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December 2017

Foster Love Local mom shines

Less Stress More Joy

Tips for the holidays

X-Mas Lights! 32 stops

Be Resilient

Help for children

Holiday gifts for everyone on your list Look for these Holiday Picks in our stores and online! PETALUMA • SANTA ROSA • SEBASTOPOL • HEALDSBURG • CALISTOGA NAPA • SAN RAFAEL • NOVATO • COPPERFIELDSBOOKS.COM

December 2017

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Bits and Pieces Get Crafty for a Cause Good Things, Small Packages

10 Features 10 Grow the Love Local mom discusses the joys of foster parenting.

12 If I Had Been Your Mother

14 Raising Resilient Children The one thing kids need to stay strong? Love.

16 Stressful to Sacred

Stand By a Hero Buy Local Hot Stuff Bend, Breathe & Drink

22 Cooking with Kids Snazzy SoufflĂŠ

24 Calendar of Events Visions of Sugar Plums

34 Humor Break Oh, to Pee Alone!

Take the pressure out of the season.

An essay on connecting with an adopted child.

18 Merry Christmas, Baby How to handle the holidays with a baby in tow.

20 Your Ultimate Guide to Local Lights See the most magnificent of your neighbors’ decorations.

21 Memory Making

8 4 SonomaFamilyLife

Give kids experiences instead of objects.

22 December 2017


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Dear Reader


hile December is usually a month of joy, it may be hard for fire victims to get into the holiday spirit. To help make the season a brighter Sharon Gowan one for them, donate Publisher/Editor to the Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund. (See redwoodcu. org/northbayfirerelief.) And be sure to patronize local businesses and craft fairs to keep Sonoma County’s economy going strong. Turn to Bits and Pieces (page 8–9) and our Calendar of Events (page 24) to find out information about fire benefits, craft fairs, and other community activities. Children affected by the fires may especially need a little more TLC this holiday season. Read “Raising Resilient

Children” (page 14) to find out what little ones need during times of stress. “Memory Making” (page 21) says that one way to put a smile on a child’s face is to spend time with her or him. It turns out, research indicates that kids like experiences more than things.

Office Manager Patricia Ramos

And what puts a smile on Mom’s or Dad’s face? A shorter to-do list. “Stressful to Sacred” (page 16) encourages parents to spend the season saying yes to what feels good and no to what doesn’t. One thing that might feel great is going to see local Christmas lights. See our guide (page 20) and plan your tour. May your hearts be full and happy during the holidays. We will see you in the New Year!

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher Warren Kaufman

Features Editor Melissa Chianta

Production Manager Donna Bogener

Web and Social Media Natalie Bruzon

Cover Photo Bob Rider

Contributing Writers Holly Hester Malia Jacobson Greg Kaplan Christina Katz Rachael Moshman Karen Sue Night Karen Nochimowski

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6 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2017

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SonomaFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Get Crafty for a Cause


apa Valley wants you to know that it has survived the wildfires and is alive and kicking. See for yourself at its annual holiday weekend, including the 48th Annual Calistoga Christmas Faire and Lighted Tractor Parade. Hop on a trolley, sing a carol, make or buy a craft, decorate a gingerbread house or cupcake, watch a movie, swing a stick at a piñata, visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and partake of local food and wine. There also will be a toy and food drive, as well as a special crafting table for making ornaments for those who lost their homes in the wildfires. The fair happens December 2, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at the Napa County Fair and Fireworks in Calistoga. Admission is free. (To donate money toward supplies for the ornament table, see gofundme. com/CalistogaChristmasFaire.) At the end of the fair, at 7 p.m., the Lighted Tractor Parade, featuring mammoth vehicles decked out in twinkling lights, will travel along Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga. To find out more about the fair and weekend events, see ¶

Good Things, Small Packages


or fire victims, the holidays may amplify feelings of loss. Finding gifts for children can feel like an ordeal or even next to impossible. Love in a Shoebox wants to help. The organization, which usually delivers small presents to foster children, is giving out gifts for kids who have been affected by the fires, too. To request a gift box, or to volunteer to help fill them, call 588-8878 or 228-0264, or contact the organization via its website, ¶

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December 2017

Stand By a Hero


hen the Tubbs Fire came barreling down on his property, Peter Lang, the 77-year-old owner of Safari West, had two choices: save his house or his animals. He chose the latter, fending off flames with just a garden hose. While the house turned to ash, the animals— including a giraffe, rhino, and cheetah—were saved. The fire may have not taken the property’s inhabitants, but there has been much to do to make the facility ready for the public. And now it is. Go to its grand re-opening and benefit for the Safari West Foundation’s children’s programs on December 2–3, 1–5 p.m., at Safari West in Santa Rosa. Walk around the grounds, get up-close-and-personal with animals, and enjoy local wines, brews, and barbecue treats as well as a guided tour of the Amani Oasis Aviary, special presentations, and a raffle. Tickets are $65 for adults and $20 for children. To purchase, call 566-3667, e-mail, or go to ¶

Hot Stuff


eat up your insides with a steaming bowl of chili and help warm the hearts of fire victims, too. The 4th Annual Toy Drive and Chili Cook-Off will help those affected by the fires, and it will also benefit the Living Room, a day center that serves homeless and at-risk women and their children. Drop off a new toy for the drive, grab some meat or vegan chili, dance to DJ and live music, and sneak in a bid on a treasure in the silent auction. The event will happen on December 2, noon–4 p.m. (judging at 3 p.m.), at the grange in Sebastopol. Admission is a suggested donation of $15, and free for kids under the age of 12. For more information, contact Diana at 634-4740 or visit ¶

Buy Local


his holiday season, put the spotlight on community, especially local artists. Find locally made jewelry, photographs, sculptures, woodwork, paintings, and fine crafts at these local craft fairs:

Artisan Craft Faire & Holiday Festival. More than 60 artisans, live entertainment, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Kidz Creativity Corner, silent auction, and raffle. December 9, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free admission. Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa. 43rd Annual Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair. 80 artisans and live entertainment. December 2, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and December 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $3 admission good for both days. Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa. Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire. More than 35 artisans as well as gift package giveaways and Salmon Creek School students’ baked goods. December 9 and 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission. Occidental Community Center, Occidental. ¶

Bend, Breathe & Drink


trike a pose and grab a glass. You can do both at the Yoga and Wine: A Magnificent Pairing benefit for the Anova Center for Education, a school for children with autism that was destroyed in the recent fire. Limber up with a 60-minute yoga class courtesy of Yoga at the Village and then sip wine and nosh on hors d’oeuvres before dancing the evening away or finding yourself a gem at a silent auction. The event will be held on December 3, 6–9 p.m., at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. Tickets are a suggested donation of $40. For more information, e-mail ¶

December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 9

with them, and I hope that they will never forget it. FL: Is it hard for you to let go of children when it’s time to? Oh, it’s awful. It’s heartbreaking. We had a little one leave the other day, and I was bawling. But it is beautiful— she left with her adopted parents. It’s just an amazing experience to help children heal and then let them go. It’s very hard but also very rewarding. And I absolutely love it. FL: Have you adopted any of the children you have fostered? Keri Vellis shares her picture book with students.

