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december– january

twenty eighteen– nineteen

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in every issue food for thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 event calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 shutterbug


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22


sections gettin’ through it seizures & epilepsy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

resources connect, find help, get answers, make a difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


ready, set, grow 1st firsts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42





feature & profiles

mod mom profile mary sue ohlhauser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

rad dad profile ben hendricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

cover story laura sokolofsky difference maker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34


on the minds of

PUBLISHER DS Communication, LLC EDITORS Sheri Kleinsasser Stockmoe p: 701.306.1624 e: Dani Parkos Fluge e:

COPY EDITOR Charlotte Berg

ADVERTISING Patty Nystrom p: 701.269.4180 e: Sheri Kleinsasser Stockmoe p: 701.306.1624 e:

PHOTOGRAPHY Renee Clasen – ten little chickens photography Josette Hayes–exposures by j.linnea Scott Thuen-thuen studios DESIGN AND LAYOUT

Scott Thuen – thuen studios

AD DESIGN Casie Beldo Scott Thuen Tara Kessler Stephanie Drietz CONTACT mail: PO Box 190, Fargo, ND 58107 e: p: 701.297.2138 SUBSCRIPTION print digital

COVER PHOTO BY Renee Clasen – ten little chickens photography


OTMOM MISSION STATEMENT On The Minds Of Moms Magazine is dedicated to providing parents of all ages a bimonthly resource they can trust. A fresh approach to traditional parenting publications, we are modern and inspiring while offering a community of local support and real-life advice for today’s family. On The Minds Of Moms contains views from across the parenting spectrum. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. All activities listed in these pages are at your own risk and require appropriate supervision. OTMOM is a publication available at all Fargo-Moorhead Hornbacher's, Family Fare, and Grand Forks–East Grand Forks Hornbacher's and Hugo's grocery store locations. Distribution also includes all partnering advertisers. Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. On The Minds Of Moms is a trademark registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


ary Sue Ohlhauser and her three siblings received daily lessons in hard work growing up on the family dairy farm in Strasburg, North Dakota. Mary Sue is a Loan Officer for the USDA and has worked for the Department

of Agriculture for almost 33 years. She currently works in the North Dakota State Office in the litigation department. In addition to her full-time gig, Mary Sue is also co-owner of Burlap Boutique, which offers repurposed, rustic, industrial, and farmhouse chic items for you and your home [be sure to like them on Facebook]. Married for 21 years to Lenny, the Activities Director/Assistant Principal at Davies High School, Mary Sue is the self-proclaimed mama bear to Kennedy [17] and Kade [11], and step-mom to Devin [29] and Ali [28].

photos: exposures by j.linnea | josette hayes

mary sue ohlhauser age 50, fargo.nd

mod mom

one word that best describes my parenting style…

movies; he’s the one who cries at the end of the movie. HA!

FLEXIBLE…firm but flexible.

one thing i long to do again someday…

my pregnancies were…

sit and visit with my friend Julie who passed away last November.

so easy! I was healthy and in good shape for both of them so that made it easy.

hands down my favorite place to shop… is of course BURLAP!!!!

the quality i admire most in a close friend… she MUST know how to have fun and be true. I have many close friends and some I don’t see often enough. One of my favorite quotes is, “Friends are like stars, you don’t need to see them to know they are there.”

my biggest mom challenge… raising children to set them free. I try to treasure each day and know that soon enough they will be off to college and on their own.

time with my husband is usually spent… at our children’s events and at Davies High School. Lenny spends a lot of his time at school activities so if I want to see him, I attend ball games, concerts, etc. Kinda crazy, but we love it.

my splurge food of choice is…

people are always surprised to learn i…

I love pancakes on Sunday mornings with white syrup and cream. My girlfriend Sandy’s grandmother introduced me to that in grade school and I love it so much.

grew up on a dairy farm milking cows!

the best advice i can give my kids is… work hard and play hard.

my husband would say i… am a busy body—I ALWAYS need to be doing something. If I sit on the couch, my kids think I am sick!

i am a big believer in… KARMA

i cannot live without… Chapstick. I have it everywhere…my desk, car, purse, bathroom, kitchen!

the movie i could watch over and over again…

I am not really a movie go-er, but I could watch Friends episodes over and over again.

the quality i admire most in my husband… he is the most unselfish person I know. He truly loves his job, co-workers, and the students. He never complains about anything and is always very proud of all the school accomplishments and our children. But what I love most is when we watch Hallmark december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


mod mom the one quality i hope my kids have is… treat everyone with respect. I was raised to treat the janitor the same as I would treat the CEO. And to always say “THANK YOU!”

the parenting rule i never break… I honestly cannot think of one so I must break them all! I think every family is different and that if something works in my house, it might not work in anyone else’s, and vice versa.


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

food for thought

holiday hot chocolate bar

photo: thuen studios  | scott thuen

shared by  |  kari klingsporn hitterdal


t’s that time of year again when even if you aren’t the entertaining-type, you will probably end up hosting a holiday gathering or need to bring something to share to a festive event. Bringing a beverage is a nice addition to any winter celebration and putting together this hot chocolate bar looks like you spent a lot of time on it even though it’s really as simple as assembling—no baking required! Here is a swift and straightforward hot chocolate recipe that will truly please kids from 1 to 92! I like to serve this as a warm up on these long winter days: make it your own with fun choices on a customized hot chocolate bar! Kids will love the crushed cookies, candy, and marshmallows to pile on top, and for an adult event, coffee or peppermint liqueur make it festive and fun! you need: ½ cup cocoa powder ½ cup hot water 20 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate- or a combination of the two 10 cups whole milk [2% is okay, but whole milk is best] 2 ½ cups heavy cream 1 - 12 ounce can evaporated milk [NOT fat free] ½ cup sugar [optional] ¼ teaspoon salt how to: Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl. Add the cocoa mixture, chopped chocolate, milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and salt to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cook the hot chocolate on the high setting for 4 hours or

on low for 6 hours. Stir the hot chocolate every hour to keep the chocolate from settling at the bottom of the slow cooker. You may omit the sugar if you plan to serve the hot chocolate with lots of sugary accompaniments. Keep on the warm setting if you’re serving it hot chocolate bar-style. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to one week and warmed on the low setting in the microwave before serving. hot chocolate bar assembly and serving suggestions: I bought cheap canning jars in several sizes to hold all the goodies for my hot chocolate bar. The lids that come with the jars make for easy storage and transport. You can assemble everything in advance and simple place all of your cute jars on a large serving tray, take the lids off, pop the spoons in and you’re ready! I also have used coffee to-go cups when I made the hot chocolate bar for a larger

feeding your family TIP: Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of year, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself! On top of regular holiday-induced anxiety I experience, meal-planning is the last thing I want to think about. Here’s my tip: DON’T STRESS, MAMA! During this busy season, I try to rely on cooking less often, but making sure I have lots of leftovers to fill up the freezer and keep at the ready when I am in a pinch. Providing healthy choices and enforcing early bedtimes as often as I can amidst the chaos is the best I can do right now, and that’s good enough. Your kids will not care that you drained yourself to make a “perfect” holiday for them, but they will appreciate your smile and time you spend with them, enjoying the magic of the holiday season. Give yourself permission to order pizza, rip open a pre-made salad kit, and sit on the couch for an evening full of snuggles, smiles, and sipping hot chocolate with your kids and enjoy this holiday season, Mama! Kari's passion for food, family, and fun has been with her since her upbringing on her beloved Big Floyd Lake near Detroit Lakes, MN. She earned Secondary Education degrees in both Social Studies and English from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. She enjoyed a brief stint as a caterer and cooking instructor, but has proudly spent most of her motherhood as a stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Brent, and three children, Gunnar, Ava, and Ella, have all [mostly] been eager taste testers to whatever is on the table for dinner.

