieces Muscat Love Hear the World Bloom Pregnant? Don’t Go to Latin America
22 Family Fun Keep Love Alive
24 Calendar of Events
Crazy for Crustaceans
8 Indoor Winter Wonderland
14 Show Me Your Smile
Rainy day fun for little ones.
10 Kids and Cupid Local single parents share their hard-won wisdom on dating.
How to ease your child’s fear of the dentist.
28 All About That Bass 30 Humor Break My V-Day Wish List
16 The Littlest Adventurers What goes into the making of a great camp experience?
18 Preschool Primer Tips on choosing a school that suits your child’s needs.
20 Date Your Mate Creative ideas for conjuring up some romance.
22 4 MendoLakeFamilyLife
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
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t’s the month to celebrate love— for our mates, our kids, and ourselves. If you are looking for a special place to take your valentine, check out “Keep Love Alive” (page 22) for a wide variety of local offerings, from a wine tasting to a bird walk. “Date Your Mate” (page 20) has lots of creative ideas, too. Meanwhile, local humorist Holly Hester has her own suggestions for conjuring up romance. (Hint: A clean floor is at the top of the list.) See her “My V-Day Wish List” (page 30) for her Sharon Gowan Publisher/Editor Sharon@family-life.us
take on the ideal way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you are flying solo, this time of year can be a little lonesome, especially if you have kids. Parenting on your own is a lot of work—and it makes dating tricky, too. In “Kids and Cupid” (page 10), local single parents share their struggle to find that special someone.
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February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Bits & Pieces
id you know that grapes you’d find in the Alsace region of France are also grown right here in Anderson Valley? Find out more about them at the International Alsace Varietals Festival on February 20, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. Wineries from the west and east coasts, as well as France, Germany, and New Zealand, will be pouring samples, with a focus on Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Muscat. An educational session about Alsace grape-growing, pairings with local cheeses and Tomales Bay oysters, and a Grand Tasting of more than 100 wines will all be part of the day, which costs $115. In addition, there will be two winemaker dinners, one at the Apple Farm at 6 p.m. and the other at Scharffenberger Cellars at 6:30 p.m. Both are $130 each. Purchase tickets at avwines.com/alsace-festival. ¶
Hear the World Bloom
aron Copland’s iconic Appalachian Spring Suite, originally composed as a ballet for Martha Graham, is famous for its musical illustration of the vitality of springtime. The Ukiah Symphony Orchestra will be performing the piece on February 20 at 8 p.m. and February 21 at 3 p.m. at Near and Arnold’s School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education Theater in Ukiah. The evening will also feature soloist Luiz Coelho playing Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $5 for kids under age 18 as well as ASB. Purchase them online at brownpapertickets.com. For more information, see ukiahsymphony.org. ¶
Pregnant? Don’t Go to Latin America
f you are pregnant (or think you might be) think twice before hopping on a plane to the Caribbean or Latin America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel health alert for Brazil and 21 other countries, including Mexico and Puerto Rico, where the Zika virus is proliferating. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the virus has been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly, which leaves children with abnormally small heads and brain damage. The number of cases of microcephaly in Brazil has risen dramatically in the last several months to nearly 4,000. If you are pregnant and have recently visited any of the countries where there is a travel advisory, the CDC recommends that you get tested for the virus. See cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0315-zika-virus-travel.html for a complete list of affected countries. ¶
Indoor Winter Wonderland 16 Ways for Kids to Get Their Wiggles Out By Christina Katz
hen El NiĂąo is unleashing its full fury, and you are fresh out of fun ways to keep kids entertained, turn to this list of ideas. The key is to stop thinking like an adult and to remember how to think like a kid. Once you accomplish this, who knows what kind of mischief you will help your kids dream up?
Become a builder. Make a fort after lunch and then live in it until dinner. Ready, set, duck! Ball up some clean socks, turn some furniture sideways, and have a sock-ball fight.
Trashion passion. Whatâ€™s in your recycle bins? Divide it up into two teams, mix in some plastic and paper bags, set a timer for one hour and see who can whip up some runway magic for a quick trashion runway show.
I say potato, you say potahto. Break out the potatoes, cut them in half, and carve the cut ends into stamps. Then transform leftover brown bags into recycled wrapping paper.
Stretch for it. Have a headstand or a handstand contest. Who is the straightest, who can last the longest, and who is the most poised?
Start a band. Make some music with either real instruments or whatever you can create out of what you have on hand.
Fun with flour. Make something that involves kneading, like bread, rolls, or pizza dough. One-legged kangaroo. Spend an hour hopping on only one foot every time you have to move around the house.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Strike a laugh. Take turns playing yoga teacher and making up silly yoga poses. Not laughing yet? Add in funny breathing exercises.
Let alter egos act out. Make sock or bag puppets, give them your quirkiest qualities, and then put on a puppet show.
Have a competition. Make a foursquare court in the basement or garage using painter’s tape, and then take turns playing.
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Lip-synch battle. Everyone picks their favorite tunes and then battles it out on whatever kind of “stage” you can create. For extra fun, film the numbers and gather some short clips together into a compilation.
Bonsoir, Madame. Create a simple meal from a foreign culture like France, India, or Africa.
Musical fingers. Finger paint to different kinds of music. Let everyone choose a song and then compare the resulting images. Which music helped to create the most inspired paintings?
Climb, jump, and hop. Create an obstacle course in the basement or garage. Time everyone’s results. Then try to beat your best time.
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Get inspired. Watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Walt Disney Pictures, 2005), and then draw what you imagine you would find on the other side of your hidden doorway. ¶
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Kids and Cupid T Local Single Parents on the Search for Love By Melissa Chianta
heir first date was amazing. They talked for hours and the chemistry was sizzling. Before long there was a wedding, then a new son, and, after a few years, another boy. Some 20 Christmases and birthdays had passed when one day there was a knock on the door. The man outside delivered some shocking news. “My wife has been having an affair with your husband for the last seven years.”
Cynthia was devastated. Overnight, the then 40-year-old Sonoma County stay-at-home mom joined the ranks of the nation’s 13.7 million single parents. Even though she didn’t think she would recover, she did, and eventually found herself ready to date again. But it wasn’t easy.