Grow the Love

A Local Mom’s Take on Foster Parenting


eri Vellis, 44, became a foster mom in Sonoma County in 2013.

Since then, she and her husband have taken care of 13 children, from infants to teens. She spoke with us about what it is like to be a foster parent, and about her picture book, Sometimes...,

which is based on her experiences helping foster kids cope.

Family Life: Why did you decide to become a foster parent? My husband and I had three biological children, and we really felt like our kids were so lucky and fortunate. We had a great life to 10 SonomaFamilyLife

offer more children, and we wanted to open our home and help. FL: You’ve been a foster parent now for five years. What do you get out of the experience? I absolutely love giving children a little piece of our family. They take that

Yes, three. So we have six kids. We didn’t go in hoping to adopt. We just wanted to help kids. And our journey also brought us to adoption, which is amazing. FL: How old were your biological kids when you decided to become a foster parent? 11, 10, and 5 FL: How did they handle it? Were they OK with it? Oh, they were thrilled. They love it. Every time a new child comes into our home, it’s like Christmas to them. They are so loving and welcoming to all the kids who come to us. FL: What do you think they have learned from the process? I think they have learned basic forgiveness, not to judge others, to have an open heart, to be selfless— some really critical things that not a lot of kids learn. FL: The foster kids you parent usually come from difficult circumstances, true?

December 2017

Yes. We’ve experienced a lot of different things with the kids. We try and provide whatever tools they need to work through whatever they are experiencing. FL: And that is part of why you wrote your book, Sometimes… . Exactly. I just found that there wasn’t anything out there that kids could relate to. FL: Can you give us a synopsis of the book? I collaborated with an illustrator who is a former foster child. The book shows a child in a new home, meeting with a new family. The child starts off scared but by the end of the story is playing on a grassy knoll, and there are butterflies around. [The key message is] “You might feel scared but know you are

always safe.” I wanted all children to be able to relate [to the book], not only foster children. Sometimes kids have to go live with a grandma or an aunt or an uncle, or whomever. No

It’s just an amazing experience to help children heal and then let them go. It’s very hard but also very rewarding. matter what the living situation is, they are being removed from their security and going into a whole new environment. FL: Can you tell us a little bit about how you created the book? I was waiting in line to pick up my kids from school, and I just started writing

it. I wrote it in a half hour. And I was like, “Oh my God, I’ve got it.” FL: Where can readers purchase it? My website,, and It’s also in all the Copperfield’s Books in Sonoma County. Through my website, you can donate it to a child in care. I give [donated books] to the Redwood Empire Foster Parent Association. They place them in “blue bags,” which are given to foster parents. The bags contain toiletries, about three days worth of clothes, and then my book. I have actually watched kids in my care open the blue bag, page through the book, and smile. ¶ For more information about foster parenting, call 565-4274 or go to

Remember when people used to underestimate you — hispanohablantes hacen grandes padres de acogida .

(707) 565 - 4274

w w w. S o n o m a F o s t e r C a r e . o r g December 2017



Contact us to find out if YOU would make a great foster parent.



and the one person who didn’t ?

SonomaFamilyLife 11

bunny rabbit and blue sailboat patterns. I thought she’d go for a more rock-n-roll vibe.) We do this often when we’re in department stores or even getting groceries. We’re constantly pulled

We’ve had some deep discussions while walking the infant aisles.

If I Had Been Your Mother Bonding with an Adopted Child By Rachael Moshman


simply can’t walk past baby stores or infant departments without browsing through the adorable clothing, toys, and other goodies. My daughter is in high school now, but I’m still pulled in every time, especially if I see a pink display.

My daughter and I were walking around our downtown area while eating ice cream cones one day and were both drawn to the window of a new store, a baby boutique. The tiny mannequin on display was wearing a onesie, frilly skirt, and pink tennis shoes. It was adorable! We sat on the bench across from the store to finish our ice cream and then went inside to look around. 12 SonomaFamilyLife

We spent over an hour in that little shop. We looked at all of the clothes, and I pointed out outfits that were similar to ones my daughter may have worn when she was a baby. We marveled at how soft the blankets were and gave several stuffed animals a cuddle. My daughter picked out the types of outfits she hopes to dress her own babies in one day. (She surprised me by picking very traditional pink

into the baby aisles. My daughter asks me about every tiny gadget and tool. I explain over and over what they are and how I would have used them to take care of her. “I would have used these little containers to freeze the homemade baby food I made you.” “This is how I would have tested the bathwater to make sure it wasn’t too hot for your delicate skin.” “I’ve heard this is the best diaper cream. I would have used the very best on your little bottom.” You see, my daughter was 9 years old when she came to me. She spent most of her life bouncing around foster care before we found our way to each other. Neither of us knows what she looked like as a baby, so walking these aisles is a way for us to recreate what we both lost. She’s especially interested in the little nose-sucker device. She says, “You would have actually used one of those to suck snot out of my nose? You must really love me!” I assure her that I would have used it and totally do love her. She asks if I’ll suck the snot out of her baby’s nose so she doesn’t have

December 2017

to. I tell her I’ll help her if she needs it, but I know she won’t mind doing it because she’s going to love her baby just as much as I love her, snot and all. I missed out on a lot of years with my daughter. She was very much still a little girl when she joined our family. She loved playing dress up and snuggling with me on the couch to watch the Disney Channel.

Everyone says kids grow up too fast, but when a childhood is half over before you even meet your daughter, it really speeds by. I’ve worked hard to build a strong relationship with her despite our late start. We both wish we could have been together when she was a baby.

Baby stores bring my daughter and I closer together. They allow us to simultaneously look toward the future and come to terms with the past. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. ¶ Rachael Moshman, M.Ed., is a mom, freelance writer, and family advocate. She lives with her husband, daughter, four cats, and a mannequin named Vivian.

Then I blinked, and she was in high school. We’ve had some deep discussions while walking the infant aisles. When she was 10, she gazed at a car seat and then asked, “How long do you think I’ll be able to keep my babies with me?” Her biological

She was very much still a little girl when she joined our family. Then I blinked, and she was in high school. parents had been unable to care for her properly, so she thought she was destined for the same fate one day. I was able to tell her that didn’t have to be her path and together we were going to make sure it wasn’t. According to experts, strong parental bonds are an important indicator of a child’s future success. Good parent-child relationships give children the confidence to grow academically, socially, and emotionally. They also help children develop self-esteem, responsibility, and compassion. Teens who have good relationships with their parents are less at risk of abusing drug and alcohol, getting pregnant, and dropping out of school.

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December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 13

Difficult home situations, school pressures, social challenges, crises, and even the general stresses of life seem to drag some children down with anger, resentment, and bad behaviors. But why do other children in the same situations seem to rise above the chaos, even thrive? It Only Takes One When Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child looked at data collected over several decades, they

What children need is the opportunity to develop healthy, effective coping skills, say researchers.

Raising Resilient Children

identified why some children adapt and overcome, while others do not. “…the single most common finding is that children who end up doing well have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult,” says the report. All it takes is one person! How does just one individual have that much influence?

How to Help Kids Bounce Back After Crisis By Karen Sue Night


friend is worried about her 4-year-old son. He crosses several states every month for a court-ordered stay with his dad. The two separate households differ drastically in what they eat, what they watch on TV, and when they go to bed. She’s afraid the instability is going to have a negative effect on him.