food for thought crowd and didn’t have enough coffee mugs on hand. Simple! The smaller canning jar sizes were useful for most things, however I used bigger jars for bulkier and taller items like marshmallows and peppermint sticks. I used tiny plastic spoons for uniform serving pieces and they worked like a champ and look great. If you’re artsy, you can make cute labels for the hot chocolate accompaniments, but it’s not necessary, unless if you’ve got lots of extra time during the holidays [Ha!]. Here is a list of ideas to fill those cute little jars, but of course, the possibilities are endless! • Mini marshmallows- plain or flavored • All the chips: chocolate [milk, semi-sweet, white], peppermint, creme de menthe, peanut butter, butterscotch, caramel • Candy cane sticks • Cinnamon sticks • Crushed peppermints • Truffles • Pirouette cookies • Crushed chocolate cream cookies or sugar cookies

• • • • • • • • •

Toffee bits Whipped cream Chocolate or caramel sauce Shredded coconut Chopped nuts Cocoa powder Cinnamon Coarse sea salt And, for the adults: an assortment of liqueurs and flavored syrups are a fun addition!

notes: This recipe can also be made on your cooktop. Whisk the water and cocoa powder together over medium heat until it begins to simmer, add in the remaining ingredients and whisk just until the chocolate melts. Make sure the hot chocolate doesn’t boil—it should cook to just barely reach the simmer point. It can be served immediately or transfer to a slow cooker set to the warm setting. Makes 15-20 servings—can be easily halved to serve up to 10.

we w& e

“ My smile has brought out the model inside of me.”

Visit or call (701) 293-5300 to take the next step towards a better smile. WE can do it.


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen


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Santa & Mrs. Claus take over the village at Rheault Farm [2902 25th St S, Fargo] with elves, live reindeer & sleigh rides! December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16 1pm-7pm, 6, 7, 13 & 14 4pm-7pm, 19 & 21 4pm-8pm, 22-23 1pm-8pm. FREE admission with canned goods, new or gently used toy, or cash donation.

Head to Santa Village at Rheault Farm [2902 25th St S, Fargo], 6pm-8pm, to make a cute stocking hanger with Creatively Uncorked. This is a great project for a parent and child to make together or you can be creative on your own. Age 9+ is recommended for this 2-hour event. Class fee starts at $65 and will vary depending on the number of names and hooks. Register in advance online at events/photo/.

Head to Santa Village at Rheault Farm [2902 25th St S, Fargo], 6pm-8pm, to paint your own Christmas tree on canvas and add real lights with Creatively Uncorked. This is a great project for a parent and child to make together or you can be creative on your own. Age 9+ is recommended for this 2-hour event. Class fee is $45. Register in advance online at www.creativelyuncorked. com/events/photo/.

Santa Village @ Rheault Farm

december events


CPR & First Aid Training


Kids Healthy Cooking: Santa Pancakes & Snowmen Come make a special Holiday breakfast at Family Wellness [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 10am-11am! We will prepare whole-grain pancakes with adorable Santa faces made from strawberries and whipped cream! $12 Members, $20 Non-Members. Ages 5+ [ages 5-7 need to be accompanied by an adult; up to 2 kids per adult]


Lindenwood Park Lights Drive through Lindenwood Park [1905 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo] and view holiday-light displays sponsored by local businesses from 5:30-10pm. $7 per car, $6 with canned good, and $11 for buses or limos.

Prepare for the unexpected and gain the knowledge and skills needed for effective leadership in the event of an emergency! This course, held at Family Wellness [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 6:30pm-10:30pm, will prepare you to recognize and care for a variety of first aid, breathing, and cardiac emergencies involving infants, children, and adults. Topics include how to recognize and manage an emergency situation, basic first aid, standard emergency care procedures and administration, CPR, AED, and more. After completion of this class, you will be certified for two years in Red Cross CPR, AED, and First Aid for adults, children, and infants. $44 Members/$95 Nonmembers. Register online.

Stocking Hangers

Christmas Tree with Lights


Skate with Santa Grab your skates and head to Veterans Memorial Arena [1201 7th Av E, West Fargo], 3pm-5pm, and see how Santa is doing while skating to Christmas music during this fun and FREE event! Enjoy a free refreshment during this fun event. Skate rental is not available.


Skate with Santa


Adult Healthy Cooking: Guilt-Free Treats The holidays are a time for family, merriment and expanding waistlines. Ages 15+ head to Family Wellness [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 6pm-7:30pm and let’s use some new ingredients to explore healthier baking options to add in to your holiday repertoire! $12 Members/$20 Nonmembers. Register online at least 48 hours in advance of the class.

Lace up your skates and enjoy free open skate with Santa at Moorhead Sports Center [324 24th St S, Moorhead], 2:15-4:15! Free hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Skate rental will be available [limited sizes].

BE A PART OF THE DEACON TRADITION Providing exceptional faith-based education while inspiring excellence.

3 yr old Little Deacons - 12th Grade For information or a tour call 701-893-3271





on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen




movie. Fitness Plus members $10 for 1st child, $5/additional child, Fitness members $12 per child, Non-members $18 per child.


Santa will catch a ride in the Sanford helicopter and arrive at the Fargo Air Museum [1609 19th Av N, Fargo] at 10am to visit with children about their lists until 1pm. Santa's elves will help children in and out of a couple of special airplanes for children to take a look around.


F-M Moms Offering Moms Support [MOMS Club] meets the third Friday of every month at the Moorhead Public Library [118 5th St S, Moorhead] at 10am. Join other moms and kids for weekly playgroups, community events, and volunteer opportunities. For more information go to MOMSClubFargo or momscluboffm@

Santa Fly-In


Adult + Child Workshop: Holidazzling Cards Calling ages 4 to 101! Drop in the Plains Art Museum [704 1st Av N, Fargo], 9am-noon, to discover the joy of screenprinting your own holiday greeting cards. This is perfect workshop for anyone interested in how cards are made. Printing the cards and envelopes will take 30-45 minutes and each participant will leave with eight cards and matching envelopes. Perfect for kids 4+ and their adult(s). Each participant should register for a space. Members $10, nonmembers $12. Register online.


Kids’ Night Out 701.237.4805 Drop off your kiddos [ages 2 years old-6th grade] at Courts Plus [3491 University Dr S, Fargo] for a fun night, 5pm-8:30pm of themed games and crafts, pizza and a


Mason Jar Luminaries Head to Santa Village at Rheault Farm [2902 25th St S, Fargo], 6pm-8pm, to paint and decorate your own mason jar luminaries with Creatively Uncorked. This is a great project for a parent and child to make together or you can be creative on your own. Age 9+ is recommended for this 2-hour event. Class fee is $30. Register in advance online at www.creativelyuncorked. com/events/photo/.


Infant Massage This class at Family Wellness [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 6pm-7:30pm, is for caregivers and their infants to learn how to massage their infants. Massage has been shown to improve circulation, help infants to relax, regulate sleep patterns, stimulate digestive system and may relieve colic or gas. It also can improve communication, attachment and bonding between caregiver and infant, as well as caregivers may feel more confident in understanding their baby’s cues. The class will be a hands-on experience for babies and their caregivers [bring baby]. Free for members and nonmembers. Register online.



You can Make the Difference for a Child in Your Community. Be a Foster Parent. Call Today. A Child is Waiting.





december events


Sleigh Rides Enjoy a scenic sleigh ride through beautiful Viking Ship Park [202 1st Av N, Moorhead] 1pm-4pm. Tickets are available at the door on a first come, first served basis. There are no reservation or advanced ticket sales. Tickets are $4 per person [children 2 and under are free].


LEGO Mania Design Contest Show off your creativity at the Fargo Public Library's annual LEGO Mania Design Contest! Kids 12 and under are invited to participate. Build an original creation at home, then bring it to the Main Library [102 3rd St N, Fargo] on Thursday, December 27th between 2pm and 3pm. Judging will begin at 3pm and winners will be announced at 4pm. Games and other activities will take place in the Children's

Room to pass the time while we await the judges' decisions. Registration begins December 1st. and can be completed by calling Children’s Services at 701.241.1495

27 & 28

Artist-led Camp: Puppet Theatre Are you an artist, an actor, and a storyteller age 8-18? Spend two days over the winter break at Plains Art Museum [704 1st Av N, Fargo], 9am-noon, learning how to construct finger and sock puppets, build a puppet theatre, and hone your storytelling skills. At the end of the camp, students can invite their family groups for a short performance. Each participant should register for a space. Members $52, nonmembers $65. Register online.