Any single parent will tell you that dating is full of obstacles. It’s hard to find free time, let alone the courage to open up again. Being able to sneak away for a few hours of fun is largely
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
dependent on custody arrangements and finding a good sitter. Money is also usually tight. Grace, a 40-year-old Sonoma County resident, rents out a room in her house, currently to an exchange student, to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Todd, a middle-aged Sonoma County dad, works one night a week driving for Lyft to fill in the holes in his budget.
What a single parent wants out of dating varies from person to person. Some are looking for potential partners and others just a night of interesting adult conversation. In addition to a dearth of time and cash, it can be hard to find someone who understands a parent’s priorities and lifestyle.
just wanted to make new friends. They both saw a wide variety of men of various ages and walks of life in an effort to figure out what they wanted— and didn’t want—in a partner. For Cynthia, finally taking the step out into the dating world was an act of self-nurturance. She had felt guilty about making any time for herself, but once she did, it had a surprisingly positive impact, not only on herself, but also her kids, who were “a mess” post-divorce. “In a period of 30 days they went from being unhappy all the time to smiling all the time, and stayed that way. They were so connected to me that…it didn’t matter what I was doing for them because they could feel my sadness. It took me being selfish—getting a sitter or making sure their dad took them more—and suddenly they were fine,” she says.
Parents also require flexibility; they may need to reschedule at the last minute due to a sick child or a tantrum—or because they are just plain exhausted. And they don’t have a ton of extra cash for expensive restaurants or overnight trips.
Cynthia and Grace eventually both met potential long-term partners whom they’ve been with for about a year. Todd and Pam, a 47-year-old Lake County mom, are still looking. Both want a partner, but meeting people is a struggle. Neither has had much success with Internet dating, though Todd keeps trying. Pam gave up, after too many encounters with people she found dishonest and lacking self-awareness. Both seem to have better luck meeting people through friends.
What a single parent wants out of dating varies from person to person. Some are looking for potential partners and others just a night of interesting adult conversation or even a sexual liaison. For a while after their breakups, Cynthia and Grace
Once a single parent does find someone he or she likes enough to date regularly, the issue then becomes when to introduce the new love interest to the children. Dr. Judith Phillips Sill, a Mendocino County psychologist with decades of
“Whomever you date is going to have to share you. When you are dating [without children], it’s all about the two of you. When you have kids, [they] come first,” says Cynthia.
experience working with children of divorce, recommends agreeing on a time frame with your co-parent—say six months to a year—and sticking to it. Sill is quick to point out that it’s not a good idea to introduce kids to a new partner right after a divorce, when children are acutely grieving the loss of their family unit and clinging to the hope that their parents will reconcile. Already in a vulnerable state, they may become afraid of losing their parent to a new partner or the partner’s children, she says. Cynthia knows that her kids attach easily and that “they would just fall apart if they had another loss,” so she’s been extremely cautious about introducing her children to anyone new. She’s waited as long as a year and a half. Louisa Gluck, a former Sonoma County psychotherapist, says that the six-months-to-one-year rule is a great guideline, but also admits that everyone’s situation is different. Grace, for instance, had planned to wait six months before any meet-and-greets
“Whomever you date is going to have to share you. When you have kids, [they] come first.”—Cynthia happened with her kids. But then she fell for someone they already knew. Regardless of how it happens, introducing a child to a new partner is a time of profound risk and vulnerability, says Gluck. But it’s a necessary step. There are some things that you aren’t going to MendoLakeFamilyLife 11
Good Guidance For concrete advice on dating with kids, see this list of books provided by Judith Phillips Sill, PhD. Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe, Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation (Chicago Review Press, 2004). Benjamin D. Garber, Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation, and Divorce (Health
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Communications Inc., 2008). Kenneth Potts and Tammy Potts, Mix, Don’t Blend: A Guide to Dating, Engagement, and Remarriage with Children (A Safe Place Publishing, 2010). Isolina Ricci, Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child, rev. ed. (Touchstone, 2013).
know—like how your new partner and kids get along—until everyone spends time together. It doesn’t always go smoothly. Both kids and new partners are prone to jealousy. Cynthia’s first serious post-divorce partner responded with such resentment toward her kids when he first met them, she never let him see them again. Meanwhile, Pam’s nine-year-old boy was known to say with exasperation, “Are you going to be around later, or are you going home?” to her last serious boyfriend. Pam reassured her son that she would always love him and that she had plenty of warm fuzzies to share. “It’s like the sun. There’s lots to go around,” she told him. Grace similarly comforted her eight-year-old son after he told her he thought she loved her partner more than him. What if, even after being cautious and diligent, your child ends up attaching to someone who leaves? How can you help mitigate your kid’s sense of loss? “It depends on each individual case,” says Sill. “If your new relationship
has lasted say more than six months, and the kids have spent a great deal of time in the company of that person, then I think, depending on how old the children are, there needs to be a lot of attention [on]…honoring the relationship between the partner who is no longer around and the children.” This may mean working with a counselor, she says, to make sure everyone’s feelings are heard and needs are met. In some situations, a child may continue to hang out with a former partner for a while, until distance naturally grows between them. Or the former love may take on the role of a friend of the family—someone who is occasionally encountered but isn’t seen regularly. On the flip side, Gluck says sometimes children end up relating to the old boyfriend or girlfriend longer than a parent does. She knows of one instance where the former partner maintained a lifelong relationship with, and became an important mentor to, a child.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Whether or not your relationship with a new interest works out, it’s essential, says Sill, to establish and maintain a positive and respectful relationship with your child’s other parent. Don’t talk about your ex in poor terms in front of your child or “hide” if you see him or her in public. After a difficult divorce, this may seem like a tall order, but for Cynthia it was the only way. After her own parents’ divorce, her mom and dad couldn’t be in the same room together for 20 years. She didn’t want to put her kids through that. So she gave herself time to recover and then eventually forgave her ex-husband, who is now a good friend and co-parent. “I never wanted anything so bad as those kids. And I did not have
them to make them all messed up,” she says. “Those first couple of years I had to have some pretty big boundaries so I could heal. But I knew that the goal was to be able to be friends and raise our kids together, which we are actually very good at. I loved my kids more than I hated him.”