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True Grit or Resilience? “You just have to toughen up,” children are often told. Sometimes we think children should be taught to be self-reliant, rugged individualists. On the other, we may believe children need to have an inborn, heroic strength-of-character. But studies have shown that these are not the building blocks for thriving in adversity. Instead, they can lead to isolation, anxiety, and depression. What children need is the opportunity to develop healthy, effective

December 2017

coping skills, say researchers. That happens in the presence of at least one nurturing “serve and return” relationship. Toxic stress turns into tolerable stress, says the report. Teach Coping Skills for Success A supportive adult helps children learn mental flexibility, goal-setting, problem-solving, and the ability to resist impulsive behaviors. These coping skills develop over time. So instead of trying to remove the child from the stressful situation, parents can focus more on strengthening the relationship for the long term. Help Kids with the Balancing Act Some children internalize stressors more strongly than others, tipping them toward negative

behaviors such as anger, resentment, or withdrawing, observe researchers. But parents can help tip the scale

Resilient children in the study had built both a sense of mastery over the circumstances of their lives and the ability to manage their own behavior and emotions— abilities learned within a trusted adult relationship. back in favor of the positives by being consistently available and responsive, say researchers.

experiences by teaching them to refocus their attention, plan ahead, and control their impulses. Three More Factors that Favor Resilience Resilient children in the study had built both a sense of mastery over the circumstances of their lives and the ability to manage their own behavior and emotions— abilities learned within a trusted adult relationship. Finally, the study noted the influence of strong faith and cultural traditions from either a family or social setting. Solid grounding in faith traditions set children up to respond positively to stress, says the report.

Help children whose personalities cause them to think negatively about

Karen Sue Night is a freelance writer and the mother of three amazing young adults.


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SonomaFamilyLife 15

Prioritize joy. The key to happy holidays is to expand your family’s joys and reduce your family’s stresses. Often, our favorite things fall off our lists because of too many time commitments. Take a moment now, close your eyes, and think about your happiest holiday moments as a parent. Which part of the holidays do

When we put peace at the center of our lives, everything else seems to fall into place.

Stressful to Sacred

Restore Your Holiday Comfort & Joy

By Christina Katz


oy to your family; the holidays have come! Joy is an emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Comfort means to soothe, console, reassure, and bring cheer. Holiday means holy day. If you have not felt joyful in quite some time, putting personal pleasure back in the center of your family’s holidays will quickly increase good cheer and put a holy feeling back in your days. Once you do, everyone in your family will feel holiday spirit bubbling up from within and spilling over into the lives of others.

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you enjoy most? Prioritizing personal preferences is the quickest way to redirect your course from stressful to sacred. Just say no to what no longer serves your family and yes to the things you really want to do. Slow down. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.” Many parents make the mistake of setting our daily pace on “frantic.” But nothing changes overnight. Studies show that continuous stress-driven behavior can lead to an addiction to stress, which causes an unhealthy release of fight-or-flight chemicals in our bodies. The key to resetting this habit is to chill out regularly. Why not meditate, do yoga, or go for a run? Whatever daily activity helps you get off the adrenaline roller coaster and recover rejuvenating calm is the best choice. Banish perfectionism. If the outdoor lights on your home are award-worthy, your holiday décor competes with magazine spreads, and your holiday parties are the best on the

December 2017

©P N


block, but you feel sad, burned out, or numb inside, it’s time to re-evaluate. You might think, “How I feel is not as important as appearing like the picture-perfect family.” But this is upside down and backwards. Start valuing how things feel more than how they seem to others. Recalibrate

Comparison is the bane of joy’s existence. your holiday plans so they become less about impression management and more about genuine family enjoyment. Seek comfort. We live in complex times, so consider what simple pleasures bring comfort. Relaxing in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate, and doing nothing may be exactly what your family needs. Lighting a candle for world peace on holiday evenings can feel soothing. Having a moment of silence before a meal allows everyone to practice mindfulness. When we put peace at the center of our lives, everything else seems to fall into place. Become a thriver. Your upbringing may have trained you to be a survivor rather than a thriver. If your parents struggled with addiction, codependency, or mental illness, you may have inherited a belief that a desire for joy is selfish. The only way to change this mentality is to give yourself permission to feel good. Once you recognize that you have been in survival mode, you can begin naming and claiming everyday joys that set a positive example for your children. Savor the senses. The holiday season is a time of sensory delights.

While the sheer volume of pleasures promoted during the holidays can become overwhelming, just remember that saying yes or no is always up to you. Go through each of the senses with your family. What does everyone love to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel during the holidays? Let each family member have a say in the holiday delights you bring into your home. They don’t call it the season of joy for nothing. Encourage self-reflection. Comparison is the bane of joy’s existence. Lusting after what others have and then striving to attain it is never the key to lasting happiness. Your family members cannot achieve wellbeing while competing with others. Turn off electronic devices regularly during the holiday season and make time to engage in a quiet self-reflection process like journaling, doodling, or vision-board making. Choices that spring from turning within are more likely to lead to personal satisfaction than constant competition. Enjoy your family. Parenting is a joy in and of itself at any time of year and especially at the holidays. Ask any mom or dad whose children have grown up and gone, and they will tell you they wish they had stressed less and relaxed more. No matter what your family situation is right now, you can always become a little more joyful as a family tomorrow simply by making joy a priority today. Paving a path to holiday satisfaction begins now. Remember that happy is fine, but don’t stop there because joy is even more delightful. ¶ Christina Katz is an author and writing and creativity coach.

December 2017

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SonomaFamilyLife 17

Merry Christmas, Baby Enjoying the Season with Your Newborn


By Malia Jacobson y most memorable holiday seasons didn’t involve expensive presents, exquisite decorations, or extravagant meals. I didn’t attend swanky cocktail parties or impress my friends with stylish gifts. I survived on reheated

lasagna and takeout, accessorized with burp rags, and spent my time gazing at tiny fingers and toes. I was the mom of a newborn.

Having a baby over the holidays transforms the season from merely festive to utterly unforgettable. Sure, it can be exhausting and overwhelming. But it comes with built-in advantages. Friends and family are likely to have vacation time to spend with you. Winter clothes make comfy and flattering postpartum wear. And future holiday celebrations will always 18 SonomaFamilyLife

be laced with memories of baby’s miraculous first weeks. For parents expecting a bundle of holiday joy, here’s how to make the most of this special season. Get Busy While You Can Holiday tasks can help pass the long late-pregnancy days while you wait for baby’s arrival. Before my first daughter’s birth in early December, I

was a model of holiday readiness. The house was sparkly clean, the gifts wrapped, and the cards mailed. I was finishing my third batch of Christmas cookies when I went into labor. Three years later, I welcomed our second holiday baby under decidedly different circumstances. The decorations were still in the basement, and there wasn’t a wrapped gift or Christmas cookie in sight. Yet my memories of that holiday season are every bit as great at the first. So tackle your to-do list if you can, but don’t worry if you don’t get everything done. Your newborn won’t mind. And looking back, neither will you. Baby, It’s Cold Outside According to Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious disease specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, parents of babies born near the holidays should take extra

December 2017

precautions to keep their infants healthy. Babies born during the winter months are more likely to catch a viral illness such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), so insist on healthy habits. Parents, siblings, and guests should wash hands with soap and water before touching baby. Everyone in the family should get a flu shot and a pertussis (whooping cough) booster.