Helping students read with confidence & pursue their dreams! PATH



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2912 15th Street S, Suite C Moorhead, MN 56560 218.359.0505


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Remediation of Reading, Comprehension, Language & Math Disabilities for Children & Adults

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms



january events

5, 12 & 26

Reel Movies for Real Needs Marcus Theatres at West Acres Cinema [4101 17th Av SW, Fargo] understand that sometimes it is difficult or uncomfortable for families with special needs children to attend movies together. Reel Movies for Reel Needs is a specially designed program to serve families with special needs such as autism or other challenges, who seldom attend movies. Reel Movies for Real Needs creates a welcoming and comfortable environment – lower sound, lights up—where families with children who need accommodations will be able to share the experience of seeing family friendly films at a theatre.

B4 Baby classes-and-events The decision to start a family can be exciting and yet stressful. From the health considerations to the financial obligations, couples may feel overwhelmed with the unknown territory. Sanford Women’s is launching a new class for couples called B4 Baby to help answer questions, prepare couples and offer advice. These sessions at the new Sanford Medical Center [5225 23rd Av S, Fargo], 6:30pm-7:30pm, will cover fertility and preparing your body, insurance and financial resources/planning, what to expect at OB visits, classes and amenities available, what to expect at the hospital, planning for a newborn’s care and more. You will hear from a physician and birth designer and other Sanford specialty areas and have the opportunity to tour the family birth center.

7, 14 & 21

S’mores & More on Ice Head to S’mores & More on Ice for a night out with the family, 5pm-7pm at Longfellow [20 29th Av NE, Fargo] on the 7th, Roosevelt Park [1220 9th St N, Fargo] on the 14th and Clara Barton Park [1451 6th St S, Fargo] on the 21st. Enjoy s’more

supplies to cook your own, hot chocolate and music playing to enjoy. The rink and warming house will be available to use during the event. Don't forget to bring your ice skates so you can skate to the music on the outdoor rink.


In Their Shoes Spend an inspiring evening supporting the 10th Annual ‘In Their Shoes’ event. This TNT signature event supporting programs for children of all abilities and adults with special needs. The event's emphasis is walking a mile in someone else's shoes. This business formal event includes heavy hor d'oeuvres along with silent and live auctions. The auctions' high impact gifts such as nights on the town, vacation getaways, sports memorabilia, themed gift baskets, dinner packages for two and shoes raise significant funds for TNT's diverse programming.


Fight the Frost Get the kiddos out of the house and burn off some energy with three days of jumping on inflatables at FARGODOME [1800 N University Dr, Fargo]. Games Galore and the FARGODOME have teamed up again for their 6th Annual Fight the Frost scheduled for noon-9pm on the 11th, 9am-9pm on the 12th, and noon-6pm on the 13th. More than 30 inflatables, including 8 obstacle courses and even a designated kiddie land will occupy the main floor and the popular Archery Tag® and Blacklight; Dodgeball, 9 Square and Mini Golf will be held on the other two levels of FARGODOME. Inflatable tickets: ages 5 & under $7, ages 6 & up $12. All access passes to Inflatables, Archery Tag and Blacklight games: all ages $15.


Kid’s Healthy Cooking: Bread+Yoga = Boga

Kiddos ages 5+ head to Family Wellness Center [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 10amnoon, and learn to make a mini loaf of bread from scratch. While it bakes, then take part in a short yoga class. What could be better! $12 members/ $20 nonmembers [ ages 5-7 must be accompanied by adult].


Babysitter’s Training This American Red Cross Babysitting Course at Family Wellness Center [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 8am-5pm, is a hands-on way to learn everything you need to know about babysitting. Start your babysitting business on the right foot and learn how to be a safe, professional and reliable sitter. Included in the course is American Red Cross First Aid and CPR Certification that is valid for two years. This course will teach you to be safe on the job, how to recognize an emergency and how to handle it as well. This class is for ages 11+. Lunch is included. $65 members/ $95 nonmembers.


Parents Night Out Parents! Need a break? The great staff at Courts Plus [3491 S University Dr, Fargo], 5pm-8:30pm, will watch your kids! Have them join us for a night of activities, games, sports, dinner and a movie. All activities will take place at Courts Plus. Register online to reserve your spot!


Stress & Anxiety Management classes-and-events Expecting and preparing for a new baby is very exciting but can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety for expectant parents. There are a lot of natural, simple things that can be done to manage this stress and anxiety during this time. Head to Sanford Southpointe Clinic [2400 32nd Av S], 2:30pm-3:30pm, to join the Stress & Anxiety Management session to learn more about these management strategies, as well as what you can do if you feel you can’t manage your stress and anxiety on your own. Register online.


CPR, First Aid & AED Combo Class Prepare for the unexpected and gain the knowledge and skills needed for effective leadership in the event of an emergency! This course at Family Wellness Center [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 6:30pm-10:30pm,

All event listings displayed within OTMOM are carefully selected to provide diverse options for families. More events found online at It is always a good idea to call ahead to confirm the information provided. Although it is not possible to list every event happening in the FM area, we encourage organizations to submit events for consideration to


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

will prepare you to recognize and care for a variety of first aid, breathing, and cardiac emergencies involving infants, children, and adults. Topics include how to recognize and manage an emergency situation, basic first aid, standard emergency care procedures and administration, CPR, AED, and more. After completion of this class, you will be certified for two years in Red Cross CPR, AED, and First Aid for adults, children, and infants. For ages 15+. $44 members/ $95 nonmembers.


Basic Training for New Dads www.essentiahealth. org/classes-events This one-evening class at Essentia Health [3000 32nd Av S, Fargo], 6:30pm-8:30pm, is designed just for ‘Dads to be’ and is taught by an experienced Dad. Topics covered include: adjustments to fatherhood, how to support Mom, basics of infant care, the benefits of Rooming-In for you and your baby, the initiation of The Sacred Hour, and benefits of Skin-to-Skin. Classroom location will be posted on a sign in the main hospital lobby. Register online.


F-M MOMS Club F-M Moms Offering Moms Support [MOMS Club] meets the third Friday of every month at the Moorhead Public Library [118 5th St S, Moorhead] at 10am. Join other moms and kids for weekly playgroups, community events, and volunteer opportunities. For more information go to MOMSClubFargo or momscluboffm@


how to massage their infants. Massage has been shown to improve circulation, help infants to relax, regulate sleep patterns, stimulate digestive system and may relieve colic or gas. It also can improve communication, attachment and bonding between caregiver and infant, as well as caregivers may feel more confident in understanding their baby’s cues. The class will be a hands-on experience for babies and their caregivers [bring baby]. Free and open to the community.


Winter Rocks Skating

Kid’s Healthy Cooking: Monster Toast & Eggs Breakfast for Dinner- you bet! It’s a fun take on toast, we are going to “paint” on the toast, scramble the eggs, and squeeze oranges for some rockin’ OJ at Family Wellness Center [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 5:30pm-6:30pm! Ages 3+, $12 members/ $20 nonmembers.


Enjoy skating to music on Fargo's outdoor ice rink in the heart of downtown Fargo. Spend time as a family before heading down to the Official Frostival Kick-Off at Basecamp in downtown Fargo. Enjoy games and prizes for area youth. The rink and warming house will be available to use during the event.

25 & 26


Infant Massage This class at Family Wellness Center [2960 Seter Parkway, Fargo], 6pm-7:30pm, is for caregivers and their infants to learn

january events

Embrace the cool of winter with a weekend of outdoor family-friendly events, music and more!


Icicle Island Head to Island Park [302 7th St S, Fargo], 10am-3pm, for the inaugural Icicle Island! Bring your entire family down for a fun filled day in the snow and don’t miss the sledding luge, giant snow tunnels, skating path, ice maze, and more! You can even take a break from the cold by popping into the heated tent to warm back up while playing games and enjoying a cup of hot cocoa [available for purchase].