It’s not a good idea to introduce kids to a new partner right after a divorce. In order to get to the place of balance Cynthia feels she has achieved, single parents need support. Groups like North Bay
Single Parents provide healthy ways to socialize. However, Sill says, it’s not enough. She thinks that most communities ignore single-parent families, despite the fact that 34 percent of California’s children live in one, and wishes that churches and civic organizations did more for them. In the meantime, people like Cynthia, Pam, Grace, and Todd are making do with the resources they have. Whatever happens on the bumpy road of raising kids and opening their hearts, one thing is clear: The love they have for their children will always shine as brightly as the sun. ¶ Melissa Chianta is the features editor at Sonoma Family Life Magazine.
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Show Me Your Smile
Tips for a Stress-free Dental Visit By Kimberly Blaker
hildren’s visits to the dentist are often fraught with anxiety for parents and kids alike. A negative childhood experience may result in continued anxiety over routine dental care even into adulthood. Knowing how to prepare your child— and yourself—for a pediatric dental visit can help avoid unpleasant or traumatic experiences.
while sitting in “the chair.” A child who has had a bad past experience, is unprepared, or senses his or her parent is afraid may start to worry. Children who are ill, have a physical or mental disability, a behavioral disorder, or developmental delay may also be difficult to treat. Regardless of the cause for poor behavior, it’s important to know how your dentist will work with it.
A child who is unprepared or senses a parent’s own fears may start to worry. The Power of One Your dentist may ask that you wait out in the lobby while your child has his or her cleaning. There’s a reason for this: Your child is more likely to cooperate if you aren’t around. So pick up a People magazine and relax. If distracting yourself with the latest Kardashian drama doesn’t keep your anxiety at bay, reassure yourself that dental office staff members are trained to make your child’s first experience fun and informative. Before performing any procedures, they will tell your child what is going to happen, which will hopefully allay his or her fears and build trust. If you’re still worried about sending in your child alone, ask your practitioner to make an exception. If you’re not satisfied, find another dentist. You Can’t Make Me There are many reasons children may become fearful or uncooperative
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has developed guidelines for behavior management that include positive reinforcement, distraction, voice control, nonverbal communication, and the tell-show-do approach. These techniques are, in most cases, effective and lead to visits that end on a positive note. When Nothing Else Works Unfortunately, some children will simply not respond to the usual bag of tricks. When communication isn’t enough, the AAPD recommends several approaches, including protective stabilization or restraint, conscious sedation, or general anesthesia. The circumstances under which any of these methods are used depends on several factors, including the necessity of the dental work, the particular procedure, and the reason the child isn’t able to cooperate.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Conscious sedation is sometimes used to calm children and to prevent injurious movement, as is protective stabilization or restraint. Some practitioners express concern about the latter approach, though, stating that restraining a child may intensify his or her feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Finally, general anesthesia is usually used only when other methods are inappropriate, and necessary dental services otherwise could not be rendered. Whatever the situation, the AAPD points out that none of these measures should be executed without your prior consent. ¶ Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer who has published articles in more than 200 publications. Find her at kimberlyblaker.com.
Fear Fighters: Help for the First Visit Read about it. Prepare your little one with one of these children’s books: Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi (Usborne, 2010); Open Wide: A Visit to the Dentist by Cecile Schoberle and Barry Goldberg (Simon Spotlight/ Nickelodeon, 2000); Freddie Visits the Dentist by Nicola Smee (Barron’s Educational Series, 2000); or The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan
Berenstain and Jan Berenstain (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1981). Watch a flick. The video A Trip to the Dentist Through Pinatta’s View (2004), available on Amazon.com, uses a puppet to explain what happens during a teeth cleaning. Keep it simple and sweet. Explain to your child the procedures he or she will undergo, but avoid frightening terminology. Be sure to express positive feelings about your own dental experiences along the way. Tell the truth. Don’t try to soothe your child by lying about a procedure or possible pain. Instead, focus on alleviating any fears that may be out of proportion to the situation. Just breathe. Practice taking long, deep breaths with your child. If you know you’ll be in the treatment room during the procedure, offer your hand to hold.
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The Littlest Adventurers
Choose the Best Camp for Your Kids
By Christina Katz
mistake parents can make when choosing a camp is confusing their children’s needs with their own needs. If you want your children to be happy at camp, focus on who they are rather than on who you were as a camper. Your goal is to create a harmonious relationship between each of your children and the camp experience, not for your children to follow in your well-worn hiking boots. 16 MendoLakeFamilyLife
Going to camp should be a choice for every child. Don’t force camp on children who are terrified by the idea. At the same time, feel free to plant the seed in your children’s minds from an early age that camp is a fun, life-enhancing adventure for those willing to try it. If older siblings have gone to camp and liked it, then younger siblings may already be eager to go themselves. But if your children are not enthusiastic, don’t push camp on them without learning more. Camp Considerations Feel free to present your camp experiences and what you got out of them to your kids, and invite others in the family to do the same. At the same time, however, communicate clearly your understanding that your child is not you or anyone else, and that you
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
like and respect the person your child is already. Sending children to camp to correct or fix things about them is backwards. The person who needs a change of attitude in this scenario is the parent, not the child. If you have worries or concerns about your children, don’t send them to camp to address those feelings. Find someone you can talk
You can’t send a child who is not like you to camp and get a version of yourself back. to so you can learn to accept your children for who they are and meet their range of individual needs. Kids who are secure and comfortable in their own skin thrive at camp, whereas kids who are insecure and anxious may flounder. A Range of Choices Sending kids to camp may have been your light-bulb moment, but in order for kids to feel good about the adventure, they need to buy in to the idea as well. The first question to ask yourself is this: Which types of camps are best suited to your children’s physical, emotional, and mental needs? Would day camp or overnight camp be the better choice at this developmental stage? If choosing an overnight camp, would your child prefer to be close or far from home? Also consider the mission and style of the camp. Would your child prefer to rough it for a week in the woods or stay in a cozy, family-style camp with modern amenities closer to home? www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Respect Individuality Parents may need to let go of the idea that what was good for them as children is good for their kids. What was good for you when you were little may traumatize a sensitive child or a child with special needs. Strive to meet your kids where they are. You may experience some grieving when you let go of the idea of sharing your childhood experiences with your kids. But try to leave the past in the past, so you can make the healthiest choices for your family in the present. For example, if you were a rugged and athletic child, you may dream of playing ball or hoops with your kid. But your child may not have these same interests or talents. Perhaps your child is more artsy or a bookworm.
