Page 1

’cause

parenting is a trip!

KEEP CALM AND PARENT ON Dr. Laura Kastner

MARCH 7

SEE PAGE 31

MONEY MATTERS: CREATE A SIMPLE FAMILY FINANCIAL PLAN PAGE 22

10 wallet-wise ways to cover the baby basics 10

OH, SNAP! CHERRY BLOSSOM PHOTO OPS

TOP TIPS FOR BUDDING PHOTOPOPS AND MOMTOGS 29

‘HEY, MOM, WHERE DID I COME FROM?’

Exploring family genealogy with kids of all ages 35

MARCH 2019

inside!

CRIB NOTES: $AVE, BABY, $AVE!


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inside , cause parenting is a trip!

MARCH 2019 The Money Issue

Feature 22 M  ONEY

MATTERS

Plan for your family’s financial future with our expert-informed checklist

Parenting

6  DEAR READER Forget grit: Teach your kid to be scrappy

8  BEYOND TOLERANCE Skills for life — how sports build cooperation and community

24 W  HERE THERE’S

A WILL

A practical guide to the who, what, why, when and how of drafting a will

10 CRIB NOTES

Stop by the Ann P. Wyckoff Education Resource Center the next time you’re at our downtown location and find fun and engaging art experiences for families! We’re open Wednesday–Saturday, 10 am–2 pm.

10 wallet-wise ways to save on all the baby basics

16 IT STARTS WITH YOU(TH)

Meet youth activist Aarushi Sahai

18 WELLNESS

READING AREA

How new parents can keep prediabetes in check

35 AGES + STAGES: 5–99

38

We’ve paired a children’s book with a work of art in the museum to amplify your art appreciation.

38 PARENT DAY JOBS

Meet the chef behind the ‘cooking scrappy’ revolution

20 M  ARCH CALENDAR 29 S  PRING PHOTO

SHOOTS

9 momtog tips for great cherry blossom photos COVER PHOTO BY JIAYING GRYGIEL

This cozy nook is full of children’s books that can be checked out and taken home!

GALLERY READS

Exploring family genealogy with kids of all ages

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note

KEEP CALM AND PARENT ON Dr. Laura Kastner

MARCH 7

Forget grit: Teach your kid to be scrappy SEE PAGE 31

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he Hall & Oates hit “Rich Girl,” unbeknownst to many, refers to a fast food heir who lived off his (yes, his — songwriter Hall thought “Rich Boy” didn’t sound as good) father’s fortune, immune to facing consequences for his actions because his rich daddy would buy him out of all of his troubles. All parents, no matter their economic status, face the “old man’s money” syndrome to some extent. Money can liberate us with great economic freedoms, while also challenging us to raise kids who understand and appreciate the value of hard work. What problems do we as parents agree to shoulder, and which should we not? You may be thrilled to drive sweetie-pie and her friends here and there and everywhere, loving the pleasure of their company and revealing chatter, but navigating public transportation boosts an extraordinary array of social and emotional skills they won’t develop in mama’s limo service. We are obligated to teach our children essential skills — like being scrappy rather than frivolous — that will allow them to survive independently and without our help when the need arises. It is a rare family that is unburdened by financial anxieties, and our first experience of parenting sticker shock often happens when we bring our new, beautiful baby home. Suddenly, we are thrust into a necessity-induced and society-stoked consumption phase of life, woefully underprepared to grasp the complexities of a new balance sheet that spans from cradle to college — and possibly beyond! Crib Notes: $ave, Baby, $ave (p.10) provides thrifty tips and tricks for saving a bundle on your little bundle in the early years. Seattle native son Joel Gamoran will tell you that being scrappy — and cooking scrappy — can make you happy! As national chef for kitchen retailer Sur La Table (launched in its flagship Pike Place Market location one year after Starbucks opened, in 1972), this gregarious, plaid-wearing host of the television series “Scraps” and author of the new cookbook “Cooking Scrappy: 100 Recipes to Help You Stop Wasting Food, Save Money, and Love What You Eat” is at the forefront of the zero-waste, food-scrap cooking revolution (Parent Day Jobs, p.38). Over your next deliciously “scrappy” meal, consider sharing your fiscal memories, fears and values with your partner and ask them to share theirs. Money can be a hot-button topic, but approaching the subject with this type of loving inquiry can reduce stress and help you develop a shared money mindset that will shape your family’s financial future (Money Matters, p.22).

“ . . . being scrappy — and cooking scrappy — can make you happy!”


ParentMap

WASHINGTON’S BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF SPRING!