Kindergarten Registration Registration for Fall 2019 opens online February 1, 2019 at:

Registration is a two-step process: O






STEP ONE: Complete registration at home online anytime or at computer kiosks in the office at each Fargo Public elementary school building on the following dates and times: February 25, 27, March 1– 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. February 26, 28, March 4 – 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Child must be age 5 by July 31, 2019 to attend school in the fall. If do not know which school your child will attend, call 701.446.1043 or check online at

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


STEP TWO: Families MUST bring their child’s certified birth certificate, child’s current immunization record, and a document (i.e. current city utility bill or bank statement) that includes parent/guardian name and address to verify the correct neighborhood school.

ten little chickens photography


exposures by j.linnea

exposures by j.linnea


ten little chickens photography

exposures by j.linnea

ten little chickens photography

gettin’ through it

seizures & epilepsy


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

story by  |  tara ekren, essentia health


atching someone, especially a child, have a seizure can be frightening and you may not know what to do or say.

“A seizure in and of itself doesn’t actually hurt a person. However, it will likely disenable a response by the person and exhaust them,” explains Dr. Christopher DeCock, a pediatric neurologist at the Essentia Health-32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo. “By in large, a brief self-resolved seizure is not dangerous.” Dr. DeCock, who is also board certified in treating epilepsy, says there’s a social stigma and negative stereotype around seizures and epilepsy, a disease associated with unprovoked seizures. He sees a need for education and understanding. Not everyone who has a seizure is diagnosed with epilepsy, says Dr. DeCock. A seizure is an event, while epilepsy is a medical condition that produces two or more unprovoked seizures separated by 24 hours. Epilepsy is a neurological disease of the brain.

a seizure is a change in sensation, awareness, or behavior brought about by abnormal discharges in neurons in the brain

A seizure is a change in sensation, awareness, or behavior brought about by abnormal discharges in neurons in the brain, according to the Epilepsy Foundation Minnesota. Normally, neurons carrying electrical impulses form a network allowing communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Neurons “fire” or send electrical impulses toward surrounding cells, stimulating neighboring cells to fire. In people with epilepsy too december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


gettin’ through it many neurons fire at one time, causing an “electrical storm” within the brain. Only one in ten people will have a seizure in their lifetime and only one in 26 people will develop epilepsy. Seizures may happen because of a structural abnormality, metabolic problem, or genetic issue, explains Dr. DeCock. If you think your child might be having a seizure, what should you do? Here’s advice from Dr. DeCock: • Look at your watch and time the seizure. In the moment it’s going to seem much longer than it actually is, and knowing how long the episode lasts is important. • The beginning of a seizure is much more important than the end. Watch what the child is doing. Put him on his left side, if possible. Don’t hold him down and don’t stick anything in his mouth. He cannot swallow and won’t bite off his tongue. If he’s hitting his head on something, place a pillow to prevent harm. • Make sure he is safe and let the seizure resolve on its own. The vast majority of episodes are going to resolve on their own. types of seizures There are two kinds of seizures: provoked and unprovoked. Provoked seizures occur as the result of trauma, low blood sugar, low blood sodium, high fever, or alcohol or drug abuse. Provoked seizures do not increase your risk of future seizures. Unprovoked seizures may occur as the result of a

1st visit



of age!



structural abnormality, metabolic problem, or genetic issue. Two unprovoked seizures separated by 24 hours is the classification for epilepsy.

in people with epilepsy too many neurons fire at one time, causing an “electrical storm” within the brain There are two main types of seizures: generalized and focal. A generalized seizure affects both sides of the brain. Characteristic are a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. This is the image many people have when they think of a person experiencing a seizure. It has two stages: loss of consciousness for ten to 20 seconds followed by muscle convulsions that usually last for less than two minutes. A focal seizure starts in just one side of the brain and will look different based on where the electrical activity is in the brain. Characteristics may include behaviors such as staring, smacking lips, picking at clothing, fumbling, becoming unaware of surroundings, jerking of the face, and wandering. These seizures are brief

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on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

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gettin’ through it and generally last for seconds to less than two minutes. Usually you cannot “snap” a child out of this behavior. diagnosing epilepsy If your child experiences an unprovoked seizure, you may be referred to a pediatric neurologist like Dr. DeCock to have a neurological exam. The evaluation of your child’s nervous system may be done with instruments such as lights and reflex hammers. The doctor will do an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, the patient’s awareness and interaction with the environment, reflexes, and functioning of the nerves. In addition, brain-wave testing with an electroencephalogram or EEG is done. The EEG is a measurement of the electrical activity of the brain measured with an array of electrodes on the scalp. Epilepsy is also based on risk of recurrence. If a patient has one unprovoked seizure and a normal EEG, the risk of recurrence is less than 25 percent; one unprovoked seizure and an abnormal EEG raises the risk of recurrence to 50-60 percent. Two unprovoked seizures 24 hours apart with normal EEG increases the risk to about 50 to 60 while three seizures raise the risk to 70 to 80 percent.

Many people living with epilepsy are able to use medication to manage the condition. While there is no cure for epilepsy or guarantee that it will never come back, it can be considered resolved for individuals who remain seizure-free for ten years and have not used seizure medicines for the past five years. To schedule an appointment with Dr. DeCock, talk with your child’s physician about a referral. To see his full profile, visit and click on “Find a Doctor or Provider”. He is located at Essentia Health on 32nd Avenue. Tara Ekren is a media relations specialist with Essentia Health in Fargo, ND. A member of the marketing and communications team at Essentia, Tara has the privilege of sharing stories about the mission of Essentia Health – to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. No stranger to the medical world, Tara was raised in Langdon, ND, where her dad was the hospital administrator and her mom a nurse. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a few years later landed in Fargo. She has worked in a mix of communications, fundraising, and event management roles during her career. Tara resides in south Fargo with her husband and daughter and loves UND athletics, spending time with family and friends, and golfing.

Rheault Farm | 2902 25th St S

Visit Santa Meet Santa’s Reindeer Make a Holiday Craft Decorate Cookies Chat with Mrs. Claus

Free Admission with donation of a canned food, new or gently used toy, or cash donation


december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms



orn to mom Meg Spielman-Peldo, dad Chuck Hendricks, and big brother Jake, Ben Hendricks lived in Wahpeton, ND, before moving to Fargo. He grew up with a love of playing sports and spending time with family

and friends hunting and fishing. After graduating from Fargo South High in 2003 Ben enrolled at the University of Minnesota, accepting a Track & Field scholarship. After his first year at the U of M, Ben returned to Fargo and joined the NDSU track team and completed his BS in Business Administration. About ten years ago Ben was brought into the family business full-time and is currently the Vice President of Five Star Storage. Since taking the manager reins, Five Star Storage has grown from four facilities throughout Fargo & West Fargo to fourteen facilities from Minneapolis to Dickinson, including seven in the FM area. Married to wife Stephanie [whom he describes as “amazing�] for seven years and proud dad to Josslyn [6] and Wyatt [3], Ben is able to use his knowledge and get his sports fix as an assistant track coach for the Davies High School boys sprinters. Away from work and the track, Ben loves to spend time with family and friends doing a variety of activities and fulfilling his hunting and fishing passions.

photos: ten little chickens photography | renee clasen

ben hendricks

age 34, horace.nd

rad dad

i would describe my childhood as…

my ideal vehicle...

Unique and fortunate. We moved to Fargo just before I turned five. My first birthday in Fargo was at Shakey’s Pizza downtown, I’ll never forget it. My parents separated prior to all of us leaving Wahpeton, and both have been remarried to my amazing step-parents, Patty Hendricks and Greg Peldo. After remarrying, my parents added three more siblings to our big family, Maija [Meg & Greg], Sam, and Will [Chuck & Patty]. What I feel makes our story of a ‘split-household’ unique is how incredibly well our parents worked with one another. I’m very proud of how my parents raised my brother and me, basically making a pact to raise us together. It’s something Jake and I have been most thankful for throughout our lives. My mom and dad made sure that we would ‘buck the trend’ with separated parents. While we were younger we would change homes every two weeks; as we got older and began to drive, we started changing monthly and more at our own discretion. It was quite nice, because when you began to get tired of one parent, it wasn’t long until you went to the other! But in all seriousness, they were a team… but it wasn’t just them on that team, it also included Patty and Greg. To make this work my step-parents needed to be just as supportive and trusting in everyone…and they are. When it came to parentteacher conferences…four chairs were necessary. To this day holidays such as Christmas are routinely spent together. In fact, Chuck and Greg have season tickets together for Bison football and consider each other one of their best friends. Back in the 70s they actually went to NDSU together and knew one another through athletics. Jake and I were truly blessed. I wish and pray more separated families could do what our parents were able to do. We were very fortunate.