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What if you are different from your child in even more profound ways than personality? What if the two of you have very little in common at all? Would you both crave the same types of camp experiences? Would you even be likely to choose the same camps? You can’t send a child who is not like you to camp and get a version of yourself back. Not only does camp not work this way, life doesn’t work this way. Take a good, long look at each of your children. Resist the urge to see them as a version of yourself. None of them is you. There will never be another you in the world. Once you see, understand, and accept each of your children, then you can work together to choose the perfect camp. ¶ Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz has learned that seeing kids as the individuals they truly are always pays off in the long run.
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Preschool Primer How to Choose a Quality Program
Beginning the search. While referrals from other parents are a good starting point, personal observations are vital. Make appointments to observe and interview licensed programs that interest you. Consider the following factors: Environment. Attractive decor is nice, but notice what activities the children are engaged in and if the
Studies indicate that children who experience quality early education are less likely to repeat grades or require special education.
By Christa Melnyk Hines
environment feels safe, secure, and healthy.
eeking an early education program? Invest some time in your search and know what questions to ask to ensure a positive preschool experience for your child.
“The first five years of life are the absolute most essential for a child’s development,” says Bev Adams, an expert in early childhood development and college professor. “Trying to choose [a program] by reading a 18 MendoLakeFamilyLife
handbook and then going and visiting for an hour…is not a good idea.” Long-term benefits. Studies indicate that children who experience quality early education are less likely to repeat grades or require special education. Early education can also nurture self-esteem and self-confidence, which are necessary— even more so than knowing letters and numbers—for successfully transitioning from preschool to kindergarten. “Other areas early childhood education supports [are] socialization skills, emotional maturity, and…sensory motor skills,” says Becky Bergman, a preschool program director.
“Look for any common safety hazards and observe sanitary measures, diaper changing procedures, foul smells, and cleanliness,” Bergman says. Throughout the center, you should hear children talking and see them playing in different areas of the classroom. “A quality preschool program understands that play is essential to a child’s life, to their experiences, to their positive growth and development. They not only accommodate play, they encourage it, they plan for it,” Adams says. “Young children don’t learn best through the teacher talking to them while they sit quietly in a large group. Young children learn through their senses, through exploring, through discovering, through their activities.”
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Good instructors. Seek experienced, warm-natured teachers trained in early childhood development. Credentialed early education teachers understand how to nurture a child’s social-emotional skills. “Watch for positive, encouraging interaction between teachers and students,” Bergman says. “Additionally, I would observe classroom size and number of students per room.” Group size. Licensed childcare centers must meet the state’s staff-to-child ratio requirements. State requirements aside, you know your child best. Beware of programs where you have trouble finding the adult in a roomful of children. Even a highly trained teacher will struggle
with providing the daily one-on-one attention and interaction that a young child needs in a crowded classroom. Communication. Consider how the school provides information to you about your child’s day-to-day activities and progress. While some schools
While referrals from other parents are a good starting point, personal observations are vital. will provide a handout of the day’s activities, others take a more high-tech approach. Bergman’s school, for example, uses a secure platform called LuvNotes™ to communicate with
parents. Parents can log in through the Web or their smart phones to find out what activities are planned for the day and what will be served for lunch. They also can get personalized daily reports, and photos and videos of their child. Trust your gut. From high-tech to no-frills, quality early education programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes—and with various amenities. While compiling your wish list, decide which items are nonnegotiable. Don’t feel rushed into a decision with which you aren’t completely comfortable. ¶ Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines and her husband are the parents of two boys. Hines’s latest book is Happy, Healthy, and Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.
Ukiah Unified School District
Ukiah Unified Kindergarten Enrolling Now
2016-17 Kindergarten Registration and Transitional Kindergarten Registration Students age 5 by September 1, 2016 will be enrolled in Kindergarten Students turning 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, 2016 are eligible to enroll in our Transitional Kindergarten Program
Registration forms available at school offices and at www.uusd.net www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Date Your Mate 25 Ways to Keep Your Lover
By Janeen Lewis
o you want to rekindle couple time with your partner, but can’t think of a date other than dinner and a movie (or falling asleep on the couch)? Hire a sitter or trade child care with another couple and try one of these creative ways to date your mate.
Cheap Dates ♥ Stargaze. Find a spot away from city lights and look at the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt, or possibly a shooting star. ♥ Go to a local wine, beer, or cider tasting. ♥ Rent bikes and ride around town. If you feel really adventurous, try a tandem bike. ♥ Test your knowledge by participating in a local trivia night. Before making a debut, check out sporcle.com or funtrivia.com to play games that challenge your trivia knowledge. ♥ Visit a local pool hall. Shoot pool and play darts.
at home. Use silverware, china, candles, and cloth napkins. ♥ Take a cruise on a dinner yacht. ♥ Dine at a restaurant that has live entertainment like jazz or blues. Snuggle-at-Home Dates ♥ Make popcorn the old-fashioned way, with an air popper, and enjoy a romantic movie like Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sleepless in Seattle, or The Notebook. ♥ Play a board game for couples like Scene It? Squabble or Battle of the Sexes. ♥ Share pictures and home videos from before and after you became a couple.
♥ Ride cable cars around San Francisco.
♥ If you have a fire pit in the backyard, make s’mores and snuggle in front of the flames.
♥ Take a drop-in dance class.
Fancy Dates ♥ Make your most exquisite meal
♥ Take a hot-air balloon ride.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
♥ Visit an amusement park and ride all the roller coasters. ♥ Race go-carts at a track. Outdoorsy Dates ♥ Hold hands and wade in a creek. ♥ Walk together at sunset on the beach. ♥ Canoe or kayak together. ♥ Go on an outdoor treasure hunt by geocaching. Using a GPS, treasure seekers enter a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find a hidden container at the location. Check out geocaching.com to find out more.