When you’re in new-baby mode, holiday celebrations should be simple and flexible. Skip big parties and germy public spaces during the early weeks. When you can’t stay home, arm yourself with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and limit the number of people touching and holding baby. Take a Pass on Perfection A baby changes everything, so don’t be surprised if your holiday priorities end up shifting. Easing up on the urge toward perfectionism can help you relax and enjoy the season. Radio personality Julie Gates of the Gene and Julie Show remembers her first holiday season with December baby Sophia. “Forget about Christmas cards and gifts—everything was so out-of-whack and overwhelming with a new baby in the house. So I just took a pass on that year and didn’t send anything to anyone. The great thing is no one minded one bit!” Spend Wisely Pediatrician visits and hospital fees can pile up, adding financial strain to an already stressful season. Plan

and stick to a holiday budget to keep spending in check. This is good practice for future years, when you’ll be juggling birthday expenses and holiday costs at the same time. Ask, and You Shall Receive Honesty is a new parent’s best policy, especially near the holidays. When friends and family ask if you need anything, speak up and tell them what you could really use, whether it’s dinner, help around the house, or an hour of babysitting so that you can grab a nap and a shower. If they’re set on buying you something, request gift cards to put toward baby essentials. Celebrate Your Way Caring for a newborn may leave you too drained to carry out your favorite holiday rituals, whether they involve decorating gingerbread houses, volunteering, or making the perfect potato pancakes. It’s normal to feel disappointed, but skipping a cherished tradition for a year doesn’t mean abandoning it forever. When you’re in new-baby mode, holiday celebrations should be simple and flexible. After our second daughter’s birth, many of our regular holiday traditions went out the window. So one late-December night, I filled thermoses with steaming hot chocolate while my husband loaded the kids in the car for an impromptu tour of our neighborhood’s holiday lights. Both kids dozed off and we enjoyed some much-needed adult conversation. It’s one of our favorite memories of that extremely busy season. Manage Gift Chaos Between new-baby gifts and holiday presents, packages will threaten December 2017

to take over your already-crowded living space. Stash a pad and pen nearby to jot down who gives what, to make it easier to write thank-you notes later on. Keep gift receipts handy, but save any returning or exchanging until after the holidays, when you can take inventory of gifts and get it all done at once. Treat Yourself One of the best parts about having a holiday baby? You’re free to enjoy the tastes of the season without pregnancy-induced heartburn or

Having a baby over the holidays transforms the season from merely festive to utterly unforgettable. a full-grown baby crowding your stomach. “Eat whatever you want and enjoy it,” advises Kimberly Wyckoff, who gave birth to baby Abigail in November. “You have months before you have to get into a swimsuit.” No matter how carefully you prepare, your holiday baby will probably throw you a few curveballs. In my experience, it’s a near-certainty that she’ll scream during a long-awaited holiday party, spit up on Grandma, and have a blowout in a carefully selected holiday outfit. So stock up on baby wipes, keep your camera nearby, and get ready for your most exhausting, amazing, memorable holiday season yet. ¶ Malia Jacobson is a freelance writer and the mom of two “holiday babies.”

SonomaFamilyLife 19

Your Ultimate Guide to Local

Christmas Lights Come see these amazing displays put on by our neighbors. Petaluma

Rohnert Park

Santa Rosa


5 Wallenberg Way

1128 Emily Ave.

200 Arboleda Dr.

726 Eda Ct.

1803 Hartman Ln.

6026 Elsa Ave.

2440 Valley West Dr.

18592 Melody Ln.

49 Wilmington Dr.

954 Emma Ct.

252 Brittain Ln.

18847 Nikki Dr.

91 Wilmington Dr.

959 Emily Ave.

4481 Montecito Ave.

1792 Northstar Dr.

7333 Circle Dr.

5421 Evonne Ave.

1019 Ventana Dr.

1292 St. Francis Dr.

957 Emma Ct.

3254 Hartley Dr.

150 Melva Ct.

309 Michael Dr.

530 Quince St.

2029 Crosscreek St. 601 8th St.


363 Blazingstar Ct.

917 Claret Ct. 109 Rose Petal Ct. 1907 Winchester Ln. 20 SonomaFamilyLife

December 2017

that the annual sleepover with the cousins to bake and decorate cookies is here again. Long afterwards, kids relive the memories, retelling them to family and friends.

Memory Making The Gift that Keeps Giving By Karen Sue Knight


inding the right gift, the one that doesn’t get forgotten in a drawer or buried in the closet, can be timeconsuming and frustrating for parents. In fact, surveys have shown that up to two-thirds of the presents we give our kids aren’t wanted or valued by them. Experiences vs. Objects What gifts do kids want the most? Surprisingly, kids value experiences more than material goods, say

researchers. Studies show that kids would rather be taken on a new adventure or revisit a favorite family vacation spot than be given a new plaything. Experiences create many layers of value. Kids may feel anticipation for the upcoming live production of Scrooge, or surprise at discovering and following a trail of animal prints in the snow, or satisfaction

Even mishaps morph into positive, long-lasting memories. Everyone remembers when the 20-hour Star Wars marathon turned into a lightsaber war that ended in the emergency room, or the time mom burned up the Christmas ham and decided to take everyone out to Chinese food, just like the movie! It’s True for Adults, Too Not surprisingly, kids aren’t the only ones who value experiences more than getting things. Similar studies have shown that adults who spend their money doing things are happier than those who spend their money buying possessions. Perfect gift? Problem solved! Now to get everyone to agree on where to go and what to do. Karen Sue Night is a freelance writer and the mother of three amazing young adults.

Watch your child gain new skills and grow in confidence with each new level.

Sonoma County Children’s Music 867 Third Street Santa Rosa (707) 527-7900

Enroll now at

December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 21

Cooking with Kids

Snazzy Soufflé Get Festive with an Easy Egg Dish

By Momma Chef


or many, one of the most anticipated traditions of the year is exchanging gifts on Christmas morning. Eating a healthy breakfast may be way less important to the kids than what’s under the tree. Still, they’ll need nourishment after tearing apart all that wrapping paper. So while the clan is attacking their presents, slip this dish in the oven. Like all of my recipes, it only requires six ingredients and six minutes of prep time. In keeping with the holiday theme, I’ve added some colorful vegetables in red and green, too. All my kids love this egg dish. I hope it’s a hit in your home, too. 22 SonomaFamilyLife

Momma Chef’s Ridiculously Easy Christmas Morning Egg Soufflé Ingredients 6 eggs 8 oz. small curd cottage cheese 8 oz. grated mild cheddar cheese 1/4 cup Bisquick 1 cup milk 1/2 cup mixture of asparagus tips and sundried tomatoes (drained and sliced)

Directions Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray Pam into an 8”x8” baking dish. Mix the eggs in a large bowl. Add cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, Bisquick, and milk. Stir until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish, and then sprinkle veggies onto the mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is browning. ¶ This article originally appeared on mommachef. com. It has been reprinted with permission. Momma Chef, aka Karen Nochimowski, is a mom of three active boys. Find more of her recipes on