RAM 2500 Longhorn Crew Cab…with a horse trailer being pulled behind.

i would love to invent... a laundry-folding machine.

a talent i wish i possessed... the ability to read my wife’s mind…haha, jk… maybe I don’t want to know. I wish I was a better singer and could play guitar or harmonica.

the day i would like to live over... the last day I was able to spend with my Grandma Dorothy in 2008, if I knew at that time it would be my last day with her.

the kid snack i am most likely to eat... Veggie Straws.

my wife and i always make time for... having supper together as a family.

my kiddos would say i’m a good dad because... I enjoy playing with them and making them laugh.

the tv channel i am usually glued to... multiple…ESPN, Midco Sports & Outdoor Channel.

the last time i grocery shopped... too long ago, but I’m great at consuming groceries and taking out the trash!

a family meal i have mastered... elk or venison steaks on the Traeger.

if i could change anything about myself…

the most romantic thing my wife would say i have done… my proposal to her in Yellowstone National Park at the base of a waterfall while out hiking.

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


not to be so critical of myself, I tend to set the bar a little too high at times.

rad dad i want my kids to experience… I really enjoy being able to help introduce them both to the great outdoors along with their mom. They’ve both been ice fishing [Josslyn more being older... I just need to bring enough gummy bears and 7-up along], summer time fishing, shooting bow and arrow in the backyard, etc. Josslyn also came with Steph and I bow hunting a few times last year. She sat in a ground blind with me, I had to re-do her face paint several times before it was just right and like daddy’s! It was such a joy having her along and seeing her excitement and disappointment when turkeys would come by [“turkeys... really? We get turkeys at our house dad...”]. Wyatt wasn’t too impressed being left at home, but his time will certainly come soon too. I also love watching Joss

play sports. She’s currently really excited about hockey, although she’s really good at hoops too! Wyatt will begin sports soon too…I don’t think any of us can wait.

my best quality… a sense of humor.

the best parenting advice i have ever received… ALWAYS make time for your kids, they want our attention more than any happiness a toy can provide. They’re only little one time, enjoy every moment.

if my wife could throw one thing of mine away it would be… maybe some of my old hats.

the one gadget i can’t live without… pocket knife.

i hope my kids know i…

I love them and always want the best for them. But I’m their parent first and friend second.


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

we are


in moms purses B U T M O S T I M P O R TA N T LY


with the most read magazine for parents in the red river valley EMAIL US FOR INFORMATION AT



december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms



connect, find help, get answers, make a difference

Pregnancy, Parenting and Adoption Services [PPAS] The PPAS program provides decision-making counseling, parenting support, and adoption services to those facing unintended pregnancies. For expectant parents who choose to parent their child, PPAS provides resources to help them prepare for their new baby. For more information, call 701.235.4457, email info@, or visit  Post-Adopt Support Group Any ND adoptive family or any ND family providing guardianships is invited to attend this group meeting. If you have questions, please email postadopt@pathinc. org or call 701.551.6349. Visit our website [www.ndpostadopt. org] for meeting times across the state of North Dakota. Jeremiah Program Empowerment. Education. Success. It is what Jeremiah Program was built on, what participants strive for, and what the program helps participants achieve. At Jeremiah Program low-income single mothers make a commitment to completing a post-secondary education, launching a successful career, and creating stability and prosperity for their children—all while living in our affordable, safe, housing environment. For more information, call 701.361.3873, email or visit www.  Hands & Voices Hands & Voices A non-profit, parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing without bias around communication modes or methodology. What Works for your Child is What Makes the Choice Right™ Contact us for more information at 701.484.1605,, or visit www.

Red River Moms of Multiples Second Tuesday of each month. For more information visit Children's Consultation Network Provides access to early childhood mental-health screening, assessment, and consultation, develops and distributes children's mental- health resources, provides community education, seeks to diminish stigma, and facilitates collaborative efforts related to children's mental-health services, especially for children ages 0-8. For more information, 701.526.1565, or  Gigi’s Playhouse A Down-syndrome achievement center providing resources, specialized teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. All programs are free. For more information call 701.551.7529 or visit


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

Parent Professional Learning Network The Parent Professional Learning Network is a Parent Navigator Team with Family Voices of North Dakota. It offers an opportunity for parents of children with special needs and the professionals who work with them to come together to learn and grow. For more information email The Compassionate Friends Second Thursday of each month, 7pm at Faith Lutheran Church [127 2nd Av E, West Fargo]. Offering grief support after the death of a child. For more information email, call 701.491.0364 or visit MOMS Club of Fargo/Moorhead IR, ND Provides monthly activities, playgroups, special projects, and support for local moms. This group is open to moms and their children in the F-M area. For more information contact momscluboffm@gmail. com or visit Harlynn’s Heart Providing multiple services, resources, and comfort to parents, families, and friends who have or will experience perinatal loss. For more information, visit www. or email  Catholic Charities ND Counseling Professional and confidential counselors provide services to individuals, couples, and families dealing with relationship issues, stress or anger management, and a variety of other issues. We work with most insurances, EAP’s, and have a sliding-fee scale for those who don’t qualify for other resources. For more information call 701.235.4457, email, or visit www. Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network Child Caregiver Support Group Every Tuesday from 12pm-1pm at Olivet Lutheran Church [1303 S University Dr, Fargo]. For additional information visit Pregnancy & Infant-Loss Support Group Hospice of the Red River Valley [], in partnership with Harlynn’s Heart [], offers an ongoing pregnancy and infant-loss support group which meets the fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:30pm-8pm at Hospice of the Red River Valley [1701 38th St S, Fargo]. Please use the west door. This is an ongoing support group for anyone who has experienced the death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first year of life. The purpose of this group is to provide compassionate grief support, understanding, and resources to bereaved parents while allowing them to share their grief in a safe place with

resources others who are experiencing a similar journey. This group is free and open to the public. For more information or questions call 800.237.4629 and ask for the bereavement department.

tion contact Kara Woodbury Fladland, LPCC 701.234.4111, or visit cb9a7533-e6f9-41cb-b562-3a7c0fc46f45.

FM Autism Support Group Second Friday of each month from 7pm-9pm at YMCA Downtown [401 1st Av S, Fargo]. For more information visit FM-Autism-Support-Group-171027578792. 

Survivor of Suicide Loss Third Thursday of each month. Provide a safe, accepting, and supportive environment and opportunity to talk openly. For more information contact Mary at 701.219.4110 or 

North Dakota Home-School Association Providing information on the North Dakota home-school law, contacts for area support groups, a free downloadable Home-School Packet, convention information, the current statement-of-intent form, and thoughtful articles on various aspects of private, parent-directed home education. Visit www.homeschool-life. com/nd/ndhsa for more information. 

Birthright Pregnancy testing, counseling, prenatal, and parenting education, maternity and infant clothing, emergency supplies of diapers and formula and labor support. All services are free and confidential. To volunteer or donate contact 218.477.1977 or

HOPE, Inc. Provides a year-round sports and recreation program for children and young adults ages 2-23 with mobility challenges.  We are family-centered and provide extra equipment so the ENTIRE family can play!  Contact Adair at 701.866.9002 or for more information or visit www. Rape & Abuse Crisis Center Crisis intervention, advocacy, and counseling services to all persons who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Volunteer or donate. Call 701.293.7273 or visit Eating Disorders Monthly Family & Friends Support Group If you have a loved one with an eating disorder, you are invited and encouraged to attend this support group dedicated to providing a comfortable, supportive, and confidential environment where you will be provided with information about eating disorders and tools to aid in your loved one’s recovery. This group is open to friends, parents, partners, caregivers, and adult children. Registration: for more informa-

PATH of North Dakota An organization offering a more personalized approach to foster care. For more information www. or 701.293.9968. Gluten Intolerance Group of Fargo/Moorhead GIG of F/M holds gatherings for education, fellowship, and support for those living with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or Gluten Sensitivity. You do not need to be a paid member of this group to attend any meetings. For more information visit localbranches/fargo-moorhead/?state_id=333. MOMS Club of West Fargo Offers support, activities, and friendship for moms who work at home full or part time. For more information visit or email For more listings, visit To submit a group or resource for consideration to be posted on our website, email information to OTMOM does its best to keep information accurate, but organizations are responsible for providing updated information. It is always a good idea to call ahead to confirm the information provided.