Come Explore College and Careers Workshop at Yuba College Copy of My future, My way
♥ Check out one of the myriad hikes in Sonoma, Lake, or Mendocino Counties. Around-town Dates ♥ Visit your local planetarium (try the Santa Rosa Junior College Planetarium in Santa Rosa, the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Kenwood, and the Taylor Observatory in Kelseyville). There is something romantic about viewing constellations in the night sky, even if it is indoors. ♥ Attend an art walk, an event where several art galleries open their doors for free viewings on the same night. ♥ Take a self-guided tour of your town. Check out shops and attractions. To mix things up, eat appetizers, dinner, and dessert in three different restaurants. ¶ Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist and mom to Andrew and Gracie. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2014), and GreenPrints: The Weeder’s Digest.
My Future, My Way March 12 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Yuba College • 15880 Dam Rd, Clearlake
For Grades 7-12
No-Cost Event Lunch Included Hands-on Workshops Prize Drawings
Register in advance at 263-8918 or www.lakecoe.org
Love Working with kids? 1/1
WORK AT HOME • CHOOSE YOUR OWN HOURS • WORK WITH CHILDREN Own Your Own Business • Free Training and other great incentives for attending fun workshops. • Child Care Assistance for lowincome eligible families. • Free Child Care Referrals.
1-800-606-5550 ext. 211 February 2016
Rural Communities Child Care
Family Fun Kimball Hurd and Alisa Fineman play the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake.
Keep Love Alive
Temple Kwan Tai.
Valentine’s Day Dates to Remember
hat kind of valentine are you? A music hound? Wine lover? Chocoholic? No matter what your pleasure, we have a date that’s just right for you—and a couple the kids will enjoy, too. (For even more great ideas, see our article “Date Your Mate” on page 20.)
Snuggle Music Cuddle up to the warm, mellifluous voices of local musicians Alisa Fineman and Kimball Hurd. The folk duo will be playing original tunes in the intimate setting of the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake on February 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling the Tallman Hotel reception desk at 275-2244 ext. 0. For more information, see tallmanhotel.com/concerts.
Arty Armour If you’d rather pass on the roses and red glitter and do something completely unique, go to the exquisite Taoist Temple Kwan Tai (an official historic site) in Mendocino. On February 12, San Francisco visual artist Ben Wood will be exploring Mendocino’s Chinese history through archival images, text, and video, which will be projected onto the façade of the temple on Albion Street and viewable between 6:30–8:30 p.m. Then on February 13 go to Crown Hall in Mendocino for a gourmet Chinese New Year banquet at 6:30 p.m. The projection display is free; dinner is $40 and tickets may be purchased by calling 937-5123. For details, see kwantaitemple.org.
Tasty Trinity For some, chocolate, wine, and
Get wine and chocolate at Mt. Konocti Winery.
a honey are the elements of a perfectly romantic evening. Experience all three when you take your love to the 10th Annual Wine and Chocolate event at the Mt. Konocti Winery and Event Center in Kelseyville on February 6, noon–4 p.m. Sample wines from more than 20 Lake County wineries, sniff rich aromas at an olive oil sensory class, and satisfy your sweet tooth with gourmet chocolates. Tickets are $55 at the door or $50 in advance and may be reserved at lakefrc.org or by calling 279-0563. The event supports the programs and services of Kelseyville’s Lake Family Resource Center, a social service agency.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Sonoma County Airport
Travel on Nonstop Flights to/from Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, Seattle; Orange County starting March 2016
Experience Flight Training Aircraft; Helicopters
Discover Scenic Tours
Food, Fun & Get Down Enjoy an elegant dinner and then boogie to
Tweet Tweet Does nature make your heart happy? Celebrate V-day with the
some good, ol’ fashioned rock ’n roll at the Event of the Heart on February 13, 5:30–10:30 p.m., at the Ukiah Conference Center in Ukiah. Local group Double Standyrd will provide the music and Ellery Clark, which favors locally sourced organic food, will cater the meal. Tickets are $85 and may be purchased by calling 462-1932. The evening of fun benefits the Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network. See newmcavhn.org for more information.
Aircraft; Helicopters; Balloons; Historic Aircraft
www.sonomacountyairport.org 707.565.7240 Follow STS on
Great Backyard Bird Count, February 12–15. Grab the hand of the one you love, take a walk, and count the feathered friends you see. You can enter the numbers and species at birdcount.org. For further information, including an instructional video, go to gbbc.birdcount.org.
Puppy Love If your significant other has a soft spot for fuzzy friends, then she or he may get a kick out of “Let the Fur Fly!,” a luncheon and fashion show that benefits the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino. Go to Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley on February 14 at 1 p.m. and enjoy a gourmet meal while you drool over classy couture, and yuck it up at the Doggie Fashion Strut. Thanks to a silent auction, maybe you’ll even snag a stay at the Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville or a one-and-a-half hour massage and day pass at Vichy Springs in Ukiah. Tickets are $40 and are available only in advance. Purchase them at Liv Fashion Boutique in Ukiah and the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County in Redwood Valley, or by calling 485-0123. Deadline for ticket sales is February 7. For more information, see mendohumanesociety.com.
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Calendar of Events
Crazy for Crustaceans
et your bib and itty-bitty forks. It’s crab season! Take all you can eat of the marine treat at the Gualala Lions Crab Feed on February 12 and 13, 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m. You might even win a raffle or door prize. Tickets are $40. All profits go to support the Lions Club Eye Care program and community projects. Reservations are required. Call 884-4000 to make one. ¶
Tuesday 2 FREE SAL Karate Classes. Tuesdays. 6 p.m. Ukiah High School Auditorium. Sensei Mike Tobin: 354-0565. Sponsored by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Activities League. FREE After the Fire. Rebuilding Summit & Open House. Hosted by the Lake County Chamber. All welcome! Meet local professionals for housing options. Get expert advice on building, landscaping, or hiring a contractor. 3–7 p.m. Twin Pine Casino Event Center. 22223 Hwy. 29, Middletown. twinpine.com.
Wednesday 3 FREE Mendocino County Museum. First Wednesday
of each month. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mendocino County Museum. 400 E. Commercial St., Willits. 459-2736. mendocinomuseum.org.