Soufflé Tips • You can easily double the • We used red and green veggies recipe. Use a 9”x13” baking dish. for Christmas. You can use any variation—mushrooms, spinach, • You can use low-fat ingredients etc. Just make sure to drain such as 2 percent cottage them well. cheese, low-fat cheese, and skim milk. December 2017


Find LOCAL schools, profiles, after-school options, educational activities & family fun


January’s Private School Guide Plus: e-mail updates (free sign-up online!) Warren: 702-485-2992 | Renee: 694-0390

December Calendar of Events

Visions of Sugar Plums


o your kids have letters to Santa they are dying to send? Let them put their missives in Santa’s Special Mailbox. You’ll find it at the free 17th Annual Windsor Holiday Celebration on December 7, 5–8 p.m., at the Town Green in Windsor. Kids can get their pictures shot with Santa, too, as well as take rides in a horse-drawn carriage or stroll through the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove. The town tree will be lit at 7 p.m. Find the full schedule of events at ¶

Friday 1 Santa Rosa Girls Softball Registration. Divisions for most age

groups. Online registration ends on Dec. 31: Santa Train. Napa Valley wine

train. 1.5-hour Christmas train with music, games, entertainment & hot cocoa & freshly baked cookies. 5 p.m. train thru Dec. 29. 6:45 p.m. train Dec. 18–29. $49–$69. 800-427-4124. North Bay Sinfonietta Benefit Concert. Chamber orchestra

concert for local musicians who lost instruments or were otherwise

impacted by the recent fires. $15. 8 p.m. Church of the Incarnation. 550 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Transcendence’s Broadway Holiday Spectacular. Holiday favorites,

showstoppers & modern twists on old favorites. Featuring performers from Broadway shows such as Wicked, White Christmas & Les Miserables. $39–$139. Thru Dec. 3. Dec. 1: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 & 3: 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. 546-3600. The Little Mermaid. Theatrical

performance. Recommended for ages


ge n



remember family & friends that have been lost. A donation to hospice for each light is requested. Contact Hospice of Petaluma to name a light or for additional details. 6–7 p.m. Walnut Park. Petaluma Blvd. & D St., Petaluma. 778-6242. FREE Cotati Tree Lighting. Crafts, story time, special guests, hot


Annual Parks Membership includes: Free parking at 50+ regional parks Free night of camping Festival admission Free boat launching

Gift Memberships available at Regional Parks’ Office, REI, Oliver’s Markets, Whole Foods Markets and other retail partners 24 SonomaFamilyLife

FREE Petaluma Tree Lighting: Light Up a Life. A celebration to


Give a Parks Membership

6 & up. $12–$22. Parking: free. Dec. 1 & 2: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 & 3: 1:30 p.m. Maria Carrillo High School Theatre. 6975 Montecito Blvd., Santa Rosa. 527-4307.

707 585-3748


The Extreiemnece! Exper

Birthday & Private Parties Kids Race Camps Video Arcade Fund Raising Black Light Mini-Golf 4601 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park

December 2017

Holiday Gift Guide Winter Workshops & Kid’s Night At the Charles M. Schulz Museum

December 16, 2017-January 8, 2018

call (707) 284-1272 for reservations or visit:



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December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 25

Annual Food & Funds Drive The devastating fires in our region have resulted in an increased need for food and nutrition assistance in our community. The Redwood Empire Food Bank needs your help. Please, give generously.

Give now at

chocolate & cookies. 6 p.m. La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Hwy. & W. Sierra Ave. 665-3637. FREE The Festival of Trees. Bid on trees decorated by local businesses. Live Christmas music, raffle, sweet shop & photos with Santa. Benefits Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Thru Dec. 2. Dec. 1: 6–9 p.m. Dec. 2: 3–9 p.m. Hotel Petaluma. 205 Kentucky St., Petaluma.

Saturday 2 Christmas Skunk Train. Featuring


we can end hunger.

(707) 523-7900 | WWW.REFB.ORG

Bennett Valley Union School District Registration for Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten (Kinder Bridge) for 2018-19 School Year begins February 6 & 7

Call 542-6272 to sign up

A limited number of interdistrict transfer requests for 2018-19 will be accepted

California Distinguished Schools

Yulupa Primary School Preschool–Third Grade 2250 Mesquite Drive, Santa Rosa 707 542-6272

Strawberry Intermediate School Fourth–Sixth Grade 2311 Horseshoe Drive, Santa Rosa 707 526-4433

Consistently high student academic achievement at both schools

Your child’s joy of learning is nurtured with our: • Excellent Teachers • Reduced Class Size (K–3) • Kinder Bridge Transitional Kindergarten • Extended Day Kindergarten (8:30-1:25) • Fully Staffed Libraries and Technology Labs • Visual and Performing Arts Programs YMCA provides on-site child care

FREE Calistoga Christmas Faire.

Crafts & ornament, toy & food drives. There will be crafting stations for guests to make ornaments to take home or donate. At 7 p.m., the evening ends with old-fashioned tractor parade, tree lighting, trolley rides, caroling & even snow. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Lighted Tractor Parade (on Lincoln Ave.): 7 p.m. Napa County Fair & Fireworks. 1435 N. Oak St., Calistoga. 43rd Annual Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair. More than 80 artists.

• Band, Percussion and Chorus (4th–6th) • Boys’ and Girls’ Interscholastic Basketball (4th–6th) • Emphasis on Environmental Stewardship • Gifted and Talented Education (4th–6th)

Handcrafted holiday décor, home goods, jewelry, bath & beauty products & edibles. $3. Ages 12 & under: free. Thru Dec. 3. Dec. 2: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 3: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Finley Community Center. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. Handmade-Holiday-Crafts-Fair.

Call to reserve tours: Yulupa 11/28, 12/20, 1/16, 1/24, 2/13, 2/21, 3/6, 3/14, 3/18 Strawberry by reservation only 526-4433 Registration Packets available Jan. 9. Children must be five on or before Sept. 1, 2018 to be eligible for kindergarten. Two year Kinder Bridge program offered for children turning five on or after Sept. 2, 2018.

707 542-2201 • Visit us at 26 SonomaFamilyLife

Santa, elves, storytellers, music & hot chocolate & cookies. 90-minute round trip departs daily from Willits & Fort Bragg. $34–$44. Ages 2 & under: free. Infants & dogs: $10. Thru Dec. 23. Call or visit website for schedule. 100 W. Laurel St., Fort Bragg & 299 E. Commercial St., Willits. 964-6371.

FREE Holidays Along the Farm Trails. Farmers open their

gates & barn doors to offer a

December 2017

behind-the-scenes peek at life on the farm. Shop for holiday meals or cut your own Christmas tree. Most stops are free. Maps available on website. No pets. Saturdays & Sundays. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Runs thru Jan. 2018. Various locations in Petaluma. 837-8896. Register: Petaluma Downtown Merchants’ Holiday Open House. Walk thru

FREE Guerneville Parade of Lights. 7–9 p.m. Main St.,

Lighting of the Snowmen Festival. Music, kids’ crafts, wine

Guerneville. holiday-parade-of-lights.