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


difference maker

laura sokolofsky

story by  |  sheri kleinsasser stockmoe


chool has only been in session a few short weeks. Today she found a small window of time to duck into her office and check email. There are lots of students, lots of demands, and many days where the hours fly by. The work isn’t easy, but on this day her inbox offered validation that the hard stuff is worth it. Validation that she’s making a difference.

photos: ten little chickens photography | renee clasen

difference maker A Fargo North alum, Laura Sokolofsky received her elementary education degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She began working for the Fargo Public School district in 1999, beginning as a first-grade teacher before moving to fourth grade. “My second year teaching I decided to get my master's in counseling,” Laura says. “As a teacher I just felt like having knowledge in counseling would make me a better teacher, and it could be something to do different in the future.” As she reached the end of her course work in the school counseling master's program at NDSU, Laura needed to leave her classroom for a semester to complete an internship. “An opportunity became available at Jefferson Elementary,” Laura shares. At the time, one full-time counselor was splitting time between two schools. The district was looking to place a counselor at each school. It was perfect timing. Laura would take the full-time position at Jefferson and use it as her internship.

year move in or leave. It's a challenge for me and our teachers to meet the needs they come to us with.” As a school counselor, Laura’s job involves doing lessons in the classroom focused on developing social skills, emotional skills, problem solving, and empathy, to name a few. She also conducts small-group lessons based on need, as well as individual sessions. With the diversity of her students and their differing life experiences, Laura has had to ask herself, “How do I help kids who have a very different experience than what I knew growing up?” she shares. “As a counselor, you're needed—socially, emotionally, even just providing resources. I quickly learned that I’m one person and I can’t do it all. I was starting to build my counseling program.” The common theme in all Laura does for her school and students is based on building relationships.

“She’s the most approachable person you will ever come upon,” Laura’s husband of 15 years Brian says. “She is kind and welcoming to everyone she meets. Her smile is so welcoming and un-judging.  Once you meet her, you come away feeling a genuine care, as if you made That was in 2003…and Laura has been there ever sense. a new friend. She is beautiful inside and out.”

“It was a great experience,” Laura says of the opportunity to be a full-time counselor during her internship. “I was doing the job—sink or swim!”

At the end of her internship she had to decide if she would return to the classroom or stay in counseling. “I'd just begun my teaching career and I loved teaching, but there was something very special about counseling,” Laura says. “Personally, I had gone through a lot of stress in those very same years while completing my master’s. Having my first child, teaching, being in Grad School, going through heartbreak and divorce. My son was one year old when I divorced my first husband. Something brought me to Jefferson for a reason and I started to see what I could do for the kids.” eyes opened “Living in Fargo my whole life, growing up in a middle-class home, I don't remember seeing poverty the way I see it now in my school,” Laura shares. “I have really learned a lot being at Jefferson. We have about 350 students and there's a whole world there with kids from different countries speaking about 30 different languages and we're over a 70% poverty rate, which is very high for a Fargo school. We also have a lot of kids moving in and out of our school. About 30%, over a hundred kids a 36

on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

“Some students have lived through traumas and adverse childhood experiences like poverty challenges and conditions, homelessness, witnessing violence, parent incarceration, sometimes drug use which contributes to neglect. I also want to make a disclaimer that these issues can be seen at any school in our area," Laura explains. “There is so much that they've been through that it can be hard to build a relationship with them. They push people away. They don't trust grown-ups. That's where we at Jefferson work really hard at building relationships. We've been able to grow other services, and I've been able to be an advocate,” Laura says. Laura has been able to enlist the services of a Check and Connect mentor [with the help of United Way and CHARISM] to help with attendance issues and identify the barriers keeping students from school. She has worked with a team at school and the Great Plains Food Bank to provide food bags each Friday. Her PE teacher graciously gave up part of his equipment room to house the Caring Closet, which consists of shoes donated by the Fargo Marathon, as well as other clothes such as winter jackets and snow pants. And Laura grew the Lunch Buddy program. more than a meal

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


difference maker

Thorough the Adopt-a-School program, which matches local participating businesses with schools, the City of Fargo and Jefferson Elementary were matched. City of Fargo employees from departments including City Assessor’s Office, Health Department, Solid Waste, City Library, Forestry, Fire and Police Departments, Environmental Department, Information Technology, and the Mayor’s Office have the opportunity to volunteer at Jefferson Elementary. “When I started we had eight to ten City of Fargo employees participating in the Lunch


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

Buddy program,” Laura says. The Lunch Buddy program is a mentoring opportunity where a City of Fargo employee is matched with a Jefferson student. Laura identifies the students most in need. She then interviews interested volunteers to make appropriate matches. “These kids need someone to talk to. They needed positive adult one-on-one attention. They needed to play games, but they also learn social skills like how to follow the rules, lose with sportsmanship, have a conversation, make a compromise etc. That is

lessons from her difference greatest maker race what we were looking for in who might be in the program and how our volunteers can help by simply giving that student positive attention,” Laura says. Lunch Buddys come once a week for 40 minutes over lunch. “It's really successful,” Laura proudly says. “We have seen wonderful matches and connections and kids truly change. That's what's magical. To the grownup, they're just coming and eating lunch, talking, and playing games. But for the student it can be so much more.” Jefferson currently has over 40 Lunch Buddy volunteers.

City of Fargo employee Chris Rose has been a volunteer with the Lunch Buddy program for four years. “They are always happy to see you,” Chris says of her weekly lunch date. “I enjoy teaching kids about different traditions and doing crafts. Just being there actually changes the child’s entire week, which makes it even more rewarding.” Chris also sees the happiness the program brings Laura. “She likes seeing the magic in kids’ eyes with everything she does, which I think is why she continues this program.” Chris shares. “She is helping make a difference one lunch at a time.”

lunch. “it's really successful,”

giving more Over the years Laura has seen a growing need to share her knowledge with the community, as well as fellow teachers and counselors. She’s been a parent facilitator for Parenting with Love and Logic and is also a trauma trainer for the school district and the state of North Dakota.

laura proudly says. “we have

“She’s very generous with her time,” Laura’s friend Jenifer Schempp says. “She is a loving and caring person.”

lunch buddys come once a week for 40 minutes over

seen wonderful matches and connections and kids truly change. that's what's magical.” “And the Big Brother, Big Sister program has joined us and volunteer at Madison Elementary, which brings our total to almost 60, which is amazing!” Laura says.

Laura has also partnered with Amy Riccio, a school social worker for Fargo Schools, and Cindy Johnson, a former school counselor at the middle-school level and current private-practice clinical counselor, to create a business called Hope for Educators. “We do professional development for schools and teacher trainings,” Laura explains. “We've worked with a lot with childcares, the YMCA, Head Start, teaching them about trauma, how to help kids calm down, social emotional skills, but then also discuss things like ADHD.” When does she fits this in along with her husband and two kids [Jack, 17, and Ellie, 14]? “Nights, days off of school, weekends, summer,” she says with a smile. “I enjoy speaking, I enjoy teaching, I enjoy sharing what I know. I am always trying to get more information for myself and apply it. That is a passion as well. It is very rewarding to be able to work with teachers.”