Thursday 4 FREE Wii-U Gaming for Teens.
Come challenge your friends! Play Super Smash Bros., Hyrule Warriors, Marvel Super Heroes & more. Weekly sign-up sheet available for games. Tweens to teens. Thursdays. 3:30–5:30 p.m. Mendocino County Library. 105 N. Main St., Ukiah. 467-6434. co.mendocino.ca/library. 24 MendoLakeFamilyLife
FREE SAL Karate Classes.
Thursdays. Ages 6–11: 6 p.m. Ages 12–adult: 7 p.m. Sensei Mike Tobin: 354-0565. Willits Body Works Gym. 1511 S. Main St., Willits. FREE Time for Fitness! Work on that New Year’s resolution. Set & achieve your goals! Ages 15–25. The Harbor on Main Youth Resource Center. 16170 Main St., Ste. F, Lower Lake. Thursdays. 3:30–4:30 p.m. 994-5486. facebook.com/Harbor-on-Main. FREE Board Game Nights. Stop
by & see our new collection of board games, now available for checkout. Thursdays. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Mendocino County Library. 105 N. Main St., Ukiah. 467-6434. co.mendocino.ca/library.
Friday 5 Skate Nights. Skates
& roller blades to check out for free, but if you have your own, bring them. $5 per person. All children under 18 must have an adult sign them in before they can skate. Fridays. 7:30–9:30 p.m. thru Feb. 19. After Feb 19: 6:30–9 p.m. Old Recreation Center. 213 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg. 964-9446. mendocoastrec.org. Mother-Wise Playgroup. Come meet
other pregnant women & mothers with babies who are dealing with
the same issues & experiencing the same joys that come along with new parenthood. Tuesdays. 1–3 p.m. 180 N. Main St., Lakeport. Fridays. 10 a.m.– noon. St. John’s Lutheran Church. 14310 Memory Ln., Clearlake. (No religious affiliation.) 349-1210. Note: Times & location may change. Check Facebook page for updates. facebook. com/motherwiselakecounty. FREE Snak & Yak Teen Book Chat. Teens are welcome to come
chat about books. Fridays. 3:30 p.m. Mendocino County Library. 105 N. Main St., Ukiah. 467-6434. co.mendocino.ca/library. FREE For the Dogs. Volunteers will apply free flea/tick treatment to the dogs of Food Bank clients. Free leashes, collars, sweaters, lap blankets, ID tags also available. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Fort Bragg Food Bank. 910 N. Franklin St., Fort Bragg. 964-7770. secondchancefortbragg.org. FREE Grace Hudson Museum. First
Friday of each month. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 431 S. Main St., Ukiah. 467-2836. gracehudsonmuseum.org.
Saturday 6 FREE Tech Help. Having difficulties with your new computer or PC? Stop by & we will help you troubleshoot
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
your tech issues. Bring in your e-readers, phones, tablets, iPads, or basic computer questions. Saturdays. 1–3 p.m. Mendocino County Library. 105 N. Main St., Ukiah. 467-6434. co.mendocino.ca/library. Intermediate LEGO NXT Robotic Workshop. This workshop will move
forward from the basics & begin working with different sensors. The minimum age for participants is 8 years. Registration is $20. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Taylor Observatory. 5725 Oak Hills Ln., Kelseyville. lakecoe.org. FREE Valentine’s Mailbox. Hands-on Home Depot workshop designed for children ages 5–12. Each child can bring home a newly constructed project, a kid-sized orange apron, an achievement pin & certificate. 9 a.m.– noon. 350 N. Orchard Ave., Ukiah.
462-3009. Register at workshops. homedepot.com. 10th Annual Wine & Chocolate.
Wine tasting, gourmet foods & chocolates, olive oil sensory classes & silent auction. Benefits the Lake Family Resource Center. Noon–4 p.m. Mt. Konocti Winery & Event Center. 2550 Big Valley Rd., Kelseyville. 279-4213. FREE Solar Viewing & Public Star Party. Specially filtered telescopes
allow safe observation of our favorite star—the sun! 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Starting at 7 p.m., join us for another event, the Public Star Party. Telescopes are open for viewing, ongoing presentations & docents are available to answer questions. Adults $3. Under 18 free. Parking $8. Sugarloaf State Park. 2605 Adobe Canyon Rd., Kenwood. rfo.org.
FREE Story Time at Ukiah Farmers Market. Sponsored by Mendocino
County Library. Saturdays. 10 a.m.–11 a.m. 129 School St., Ukiah. FREE A Queen of Hearts Party. We
will be making valentines, playing games, watching a puppet play, listening to stories & eating sweet treats. 10–11:30 a.m. Mendocino County Library. 105 N. Main St., Ukiah. 467-6434. co.mendocino.ca/ library. Dance Party with Azul. An evening of dance music with an all instrumental, contemporary R & B, rock & jazz band. $10. Hill House. 10701 Palette Dr., Mendocino. 7:30 p.m. 937-1732. Miss Mendocino County 2016 Scholarship Pageant. Come
support the contestants. $20. The
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program is a part of the Miss America Organization, one of the largest providers of scholarships for young women. Ukiah High School. 1000 Low Gap Rd., Ukiah. 7 p.m. 462-2025. missmendocinocounty.org. Pre-Symphony Mexican Dinner.
Enjoy Sal’s famous chili rellenos, tacos al pastor & wine & beer. $16. Symphony of the Redwoods concert will be right next door beginning at 8 p.m. Benefits the Food for Food program. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Redwood Coast Senior Center. 490 N. Harold St., Fort Bragg. Symphony of the Redwoods. Live
classical music. Delius, Dvorak & Berlioz. $20. Under 18 free. Thru Feb. 7. Feb. 6: 8 p.m. Feb. 7: 2 p.m. Cotton Auditorium. 500 N. Harold St., Fort Bragg. symphonyoftheredwoods.org. FREE Guided Whale Walks. Meet the docent naturalist at the park visitor center to learn about the annual gray whale migration. Look at the whale skeletons on display at the park. Then drive to & walk on the wheelchair-accessible Laguna Point boardwalk to look for whales. Binoculars are provided. Wear layered clothing. Conditions can be cold & windy. Rain cancels program. Leashed pets are allowed. Saturdays & Sundays. Thru March 27. MacKerricher State Park. Visitor Center. 24100 MacKerricher Park Rd., Fort Bragg. 961-047. parks.ca.gov/events/ details/6811. Mendocino Historic District Walking Tour. Docent-led tour visits
houses of important pioneers & grand meeting places of the 1800s. $10. Saturdays & Sundays. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Kelley House Museum. 45007 Albion St., Mendocino. 937-5791. kelleyhousemuseum.org.