March 2019, Vol. 17, No. 3 PUBLISHER/EDITOR Alayne Sulkin

EDITORIAL

INTERIM MANAGING EDITOR Patty Lindley OUT + ABOUT EDITOR Nancy Chaney DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Vicky McDonald DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

Nicole Persun

CHE SEHYUN PHOTOGRAPHY

OUT + ABOUT EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Dora Heideman

COPY EDITOR Sunny Parsons CONTRIBUTORS

Nancy Schatz Alton, Melissa Benaroya, JiaYing Grygiel, Malia Jacobson, Aurélie McKinstry, Nicole Persun, Megan Wright

DIGITAL MARKETING DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

Connecting parents to build a loving community of families of color JOIN our FOCS Parent Groups, monthly events and resource sharing

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Lindsey Carter

SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST + TRENDING EDITOR

Diana Cherry

MARKETING AND OPERATIONS ASSISTANT

Maureen Taasin

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ADVERTISING SALES + PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER, ADVERTISING SALES AND PARTNERSHIPS

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AD OPERATIONS MANAGER Elisa Taylor ADVERTISING CLIENT SERVICES SPECIALIST

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Go Outside and Play!

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ALL SPORTS INVENTORY

BUSINESS ANALYST Carolyn Brendel

PARENTMAP EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Benjamin Danielson, M.D.

ODESSA BROWN CHILDREN’S CLINIC

Joan Duffell COMMITTEE FOR CHILDREN John Gottman, Ph.D. THE GOTTMAN INSTITUTE PROFESSOR EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Laura Kastner, Ph.D.

PSYCHIATRY + BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MINDSIGHT INSTITUTE ADVERTISING INFORMATION

206-709-9026 or advertising@parentmap.com Fax 206-709-9031 CALENDAR SUBMISSIONS

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editor@parentmap.com DISTRIBUTION distribution@parentmap.com SUBSCRIPTIONS subscriptions@parentmap.com

ParentMap is published monthly PMB #190, 7683 SE 27th St. Mercer Island, WA 98040 ADMINISTRATION 206-709-9026, parentmap.com SUBSCRIPTION RATES 1 year: $24; 2 years: $40

All rights reserved; reproduction in whole or part without permission prohibited ©ParentMap 2019 • Printed in Oregon

SPRING INTO6/1/15 ACTION

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beyond tolerance

How Sports Build Cooperation and Community Fewer kids are playing youth sports By Malia Jacobson

As a coach, what’s the biggest shift in the culture of youth sports that you’ve noticed in recent years? Sports have become hypercompetitive and more adultcentered. As elite programs have come in and taken over, you see younger kids competing and trying to win championships — really, to win them for adults. While there is a time and a place for that kind of competition, it comes after the kids have had the chance to discover the joy of the game and what they want to do. 8 • March 2019 • parentmap.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF WATTS BASKETBALL

A

s a star 3-point shooter who led the University of Washington Huskies to two NCAA tournaments in the late ’90s, Donald Watts knows a thing or two about intense athletic competition and the importance of strong technical skills. But it’s the skills that translate off the court — such as teamwork, cooperation and self-awareness — that matter most for youth athletes, he says. This year, fewer kids will reap the rewards of athletics. A Sports & Fitness Industry Association report shows that youth sports participation is down 8 percent compared to 10 years ago, when nearly half of kids participated in sports. This trend is about more than kids building physical skills, says Watts, son of Seattle SuperSonics player Slick Watts and owner of Watts Basketball, an organization offering youth camps, classes and coaching. According to Watts, declining sports participation means that more kids will miss out on developing important social and emotional skills, such as behavioral regulation and handling feedback from others. Now the parent of two teen athletes, Watts views sports play as an opportunity for kids to build important skills they might not get elsewhere. Keeping more kids in the game may mean updating our views on coaching, competition and athletic skill. He notes: “Sports are a reflection of where we are as a society, and they can help move us forward.” Here, Watts weighs in on how families can get kids back on the court, field or turf.

How can sports help kids build life skills like communication, cooperation and self-advocacy? We know that social media isn’t teaching our kids real social skills. But what kids are getting online is immediate feedback. Sports offer kids that kind of immediate feedback about performance from coaches and peers, which helps them develop a healthy self-awareness about their performance. They get to learn how to change their performance and how those changes impact others around them. Built into that is conflict resolution, doing things for the greater good and connecting to a peer group in a real way. How can parents find sports programs that emphasize lifelong skill building and community values over competition? Parents should know they’re in control; they get to decide what to invest in for their kids. And when you invest in something, you do research. Go have a trial session or observe a class or practice, and see how the coach treats the team. Think about what you and your child want out of the experience; if you’re looking to try something new or help burn off some energy, don’t choose an elite competitive team. Keep your own family values in mind and make sure the team’s values are in line with them. With my children, I want to know that a coach is going

to teach them, not scream at them. I want to know that a coach has a vision for them and supports each player. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association report shows that children from households earning less than $100K are less likely to participate in team sports. What’s behind the economic divide?