& beer tasting, decorations & more. Admission: free. Parking: $10 donation for charity. 4–8 p.m. Snowmen on display thru end of Dec. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.

FREE Holiday Lights Celebration.

Kids’ activities, live entertainment, booths, holiday refreshments. 5–7 p.m. City Center Plaza. 475 City Center Dr., Rohnert Park.

Cirque de Boheme. Old-style French

circus. $22–$30. Saturdays & Sundays.

historic district. Carolers, horse & carriage rides, face painting, hot cider & much more. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Petaluma Blvd. & Western Ave. 762-9348. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens Holiday Open House. Tour

Burbank’s home, which will be decked out in old-fashioned holiday finery. Ages 12 & up: $3. Thru Dec. 3. Dec. 2 & 3: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 204 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa. 524-5445. 4th Annual Toy Drive & Chili Cook-Off. Silent auction, DJ & live

music, beer & wine, meat & vegan options. Bring a new toy for our toy drive. $15 suggested donation. Under 12: free. Noon–4 p.m. Judging 3 p.m. Sebastopol Grange. 6000 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 634-4740. FREE City of Lights Driving Tour.

A self-guided tour of beautifully decorated homes & businesses. Maps available at the Petaluma Visitors Center. 210 Lakeville St., Petaluma. 5–10 p.m. Thru Dec. 30. visitpetaluma. com/event/city-of-lights-driving-tour. FREE Holiday Craft Fair & Elves Workshop. Join the Girl Scouts

for a day filled with crafts, carnival games, prizes & food. Homemade crafts for sale. Kids can make own crafts or write letters to Santa. 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Community Church of Sebastopol. 1000 N. Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol.

December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 27

Runs thru Dec. 17. Daily shows at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. & 5 p.m. Except Dec. 3, when shows are only at 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.

Sunday 3 Yoga & Wine. Fundraiser to help

rebuild the Anova School for children with autism & other related disabilities. Silent auction, music & dancing. Wear comfortable clothing & bring your mat. $40. 21 & over only. 5:45–9 p.m. Arlene Francis Center. 99 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 636-4297. anovaeducation. org. FREE Caring Santa. A sensory-friendly Caring Santa caters to kids with special needs & their families. Private photo sessions available. Prior to mall opening: 9–10:30 a.m. Santa Rosa Plaza. 1071

Santa Rosa Plaza, Santa Rosa. Search for “Caring Santa.” Brick Palooza. A

huge exhibition of LEGO art. Play areas & robotics demos. $12–$60. Ages 4 & under: free. Robotics workshops: additional $25 each. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Santa Rosa Veterans Building. 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa.

Tuesday 5 Petaluma Chorale Holiday Concert.

Music for a Winter’s Eve. $10–$12. Ages 12 & under: free. Benefits Santa Rosa Junior College Fire Relief Fund. Dec. 5: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9: 3 p.m. Petaluma Valley Baptist Church. 580 Sonoma Mountain Pkwy., Petaluma.

Monday 4 Museum Mondays. Stories, arts & crafts activities & movement games. For children ages 1–5 & their caregivers. $5 per child before 11 a.m. Up to 2 adults per child get in free before 11 a.m. After 11 a.m., regular admission applies. All fire victims get in free to Museum Mondays thru Feb. 26, 2018. 10 a.m.– noon. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. 579-4452.

Thursday 7 FREE Light Up a Life. Heartland Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5–6:30 p.m. Montgomery Village. (Santa’s Village between Midway & Magowan) 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa. FREE Holiday Choral Concert. The Silver Singers, along with choral groups from Rohnert Park & Windsor Senior Center will perform.

Be a Rock star! Swim Lessons SONOMA COUNTY FAMILY YMCA Rain or Shine the Y swim lessons will be taught in our indoor heated pool by caring, skilled instructors. 707-545-9622 x 3138 Sonoma County Family YMCA 1111 College Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95404 • 707-545-9622 F 707-544-7805 The Y is a non-profit Community Organization. Financial Assistance is available.

28 SonomaFamilyLife

Performance based music education Students receive a weekly one-on-one lesson. The students are organized into bands, who meet weekly for a group lesson/rehearsal. Each performance group works with the instructors to create a set of songs to play at the public performance, which is held every three months at a local venue. First Wave: ages 8-11 • Crushers: Ages 11-17

4775 Sonoma Highway • Santa Rosa • (707) 230-6100 Learn more at

December 2017

11 a.m. Bennett Valley Senior Center. 704 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. Fall Dance: Shared Spaces. Dance

performances will take audiences on a journey across the Sonoma State University campus for a series of student-created, site-specific works. Free–$17. Dec. 7: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9: 2 p.m. Sonoma State University Evert B. Person Theatre. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 664-4246. fall-dance-shared-spaces. FREE 17th Annual Windsor Holiday Celebration. Cookie decorating,

carolers, $1 wagon & train rides, Bibliobop Dance Party, letters to Santa & food & gift booths. 5–8 p.m. Windsor Town Green. Windsor.

FREE Chanukah Storytime.

Friday 8 Holiday Home Tour & Artisan Boutique. Spend a winter’s day

touring 5 decorated homes & historic school in & around Sebastopol. $10–$45. Proceeds benefit scholarship fund at Pleasant Hill Christian School. Dec. 8, 6 p.m. thru Dec. 9, 5 p.m. Pleasant Hill Christian School. 1782 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol. Posada Navideña. Dancers & musicians from Ballet Folklórico de Sacramento will perform a traditional Christmas processional & Mexican holiday songs. $5–$10. $2 lap pass for kids under 2 available only on day of show. 7 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa.

Chanukah stories, potato latke songs & raffle. Make your own honey dish. 10 a.m. Toy B Ville. 136 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 599-8585. RSVP:

Saturday 9 Santa Rosa SantaCon. Grab your

Santa hat & get festive. Benefits fire victims across Sonoma County. You don’t have to dress like Santa, but wear red or dress in a holiday theme. $10. Visit website for rules. 3–7 p.m. Beer Baron Bar & Kitchen. 614 4th St., Santa Rosa. Search for “Santa Rosa SantaCon.” Artisan Craft Faire & Holiday Festival. More than 60 local artisans

display handmade arts & crafts. Live entertainment, Santa & Mrs. Claus, Kidz Creativity Corner, silent auction,


Join Our Community Fun Exercise Chinese Language Make new friends! Authentic Kung Fu Training • Chinese Painting Acrobatics • Games & Fun Activities

Week long session January 1st–5th

Apple Blossom Elementary School

Our mission is to nurture our students’ creative and critical thinking, academic proficiency, global awareness, appreciation for diversity and respect for themselves and others in a continually changing technological world.

Grade levels: K-5 • Small class sizes: K-3 (18-20), 4-6 (24-26) Interactive, project-based learning • On-site pre-school Before and after-school care ART, MUSIC, GARDENING, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & PHYSICAL EDUCATION

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December 2017

700 Watertrough Rd. Sebastopol, CA, 707.823.6278

SonomaFamilyLife 29

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raffle & food. 10–4 p.m. Center for Spiritual Living. 2075 Occidental Rd., Santa Rosa. artisancraftfairecslsr.