Sunday 7 FREE First Fiddlers’ Jam. Listen to some terrific fiddle tunes played by members of the Northern California Old Time Fiddlers Group. Noon–2 p.m. Ely Stage Stop. 9921 Hwy. 128, Kelseyville. FREE Lakeport Kitchen Project. A
hot meal provided every Sunday for anyone, children included. 4–5 p.m. 1st & 3rd Sundays: United Christian Parish. 745 Brush St., Lakeport. 2nd Sundays: St. John’s Episcopal Church. 1190 Forbes St., Lakeport. 4th & 5th Sundays: St. Mary’s Catholic Church. 801 N. Main St., Lakeport. co.lake.ca.us.
Tuesday 9 FREE Bipolar Disorder & Major Depressive Disorder Meeting.
Peer-led support group, Let’s Talk About It, meets every other Tuesday. Feb. 9 & 23. 6:30–8:30 p.m. Ukiah Methodist Church. 270 N. Pine St., Ukiah. kozt.com.
Thursday 11 FREE Children’s Chinese New Year Parade. Begins at the corner of Ukiah
& Lansing Streets in Mendocino. The children will march down Lansing St. to Main St. & then up to the Kwan Tai Temple on Albion St. 10:45 a.m. kwantaitemple.org.
Friday 12 FREE Great Backyard Bird Count.
A fun & easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are
Blue Ribbon Pets
Pets of the Month Sponsor • Adopt-a-Pet Discount
Like our Facebook Page for Special Discounts
(707) 485-8454 • www.brpets.com
Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County PETS OF THE MONTH. COME MEET US TODAY! Breezy is a 3-year-old kitty that
Mickey is a sweet guy
Daisy Mae is a large 6-year-
Reece is a big love bug. He likes to play in the pool and play keepaway with tennis balls. He also enjoys a good butt scratch and ear rub. A dog introduction would be wise before going into a home with other dogs. He’s good with kids and was cat tested and did fine.
loves to talk. You could almost hold a conversation with this lady. She loves attention but does not like to share the spotlight with other cats. Breezy would be a great companion for someone who wants a single, indoor cat to hang out with. old Collie mix. She loves her walks and tennis balls. She hopes to find her forever home with a person who is as active and calmheaded as she is. Spending even a little time with Daisy, you will discover she is an absolute love!
that is a little timid at first. He really loves attention but is hesitant to show it. He is young, just under a year old, and though he may not act like it, he does like to play.
9700 Uva Dr. Redwood Valley (707) 485-0123 • www.mendohumanesociety.com www.mendolakefamilylife.com
asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event & report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Runs thru Feb. 15. redbudaudubon.org.
Saturday 13 Chinese New Year’s Celebration Banquet. Tofu/vegetable stir-fry or
chicken stir-fry. $40. Seating limited. Fundraiser for Kwan Tai Temple. 6:30 p.m. Crown Hall. 45285 Ukiah St., Mendocino. 937-5123. kwantaitemple.org.
Diamond Dance. Silent auction
& entry to win a $5,400 diamond bracelet. Live music. $30. $50 for two. Benefits the Lion Eye Care Assistance Program & Vocational Scholarships. 7–11 p.m. Fort Bragg Lions Hall. 430 E. Redwood Ave., Fort Bragg. fortbragglionsclub.org. Travel Through Time at an Adult Prom. Guests are encouraged to
come dressed from their favorite decade! Prom portraits, limo rides, a bar, refreshments &, of course, plenty of dancing. This event is a fundraiser for Lake County Theater Company’s building fund. $20. $30 per couple. 21+
Joe Craven and the Sometimers
only. Starts at 8 p.m. Dance lessons 7 p.m. Lake County Fairgrounds. Fritch Hall. 410 Martin St., Lakeport. lakecountytheatrecompany.org. FREE Nature Walks & Historic Ranch House Tours. The ranch
house tour begins immediately after the nature walk. 8:30–11:30 a.m. While rain will cancel the walk, the house tour will still take place at 8:30 a.m. Anderson Marsh State Park. Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake. 995-2658. andersonmarsh.org.
Sunday 14 Valentine’s Day Dinner at Boatique Winery. $125. Romantic formal
dinner with bottle of Boatique wine & live pianist. 6–8 p.m. 8255 Red Hill Rd., Kelseyville. 279-2675. boatiquewines.com. Contemporary Chamber Series.
The Bay Area harp group Triskela & Mendocino County’s Panamericana featuring a classical Latin program. $15–$20. Ages 18 & under free. 3 p.m. Soper-Reese Community Theatre. 275 S. Main St., Lakeport. 263-0577. soperreesetheatre.com. Valentine’s Day Shrimp & Tri Tip Feast. $40. Kids under 10:
$20. All proceeds to benefit local community. Doors open at noon. Serving 12:30–4 p.m. Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. 1055 N. State St., Ukiah.
All About That Bass
nything goes for the roots music trio Joe Craven and the Sometimers. They may start off with Americana, but then they go “pop,” as the band likes to say, in “pursuit of possibility.” On their journey through various genres they bring along a diverse array of instruments— upright and electric bass, Dobro guitar, lap steel guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, fiddle, and cowbell. Check them out at the Caspar Community Center in Caspar on February 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 advance. (Kids are free.) Purchase them at joecravensometimerscaspar.brownpapertickets.com. ¶
Friday 19 FREE Zen Adult Coloring. Everyone is welcome to come & enjoy creating beautiful pictures. 5–6 p.m. Fort Bragg Library. 499 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg. 964-2020. fortbragglibrary.org. Live with Stereo Bounce. Check
out these six musicians who create
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
live entertainment for you to dance to. All seats $15. 7 p.m. Soper-Reese Community Theatre. 275 S. Main St., Lakeport. 263-0577. soperreesetheatre.com. Tuition-free Montessori elementary for ages 5-13 Hands-on, arts and music
Saturday 20 FREE Casting Call for Performers & Production Crew. Gualala Arts Theater will present La Cage Aux
Folles: The Musical in July. Auditions for cast members & production crew are being held. There are parts for singers & non-singers, women, men & mature youth. Production crew needs set designers, builders, artists, painters, costume & backstage. 6–8 p.m. Feb. 21: 1–3 p.m. Gualala Arts Center. 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala. 619-559-2460.
integrated with academics
National Green Campus Promotes responsibility,
Located on north end of Fairgrounds PO Box 966 Ukiah 95482
707-462-0913 Give Your Give Child a Head Start!