As sports get more competitive and expensive at younger ages, families have to make choices about how they’re going to invest their resources. Creating better sports partnerships with schools and community programs helps make sports available to kids at a younger age. Foundations and nonprofits can help families in a position of need; the Watts Foundation offers scholarships, and we need community support to be able to do that. We also need to keep youth sports in the proper perspective, as far as winning and losing, and that’s hard when families are spending so much money on sports in grade school. For young kids, we shouldn’t worry so much about how many points they’re scoring. We’ve seen that if we invest in certain skill sets and develop those over time, those kids can go on to have great high school careers. And that means we’re not so concerned about winning a championship in sixth grade. n Malia Jacobson is an award-winning journalist and mom of three.

Beyond Tolerance In 2019, ParentMap is dedicating consistent thoughtful coverage to cultivating tolerance. We will rally partners and experts to help us deliver practical and powerful tools, perspectives and tips to parents and educators for teaching empathy, equity, acceptance, respect and inclusion to our children.


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all about baby Find Your Village Being a new parent can be really isolating, but baby, we’ve got your back. ALLI ARNOLD

Notes

Sign up for our weekly eNews for the best in outings and advice, ’cause parenting is a trip!

From Recent Research to Gaga Gear

$ave, Baby, $ave! 10 wallet-wise ways to bring up baby By ParentMap Editors and Readers

N

ew parenthood affects people in many wonderful and dramatic ways, from the heart-stopping sight of that positive home pregnancy test and the heart-squeezing love you feel for your

new little bundle to the less than delightful challenges of sleep deprivation and death by laundry. And then there’s the impact on family finances. Suddenly, you have many brand-new expenses (hello, child care!) and zero

h

parentmap.com/enews

5. Shop secondhand. When you can’t find gear for free, buy it used. In addition to Value Village and Goodwill, shop Craigslist and local familyoriented consignment or secondhand shops. Put yourself on the Jack & Jill list (thejackandjillsale.com) to get word of its giant consignment sales, held several times a year and offering loads of affordable baby and kid gear and clothing. For a list of readers’ favorite secondhand shops, check out parentmap.com/consignment.

6. Thrifty Northwest Mom’s website (thriftynorthwestmom.com) offers family-friendly saving tips on everything from diapers to vacations, as well as printable coupons for local deals. Discover more sales, bargains and tips on cute gear and clothes at Seattle Moms Deal Finder

time to look for ways to offset the sticker shock.

(seattlemomsdealfinder.com).

With the help of our readers, we’ve scoured the internet and other sources

7. Petty larceny on baby’s behalf is fun (and perfectly legal) at BabySteals

to present 10 pocketbook-friendly websites and tips for saving on all the baby basics.

1. Get free stuff! Join a local Buy Nothing Facebook group (buynothingproject.org), where you can post wants and needs, browse items up for grabs and donate goods you’d like to get out of the house. Bonus: You’ll get to know your neighbors in the process!

2. If you can, go with reusable diapers, which can save you $1,000 or

more over the diaper-changing years. Local services such as Baby Diaper Service (babydiaperservice.net) make it simple.

3. No crib? No problem. A previously owned Pack ’n Play with a specially fitted extra pad is a great and inexpensive substitute for a crib, and it saves space, too. (Safety first: Always check for recalls and follow manufacturer recommendations!)

4. Save on groceries by making your own baby food, a process that

(baby.steals.com), and for older kids at KidSteals (kid.steals.com).

8. Frugal Living NW (frugallivingnw.com) is a one-stop shop for deals, sales and ideas for practical and frugal living in the Pacific Northwest. The site posts details of sales from major retailers, promotes local businesses and rounds up coupons that you can use.

9. Reuse, then resell. Babies grow quickly, so you’ll be able to sell your

baby’s things on Craigslist or eBay before you know it. Cribs and high

chairs hold up especially well and would be a sad sight in a landfill. Look at you, eco-superstar!

10. Wear, return, repeat. Mamas-to-be can be stylish and not break

the bank by renting maternity wear from Le Tote (letote.com/maternity), a subscription-based fashion rental service that provides unlimited access to clothes, mailed for a flat monthly charge. New kid on the block Relovable (relovable.com) is a Seattle-area subscription service that delivers gently used kids clothing to your door and packs away all the togs and gear your little has outgrown to redistribute to other families. Genius!

can be as simple as mashing an avocado or microwaving a sweet potato. Find tips and ideas for traditional weaning and baby-led weaning at

Feeling the rush of saving so much money? Check out our full list of 120

parentmap.com/babyfood.

ways to save at parentmap.com/save.