2 - 5 years Preschool Jr. Kindergarten – Kindergarten 1st through 6th Grade

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FREE Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. 6–8 p.m. Petaluma River


Turning Basin. 10 C St., Petaluma. Petaluma Arts Association Holiday Show. Dec. 9–10. 10 a.m.–4

(707) 795-7863 Preschool license #490100475

p.m. Petaluma Community Center. 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma.

Keep the kids busy over winter break!

The Magic Toy Shop. Presented

by the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance. $12–$22. Dec. 9 & 10. 1 p.m. Veterans Memorial Building. 126 First St. W., Sonoma. 938-1424.

Gymnastics Winter Camp (Age 5-12) 12/26-12/29: Tues-Fri, 8:30am-3:30pm 1/2/18-1/5/18: Tues-Fri, 8:30am-3:30pm

Winter Camp Vertical Rock Climbing (Age 7-14) 12/26-12/29: Tues-Fri, 9am-12pm


Winter Camp Wa-Tam (Age 6-12) Session 1 Theme: Winter Wonderland 12/26-12/29: Tues-Fri, 8am-3pm Extended Hours Available

Relentlessly Pursuing Success for All

Session 2 Theme: Let It Snow! 1/2/18-1/5/18: Tues-Fri, 8am-3pm Extended Hours Available

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December 2017

Sunday 10 Winter Wonderland! Family-friendly games & activities, live entertainment. 1–4 p.m. Rohnert Park Community Center. 5401 Synder Ln., Rohnert Park. FREE Hands-on Chanukah.

Dreidel-spinning contests, marshmallow-dreidel decorating, menorah crafting, Chanukah lights, free gift raffle & more. Get in free when you say “Hands-on-Chanukah.” 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. 579-4452. FREE Menorah Workshop. Build a

menorah. Snacks & music. Parental supervision is required. 3 p.m. Orchard Supply Hardware. 1390 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. RSVP a must: 559-8585.

Friday 15 Holiday Hoopla YMCA Overnight.

Kids are invited to sleep over & participate in swimming, games, movies, arts & crafts. Snacks & breakfast are served. $25–$35. Dec. 15: 7 p.m.–Dec. 16: 9 a.m. YMCA. 1111 College Ave., Santa Rosa. Nutcracker. Presented by the

Petaluma School of Ballet & North Coast Ballet California. $16–$29. Dec. 15: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16: 1:30 & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17: 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. Sonoma State University. Evert. B. Person Theatre. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 762-3972. Gingerbread House Showcase & Competition. Thru Dec. 17. Dec. 15

& 16: Open house, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Dec. 17: Holiday party/winners announced, 1–5 p.m. Hotel Petaluma.

205 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 559-3393.

Saturday 16 FREE Santa Fly-In. Santa arrives in a helicopter. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Santa arrives around 11 a.m. Pacific Coast Air Museum. 1 Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa. 575-7900. pacificcoast Kid’s Night at the Museum. $20–$32. Sibling discount. 5–9 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Advance reservations required. Register at schulzmuseum. org or call 284-1272.

Sunday 17 FREE Chanukah Festival. Menorah Lighting Celebration, hot latkes, live music, dreidels, prizes & more. 4–6

The REACH School Serving Transitional Kindergarten through 8th Grade

• Project Based Academic Program • Social Emotional Learning Focus • Small Class Sizes • Expressive Arts Integration

• Focus on collaborative and activity driven learning Pre-Enrollment Information for 2017-18 is available at


487 Watertrough Rd, Sebastopol, 95472

December 2017

SonomaFamilyLife 31

p.m. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa. Stone Creek Zen Center Children’s Program. Parents

join the community for meditation while kids gather outside. Parent or guardian must attend with kids who are ages 5 & under. $10–$20 suggested donation per family. 10–11:30 a.m. 2999 Bowen St., Graton. 829-1129.

Promenade. 100 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Free with RSVP. Contact: 559-8585.

Monday 18 Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Russian-made costumes

& sets. $34–$74. 7 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. Ruth Finley Person Theater. 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. 546-3600.

Wednesday 20

FREE Choir Christmas Concert.

Choir, bell choir & carol sing-along. 6:30 p.m. 1st Presbyterian Church. 939 B. St., Petaluma. 762-8269.

The Secret Santa Marathon. Fill the Secret Santa wishes of those in need. 6 a.m.–9 p.m. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa.

FREE Chanukah at the River. Mega

9-foot menorah, latkes & crafts, music. Chanukah giveaway to first 50 children. 5–6:30 p.m. Water St.

Sunday 31 Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

Baby Balloon drops at noon. Root beer toasts at noon & 3 p.m. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. 579-4452.

Happy Holidays

Friday 22 The Nutcracker. Performed by the Sebastopol Ballet. $15–$25. Dec. 22: 7

A Novel Take on History

Sharon Elwell works with Prestwood Elementary students.


riting historical fiction can be a great way to learn about the past. That’s what fourth graders at Prestwood Elementary in Sonoma are finding out. With the help of local author Sharon Elwell, students in Katie Grimes’s class have scribed Jeremy and General Vallejo and have learned about 19th century California history along the way. The story, illustrated with student photos, is a time travel adventure in which a lonely new fourth grader, Jeremy, meets General Vallejo and learns about important events that happened in Sonoma during the 1800s. The students agree that their favorite part of the story is when Jeremy tries to explain modern life to General Vallejo, who is thrilled to learn about California universities and libraries but has trouble believing in thermostats, data in a cloud, and hand-held devices that can answer any question. The sequel to the book, Jeremy and the Gold Rush Girl, is about Lotta Crabtree, a child performer who sang

32 SonomaFamilyLife

p.m. Dec. 23: 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Dec. 24: 11 a.m. Complimentary Sugar Plum Parties for kids 1 hour before shows on Dec. 23 & 24. Analy High School Theater. 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol. 800-838-3006.

and danced for the homesick gold miners and made a fortune of her own in the process. It’s due out in March 2018. Jeremy and General Vallejo is now available on Amazon in

Kindle and paperback editions. ¶

December 2017

Classified Marketplace Lessons

After school



Educating the Whole Child





Play-Well LEGO B-Day Parties We bring the party to you! Throughout Sonoma county! 510-289-9909 •

Got Art? We Do!!!

Painting • Drawing Cartooning Mask Making Glass Staining Silk Painting Wood Burning Mosaic • Clay

The Garden Art Studio After School Program At The Reach School • TK-3rd Grades Play • Creative Arts • Nature Activities Accepting Children from ALL SCHOOLS

487 Watertrough Road • Sebastopol 707-790-9968

Montessori in Motion & More! Kinder & Preschool 3-6 yrs.

Academic Skills. REGISTRATION:


Now Enrolling

707.544.1829 & Health & Nutrition, Motor Skil REGISTRATION: Interpersonal Relationships, S Register at the Parks and Recreation Office

YMCA Program Office The Y isConfidence, a non-profit community based organization. and Cognitive 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., Bldg. 300D 707.544.1829 Financial Assistance is available. 838-1260 • Academic Skills.

Year-round • Play based Ages 2 - 5 (Pre-Kindergarten) Excellent Teacher-Child ratios Open 7am-6pm


YMCA Office b io’s Program Since 1981 707.544.1829 Montessori School


5435 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park • 285-2002

We can help! 