Orleans–style. Gaming, dinner, dancing, live & silent auction. A benefit for St. Mary’s School. $60. Dancing only $30 (admission at 9 p.m.). Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. 1055 North State St., Ukiah. 6:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. 462-3338. stmarysukiah.org.
Free Your & Low-Cost Quality Preschool! www.treeoflifeschool.net
Child a classrooms for ✓ 1/2-day & full-day ages 18 months Head to 5 years ✓ Potty-trained not necessary Start! ✓ Children with disabilities welcome
✓ Referrals for transportation available Free & Low-Cost Quality Preschool! Also providing FREE in-home services for infants, toddlers & pregnant women!
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C E N T E R S
FREE St. Mary’s School Mardi Gras. Family fun New
North Ukiah - Bush St. Nokomis - Washington Ave. South Ukiah - S. State St. Peach Tree - S. Orchard Ave.
Near Brookside School at Spruce St. & Lincoln Way
La Vida • Lake County
Upper Lake - 2nd Street Upper Lake - Clover Valley Lakeport - Howard Ave. Clearlake - Pearl Ave. • Free K-12 Public Charter Clearlake - Meadowbrook Dr.
Charter School www.ncoinc.org Head Start (707)Development 462-2582 Program License #230111843 Child • Home Study• Coast with
13th Annual Seafood Boil. No-host bar. Live & silent
auctions. Funds raised from this event are used to benefit the community. $75. 5:30–9:30 p.m. Highlands Senior Services Center. 3245 Bowers Ave., Clearlake.
Applications online: www.ncoinc.org • (707) 462-2582 Fort Bragg - Lincoln St. On-Site Classes
Living History Day. This popular series has resumed. Local
historians come to the main house to visit with guests & answer questions regarding different aspects of Lake County history. Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum. 9921 State Hwy. 281, Kelseyville. noon–2 p.m. elystagestop.org.
FREE Caspar Headlands Clean-up Day. Meet at the gate
at the south end of Caspar Rd., beside the Company Store. Lunch provided at 1 p.m. Caspar Community Center. 15051 Caspar Rd., Caspar. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 964-4997. Guitar Hero Live Competition. $10 entry fee. Double
elimination. Prizes. 10 a.m. Cornelison Event Center. 15850-A Dam Rd. Ext., Clearlake.
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Sunday 28 Fourth Sunday Breakfast. Country gourmet, organic & local foods in a friendly atmosphere with live music. 9 a.m.– noon. Caspar Community Center. 15051 Caspar Rd., Caspar. 964-4997. casparcommons.org.
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A Nap, a My V-Day Shower, and a Dry Wish List Toilet Seat By Holly Hester
hen my husband and I were first dating, we took Valentine’s Day very seriously. Preparation took months. Love letters were gut-wrenchingly written, romantic getaways were meticulously planned, and rose petals and glitter were bought in bulk. By the time February 14 rolled around, we looked like we were reenacting the final episode of The Bachelor. But 13 years and three kids later, our Valentine’s Day has changed, well, a little. My husband still tries to be romantic, but handing me a dozen roses from Safeway while I stand in my hoodie and sweats surrounded by screaming children doesn’t exactly me make feel like I’m living in a Shakespeare sonnet. So instead of trying to recreate a Valentine’s Day that we can obviously no longer achieve, I’ve thought of some other gifts of love.
For a whole day, I don’t want to sit on a wet toilet seat. This gift of love will be given to me by my two sons, who, although very strong, can’t seem to muster the strength to lift a toilet seat.
I would love my husband to clean something. I don’t really care what it is—kitchen, bathroom, a
couple of forks. Just watching the man grab some gloves and a spray bottle would be so hot. At this point in our marriage, sweeping me off my feet starts with sweeping the floor.
I would like to wear something white again without fear of the item getting completely filthy within five seconds. This gift of love will be a group effort brought to me by my children and our three dogs.
I would like to take an uninterrupted shower. Oh, the bliss of shampooing my hair without breaking up a fight between my kids about who launched the invisible booger first. I don’t need a romantic spa vacation anymore. I just need a better lock on the bathroom door.
I would like a nap. Right in the middle of the day, I’d like to say, “I’m outta here,” and then just fall over wherever I’m standing. I’d wake up rested, refreshed, and appreciative of the other Target shoppers who are quietly stepping over me.
I would love my husband to take over the family schedule for the day. I imagine him walking up to me, pulling me into his arms, and whispering in my ear, “The kids have a park play date at 10, then we have dentist appointments at 1, and I’m
thinking chicken fingers for dinner.” Oh baby, you had me at chicken fingers… .
7 8 9
I’d like some jewelry. Just sayin’, in case the other stuff seems too hard.
And maybe a Zappos gift certificate, you know, to go with the jewelry.
I’d like to eat a meal without someone sitting on me. Bonus love points will be given to anyone who doesn’t try to grab food off my plate. (This includes my husband.)
But most of all on Valentine’s Day, I’d like my children to wrap their sticky hands around my neck and tell me they love me. I’d like my husband to text me just to say he’s hoping I’m having a good day. I’d like our dogs to look at me like I’m magic when I pull a dog bone out of the pantry. Because those are the little things that make me feel truly loved. Those are the things that make me feel like everyday is Valentine’s Day.
And if somebody wants to give me a cutout paper heart that says, “World’s Best Mom,” I’ll take that too. Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.
February 2016 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
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