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


“I've seen attendance be better on the day their Lunch Buddy's coming. I've seen positive mood changes, I have seen them connect to another positive adult at school, because that's what we want, a positive connection to school,” Laura says. “I've seen them be able to invite friends to play a game with them and their Lunch Buddy her day and play with peers with no fighting, no trouble. Just “One of the best days of my life was Super Sokolofsky all those skills that kids don't always do well with on Day at Jefferson,” Laura says of the day the school their own. These kids are truly grateful to this grownup for just showing up. It's not about gifts, it's not about celebrated her being named the 2012 North Dakota Counselor of the Year. what this person gives me, it's about this person, this grownup, coming to school just for me.” All the students wore Super Sokolofsky badges for the day, made signs, drew pictures, and decorated her

difference maker office door. “There was a presentation and they gave me flowers and we had donuts. My favorites!” Laura remembers. “It was a really special day.” Having his wife be recognized as Counselor of the Year is no surprise to Brian. “What makes Laura good at her job is her drive and passion for what she does and her love for others,” he proudly says. “She cares for others and her job isn't a job; it’s a passion, a calling.”

While most days her accomplishments aren’t so celebrated, there are victories every day…and struggles.

“Sometimes you can feel like you are never catching up,” Laura acknowledges. “It’s the next phone call, the next visitor, the next this, the next that. If all I'm ever doing is the next, when do I have time to work on any of it? It really can get overwhelming.” So she does her best to prioritize, triage tasks, and makes lists. “I need a lot of things in writing,” Laura says. “I could be walking with my box to go to do a lesson and I might get stopped by a couple people with things they need to tell me. Rather than me trying to 40

on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

remember every conversation, I ask the staff to put things in writing and get it to me. Then I can formulate a plan or we can schedule time to discuss more and I can determine how I can specifically help. Also, I know I'm not a miracle worker; there's only so much a school counselor can do.” Laura has also developed tips to help her manage the stress and demands of her career. “When you are in a caretaker role, you usually put yourself last,” Laura says. “That happens not only in my job but as a mom. I have learned I need to carve in time for me. When can I

work out, what can I do during my day for me? I've tried to be more mindful of things for myself —breathing, stretching, and yoga for me. I get a massage once a month, chiropractic adjustments once a month. When I get stuck on things, I have a journal next to my bed to get things out in my head, goals, to-do lists, blah blah blah. Or things that are bugging me, things that I'm stewing on. Self-care is actually something I'm going to be teaching in my next training session for Fargo Schools. So many educators are feeling the workload, the overload, the burn out, the fatigue, because there

difference maker are too many demands. It is an impossible job. You have to have limits of ‘what can I really get done?’ Brian knows some of the issues his wife deals with and he is continually amazed by her ability to deal with those things and still be an incredible wife and parent. “She has an unbelievable ability to handle some of the most stressful, emotionally trying issues and still come home, smile, give us hugs and kisses, and be the rock to us all,” he gushes.

I feel like it’s the right time. The reason for that is because she put so much emphasis on education and it stuck with me. Having someone like her gave me so much hope for my future, she gave me the time and the attention that I needed. Playing board games, helping with my homework, playing outside and giving me advice on how to handle bullies, she’s

if your cup is empty, you

Laura is quick to point out that she has tough days too. “There are kids that weigh on my mind that I wish I could just adopt, but I can't,” Laura says. “It hurts my heart. I can see the light in these kids, and what they could be, their potential. I have to reframe myself, and ask what can I do? how can I help? And that's all I can do.”

cannot pour into others

“I also use doors to help me,” Laura explains. “When I shut the door of my office, when I shut the door of the school, when I shut the door of my car, I'm just getting one more door closer to being a mom and letting go. I sometimes don't bring home my bag home on purpose or I don't take it out of the car on purpose if I know I just don’t have it in me to do it tonight. You have to take care of yourself! The phrase that always sticks with me, ‘If your cup is empty, you cannot pour into others and help others.’ You have to keep your cup full.”

the reason I feel beautiful and have such confidence in life. The things she taught me I took with me to middle and high school. I even use it as an adult. She gave me so much love so you can image what happened when she had to leave me but I’m glad the program gave her to me or else I wouldn’t have learned the things I did: recycling, being a good person, and how important education is. I still think about her even now as an adult! That’s how big of an impact she had on me. I sincerely hope you guys keep the program going. I feel like this program saved me in a way and I know other kids could benefit from it.

the reason “I cared about kids,” Laura says of the legacy she hopes to leave. “I tried to do as much as I could for them, the whole child, and that even one person can do a lot, can impact a lot.”

and help others.

Laura can only smile as she recalls her former student’s email. “That is a really cool after-effect that sometimes you don't see,” Laura says about the big impact of the small things done through the Lunch Buddy program. That impact was solidified this past September afternoon “It seems small, but to some kids it's exactly what they with an email out of the blue from a former student. don't get.” The student was getting married and wanted to invite Laura continues to match Lunch Buddies, grow her her Lunch Buddy, Fargo City employee Angela. She also counseling program, teach others what she has learned, had more to share… and simply do what she can to help kids.

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


I just wanted to write to you about how much the lunch buddy “I don't feel like I do anything spectacular,” Laura says program changed my life. Knowing I had someone who was as she shrugs her shoulders. “I'm not someone that has there for me on Tuesdays to eat with me and be all about me a lot of money to give, but I most certainly will give was the greatest thing ever. I didn’t have any friends at all my time and my effort, and I'll help how I can. That while going to school there and my home life wasn’t great as is what I've learned in my position at Jefferson. I can well. She was a beacon of light in my life, she taught me to be help. I can build relationships, I can try to do some patient, kind, caring, and treat everyone equal. Angela is the positives, I can try to meet needs, I can try to help the reason for who I am today. I also believe she helped me get a family get connected to resources. There is always a little ahead in life with all she taught me. I’m doing the best way I am able to help.” out of my siblings because I was persistent with graduating, even though I’m not in college now I have plans on going when There’s always a way to make a difference.

ready, set, grow

story by  |  sheri kleinsasser stockmoe


s soon as you become a mamma—well, actually, the minute you find out you’re going to be a mamma—you become increasingly interested in milestones and benchmarks and when junior is “supposed to” do whatever. Through the years there are lots of firsts. Some firsts are natural, expected, and celebrated while other firsts are more comparable to a train wreck that you’d prefer to believe only happens to someone else’s kiddo! Some firsts can be challenging for kiddo and mama alike! Here are some firsts along the ever-winding, sometimes bumpy, road of mommyhood…buckle your seatbelt!

1firsts st

ready, set, grow

a 2017 survey revealed 41% of parents spend at least $1,000 on babysitting, and 22% spend at least $2,000, annually

wee ones [0–18 months]


ou’re getting the hang of this whole mama gig. You’re functioning on less sleep than normal, showering on a semi-regular basis, and tackling laundry duty, which has seemed to double with the entry of this tiny person into your fold. Honey, you deserve a night out, but leaving your wee one with someone else for the first time can be a scary thought. The “what if” scenarios can overwhelm you: what if the sitter can’t get him to stop crying…what if I don’t get any cell service in the movie theater…what if a massive sinkhole immerges in the yard and I can’t get home before it swallows the house…what if…what if…WHAT IF?! Luckily, the odds of your wee one being completely safe while you are


on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

gone are in your favor. So as you set out on some adult time away, remember: • baby steps Don’t be surprised if you expected leaving your wee one with a sitter was going to be a piece of cake and now you’d rather pull out your eye lashes with a tweezer! Yes, leaving the first time can be really hard, but it does get easier. Start with a short time away and work your way up. And how old should your wee one be before you leave him with a sitter? When you’re ready to leave him with a sitter is the right time. • list it out Nowadays you might need a to-do list to remember to brush your teeth! So it’s okay to leave one for the sitter. It will help ease your mind knowing you properly informed your sitter how to take care of the most precious gift ever! Also, while you are away, it’s totally fine to call and check in… as often as you like! • fun encouraged Lastly, it is allowable for you to enjoy yourself away from your wee one. Yes, you will be thinking about home and what is happening there, but, really, try to enjoy yourself. You deserve it!

several research studies have found that kiddos born first tend to do better in school throughout childhood, and some have even reported having a higher IQ than kiddos born later

ready, set, grow


[18 months–3 years]


es, kiddos are hard work. But aren’t they great? Maybe you’re not there yet but odds are that at some point you are going say to yourself, “I think I’m ready for another.” But what about your tot? #2 on the docket So that wee one has become a tot and you’re starting to think about adding to your brood. The hours of labor, endless sleepless nights, sore nipples, and spit-up stained shirts are faded memories…for the most part! But this time around you can’t just worry about you. You have to worry about how this little person, currently the center of the universe under your roof, is going to make this transition and become a fabulous sibling. Help your tot welcome baby with open arms: • here’s what’s comin’ Talk about the new baby and what your tot can expect. The baby is going to cry, need his diaper changed, eat, and sleep. • the big kahuna Being a big brother/sister is a big deal so make sure you reinforce how important this role is going to be.