Preschool•Kindergarten The Y is a non-profit Parent-Toddler Class community based Ages 18 months organization. to 6-years

Financial Assistance is available.

Diane: 546-7012


All ages & riders welcome!


Visit us at License#490110699

MARK WEST STABLES (707) 538-2000

25th Anniversary!

2017 Introductory Special


Lessons Grooming Camps Pony Rides & More!

for your next birthday party!

Have an adventure party! 433-8102 egfencing

 Paternity and Child Support  Order Establishment   Payment Collection Services   Payment Tracking and     Accounting   Child Support Modification   

Sonoma County   Child Support Services  3725 Westwind Blvd., Ste 200  Santa Rosa, CA 95403  

Like Us On Facebook


The Y is a non-profit community based organization. Financial Assistance is available.

Program of First United Methodist Church

Classes • Camps Birthday Parties

Part Time /Full Time Care

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: Health & Flexible Nutrition, Motor Skills, Plans Available

Nutrition, Relationships, Motor Skills,Self Interpersonal Montessori In Motion: 3–6 yrs. Health & Serving 2-5 year olds Relationships, Self Confidence, and Cognitive & Children’s Circle: 2.5–3.5+ yrs. Interpersonal Academic Skills. & Confidence, and Cognitive KinderClub: 3–5 yrs. PRICING &


Celebrating 26 Years

SANTA ROSA 2590 PINER RD. Serving 2-5 year olds


Mention Family Life for $25 off your next party!

Part Time2590 /Full Time Care PINER RD. Flexible Plans Part TimeAvailable /Full Time Care Flexible Plans Available Serving 2-5 year olds


Preschool & Child Care Center

Montessori Education Inspires ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Joy of Learning Order & Detail Concentration Grace & Courtesy

2427 Professional Dr. • Santa Rosa Near Steele Lane & Hwy 101


St. Eugene’s Cathedral PRESCHOOL

Small, accredited, private preschool ages 2.9-Kingergarten entry. Developmentally appropriate curriculum focusing on socialization and kindergarten readiness. Accepting applications March 1, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year. Open House Preschool-8th Grade: Sunday, January 28th 10am-12pm or call to schedule a tour.

(707)528-9133 360 Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa

December 2017

The Bridge School. Located in Central Santa Rosa, 1625 Franklin Ave. Year-round full/half–day. Rich nurturing environment. Center based program for ages 3–5 with separate 2’s program. Caring, qualified teachers. Julie & Andrew Day; owners. Lic.#493005697. 575-7959.

Playtime Daycare/Preschool Join our loving family. Spacious playroom, large yard, meals provided. CPR & first aid certified. M-F. Infants & up. Call Wendy 539-7524. Lic. #04746.

SonomaFamilyLife 33

Humor Break

Oh, to Pee Alone! The Family Restroom Experience By Holly Hester


’ve never been a big water drinker. Ever. I just never really got the point of the whole water thing when there are so many other flavored beverages in the world that are so yummy. Water always has seemed to be just a watered-down version of coffee, beer, soda, or soda’s pretend healthy friend, iced tea. But the other day, I was lying in bed reading an interview with Jennifer Aniston (In my defense, it was the only thing upstairs to read. Our bedroom has more boring magazines than a dentist’s office.), and she said that her two biggest secrets to looking so good were sleep and water. Now, of course, I don’t really believe those are her only secrets, but it did get me thinking about water and my cursory relationship with it. It occurred to me that, since becoming a mom, I have turned into a camel out of necessity. As a mom, if you’re out in public, and you have to pee, and you just have a baby—well, that’s one thing. But as soon as your child can crawl, bathrooms turn into truly disgusting, very stressful places. I remember the first time I saw my son Buck crawl into another stall and disappear. I was so grossed out—it was a bathroom floor at the beach, which is pretty much one of the grossest 34 SonomaFamilyLife

bathroom floors on Earth. I remember calling his name and getting absolutely no response. By the time I got out of the stall, Buck had actually left the bathroom and was running around the parking lot. I think it was then that I subconsciously made a decision to stop absorbing liquids all together. That doesn’t mean I’ve avoided public bathrooms all these years—oh, no! Moms with little kids and vagrants are the two groups of people that

As soon as your child can crawl, bathrooms turn into truly disgusting, very stressful places. keep public bathrooms bustling. A parenting rule of thumb: If you’re anywhere near a gross bathroom, you can count on having to change a diaper in it. And how many hundreds of times have I been crammed in a stall with all three of my children as we do this weird public bathroom dance where we rotate clockwise and take turns at the toilet? It’s only been recently that we all can use separate stalls. This has been a major achievement, and I

only wish there were a plastic award I could buy at the Party Store to celebrate it. (Nothing fancy, maybe just a happy mom sitting alone on a toilet, giving a big thumbs up.) Which brings me back to water. There is really no good excuse why I can’t drink the stuff these days, so I decided to give water a try. And, being me, I decided to drink a ton of it instantly, just to see if there were any remarkable difference in how I felt. And I hate to say this, but drinking a lot of water does make you feel better. It really does. It makes you feel—oh, what’s the word?—hydrated. My skin is smoother. My eyes are clearer. I even have more energy. And the weird thing is, the more you drink it, the more you want to drink it. You get thirstier. You crave water. You start being one of those annoying people who says, “Have you seen my water bottle?” So it looks like my camel days are over. But, unfortunately, since I’m drinking a lot of water, my public bathroom days have just begun. ¶ Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.

December 2017

give Extended Holiday Shopping Hours Beginning November 24 Monday - Saturday 9am - 9 pm • Sunday 9am to 6pm Christmas Eve • 9am to 5pm Christmas Day • Closed Tuesday, December 26 • 9am to 6pm


enjoy play

Santa and Mrs. Claus

Now through Sunday, December 17, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Photo Studio in Village Terrace every weekend from 11am to 3pm. All proceeds benefittheV olunteer Center of Sonoma County.


Light Up A Life Thursday, December 7 • 5pm to 6:30pm Please join us at Santa’s Village in Village Terrace for the Heartland Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony and help to light up lives, cherish memories and celebrate our community.


Chanukah Festival

give gifts

enjoy play

Sunday, December 17 • 4 pm in Village Court The Chabad Jewish Center invites you to Celebrate Chanukah. Join us for a Menorah Lighting Celebration. Hot Latkes, Live Music, Dreidels, Gelt, Prizes and More. For information, call 707.577.0277.

The Secret Santa Marathon

Wednesday, December 20 • Village Court While wrapping up your holiday shopping and enjoying the strolling entertainment, help us fulfill every last Secret Santa wish from our neighbors in need. For more information about Secret Santa, call 707.573.3399.

The Gift of Endless Choices

Montgomery Village Gift Certificates are redeemable at all stores and restaurants in the Village. Plus if you purchase $100 or more in Gift Certificates at the Village’s Management Office you will receive a See’s Candies Certificate (good for 1 pound of See’s Candies, while supplies last). For details or to pre-order, call 707.545.3844.

give gifts





Less “Wait…what?”

! s i h t t “ I go


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In the Copper Dome Building 100 Brush Creek Road, Suite 102 (707) 890-3200

In the Adobe Creek Shopping Center at Lakeville Hwy. & McDowell Blvd. (707) 781-7373

Sonoma Family Life December 2017