• movin’ on up If your tot is currently sleeping in the crib you plan to use with the new baby, make sure you transition him to a new bed well in advance of baby’s arrival. You don’t want the tot thinking the baby stole his bed! • his say Let your tot pick out items for the new baby. This gives him some control. Once baby has arrived, carve out some time for just you and your tot. He used to have all of your attention, so give him some extra now when you can.

Make sure you receive important school district information. Register your pre-kindergarten child at and select Community Census or call 218-284-3400.

Your Family Counts! BE COUNTED! december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


Moving Forward Together

ready, set, grow

in 1939 Clark Gable uttering the memorable line, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," in the film Gone with the Wind, landed the producers a $5,000 fine. Today? Not so much!

preschoolers [3–5 years]


can still remember my beautiful little 3-year-old building her block tower on the living room floor. She was in her own world building away, making sure each level was its own color. The tower got taller and taller and then too tall…over it went. My precious princess hit the floor with both hands and yelled, “OH, SH#@!” What?! That potty mouth can’t be my daughter! i swear! Our preschoolers are continually building their vocabularies and sometimes bad words can also enter their repartee. It’s important to remember that your preschooler probably doesn’t even know the meaning of these words or phrases. Your preschooler won’t know

Ages s6 week rs a e y 4 1

Parents’ Night Out December 15 | January 19 | February 16 Your kiddos will have a BLAST swimming, climbing, playing gym games, and more while you take a well-deserved break! Healthy meal is included! Learn more: 46

on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

anything is wrong with what he said until you react. Here are some tips to make sure your little sailor rights his potty-mouth ways: • remain calm No word has power until you give it power by reacting, so don’t over react. Be very casual when you address bad-word usage. Simply tell him what he said and that it could make someone feel bad or uncomfortable and that he won’t want that. Then leave it at that. No need to draw too much attention to a bad behavior. • try this Now that you have calmly explained the not-so-good about the bad word[s] used, offer your preschooler some alternative options that deliver the same message. When you hear him use these alternatives, be sure to give it some positive attention. • or else For the really bad words, determine the consequence for using them and let your preschooler know in a calm, firm voice what happens if he does it again. Then be ready to enforce it! • who me Yeah, you! Watch what’s coming out of your mouth. You can’t freak out about your preschooler saying whatever if it consistently comes out of your mouth. Clean it up!

female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and up to 500 in a lifetime

ready, set, grow

big kids [6–9 years]


he friend sleepover is a rite of passage, but there is no magical age for the first one to occur. Every child is different and you need to be comfortable too. If your big kid is begging to sleep over and is a pretty flexible kid, he’s probably ready. But if he is more cautious and doesn’t seem “all in,” don’t push it. A parent-driven sleepover could end badly. When your big kid is ready, here are some tips to make that first of many sleepovers a success: • talk it out A play date is all well and good until the sun goes down. It can get a little scary at someone else’s house. If your big kid seems reluctant to accept a sleepover invitation, you need to do your best Sherlock Holmes impression and determine what his concerns are. It could be as simple as worrying about what will be for dinner or where exactly he will sleep. • it’s ok Reassure your big kid that he can call you anytime he wants or needs you. Also let him know it is perfectly okay if he wants to come home or stay until morning.

• act it out Do some role planning with your big kid on scenarios that might come up. What if he wets the bed, has a bad dream, or doesn’t like what’s for dinner? Make sure you ease your mama concerns too. If you aren’t familiar with the family hosting the sleepover, ask questions. What will they be doing, are there older siblings, when is bed time? Any other reasonable mama is going to be completely comfortable with your questions.


Call 701-373-7114

december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


ready, set, grow

homework researcher Harris Cooper of Duke University recommends kiddos being assigned roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level

tweeners [10–12 years]


our tweener loves school, never causes problems in the classroom, studies hard and is the model “student of the month.” Right? But wait, what is this? It can’t be! He got an F? Not my tweener! pass it on You want nothing more than for your tweener to be successful. There are lots of changes for your emerging young adult and you want him to be great at everything he does, but school better stay in the forefront. So what do you do when he isn’t doing well in school and brings home a failing grade? First, you want to act fast and make sure you nip in the bud the culprit[s] of his slipping

Helping to


what matters



Home • Auto • Business • Farm • Health • Life 48

on the minds of moms | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen

grades. Here are some tips to help you do just that: • what’s goin’ on First, talk to your tweener. Is there anything going on that you don’t know about? Is he having trouble with only one subject? Then talk to the teacher[s]. His teachers will be able to tell you of any problems in the classroom, if he is turning in assignments, or missing classes. You can’t try to fix the problem until you know what is broken. • stay the course Take a look at your homework and study routine. Maybe things need to be reworked. There are lots of things to distract your tweener, from TV to video games to time with friends. Make sure he is getting his work done and limit the distractions. • a little help Offer your help with homework and studying, but let’s face it, you might not be enough. Consider getting your tweener some extra help. Hire a tutor and give your tweener every advantage to get back on track. • outside the classroom If your tweener’s grades have taken a sudden down-turn, the cause could be something outside the classroom. His failing grade could be a warning sign of another issue.

Research shows that romantic-relationship breakups are the leading cause of psychological distress

ready, set, grow

teens [13–18years]


h, isn’t it cute? Your teen has his first real girlfriend. Yes, your teen dating can be a bit scary, but you have gotten through that. The problem with the first girlfriend and first love is that it’s typically followed by [dah…dah…daaahhh] the first break up! Can you and your teen survive? when it ends I found this great quote by Benjamin Disraeli [a novelist and British Prime Minister in the 1800s], “The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.” How true! This new-found love for your teen is so exciting and they just have so much in common and, well, they are “in love.” Of course, with your years of wisdom and love lost and gained, being a teen in love can create a big ol’ eye roll. On the rollercoaster of young love, there are going to be some downs. Here are some tips to help your teen pick up his crushed, stomped on, shattered heart: • seriously? Yes, you might have known this relationship had no chance of lasting, but it was very real to your teen, whether it lasted a few weeks, months, or years. Take his or her feelings seriously, and be compassionate.

• remember when Try to remember that you were that young teen not too long ago and be a sounding board when he needs you. Now, we are talking about a teen, so don’t be so surprised when his actions seem a bit irrational or overly dramatic. • been there Yes, there are stories of high-school sweethearts being together forever, but if you aren’t one of them, share your experience with love when your teen is open to it. First love can be very intense, but letting your teen know there is more love out there can be very comforting. • lessons learned Every tragedy offers a lesson to be learned. Once the wound isn’t so fresh and some of the grief has worn off, help your teen see the lesson in this situation.

Sources: | | | | | december • january  twenty eighteen-nineteen | on the minds of moms


there is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. —George Stand

photos: exposures by j.linnea | josette hayes


Becoming a mother is an experience like no other, and at Sanford Women’s we are here to help make it the best experience possible. We provide expert care before, during and after pregnancy allowing you to choose the options that are right for you. We offer: • Pregnancy appointments starting at eight weeks • B4Baby education, birth designers and doulas • The delivery option and provider you want • The region’s only maternal fetal medicine specialist

To learn more, visit 035000-00502 9/18

OTMOM December 2018.January 2019  

the valley's modern resource for today's parent

OTMOM December 2018.January 2019  

the valley's modern resource for today's parent