10 • March 2019 • parentmap.com


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parentmap.com • March 2019 • 11


S C H O O L S

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Become.

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How to Develop Life Skills From the Get-go Asking your toddler or preschooler to say they’re sorry is like giving them a “get out of jail free” card, says Rachel Robertson, vice president of education and development at Bright Horizons Family Solutions. “We don’t want children to learn they just have to say a few words, whether they’re sorry or not. Instead, we want to help them to take others’ perspective and develop empathy,” she says. Developing empathy takes effort, but the great news is that children as young as 2 are receptive to learning this essential life skill. Robertson encourages parents to intentionally provide opportunities for young children to develop life skills, as well as to model those skills for kids. Teach collaboration and empathy Observe children’s imaginary play and you’ll see wonderful examples of communication, negotiation, creativity and collaboration. Join in, but be careful you don’t take over. If your toddler and preschooler are arguing over crayons, take them through the mental process that an adult would undergo; this gives your kids the opportunity to learn to solve their disagreements themselves. Help kids to be learners and thinkers One of the ways to encourage learning and thinking in early childhood is by asking open-ended questions that don’t have right or wrong answers. When kids ask you a question, ask them to consider the possible answers. Then, be their co-researcher, exploring the possibilities together. Support those developing executive function skills Executive function skills are foundational to all other life and learning skills: working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, working together to help people attend to tasks, behavior control, thinking flexibly, planning ahead and working with others. These are sophisticated skills that take years to mature, but parents can provide intentional opportunities to develop these skills. Learn more at parentmap.com/skills.

12 • March 2019 • parentmap.com

— Nancy Schatz Alton


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Register at: ParentMap.com/everychild-east parentmap.com • March 2019 • 13


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On a social level, play-based preschools help children learn the skills they need to be a good friend and to work as a member of a group through collaboration, learning to follow rules, developing empathy, taking turns and self-regulation. Academically, play promotes language, literacy and mathematical thinking. Research has shown that kids who frequently engage in play — particularly sociodramatic play — express themselves with more words, as well as with longer sentences and more complex speech. Beyond basic academics, play also helps build a child’s abilities to pay attention and to concentrate, which are critical to success in academic and professional endeavors. Play also provides an outlet for young children to express their emotions. Strong emotions — especially frustration, fear and anxiety — can be overwhelming for children to process. In play-based preschool settings, teachers provide children with the space to explore how they are feeling, what caused those feelings and how to best express their feelings in a positive, safe, healthy way. The ability to regulate emotions is essential as kids navigate interactions with others. — Melissa Benaroya, MSW, LICSW


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America’s Child Montessori

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Preschool through 2nd Grade • Traditional Montessori Education • Family owned since 1984 • Located near Microsoft • Private, Secure Setting • Enrichment STEM, Arts, Sports (425) 641-5437

americaschildmontessori@hotmail.com 14340 NE 21st St, Bellevue, 98007

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TEEN ACTION FAIR

CELEBRATE YOUTH-DRIVEN CHANGE WITH ACTIVITIES, PERFORMANCES & ORGANIZATIONS. SAT, MARCH 23 10 AM – 3 PM FREE! #TEENACTIONFAIR

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it starts with you(th)

CELEBRATE Youth-driven change at Teen Action Fair

Meet Aarushi Sahai

This youth activist knows she’s ‘just as capable as everyone else’ By Patty Lindley

A

arushi Sahai mentions that her favorite book is the 1911 classic “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett; she read it for the first time when she was 9 years old, and she rereads it every year. When I ask her why this century-old novel resonates with her so much, she replies: “I liked Mary’s story. She came from being not active and just wanting to be in her own world to realizing that there’s more out there, and even though she wasn’t the center of what’s out there, she could still be a part of it.” Sahai tells the story of her own transformation, from being a sensitive, introverted kid (“shy and bookish,” to use her descriptors) who was apprehensive about even speaking to people to the purposeful and outspoken youth activist she has blossomed into with the support of her family and other key mentors encountered along the way.

Gates Foundation Discovery Center Saturday, March 23 • FREE! discovergates.org/teenactionfair

“As a little kid, I didn’t like the way my voice sounded or how I said words, I guess. [But I had teachers who] pushed me out of my comfort zone. They taught me how important it was to always be learning and that that’s not something to be embarrassed about,” she says. Sahai says that asserting her voice was one of the biggest challenges she faced getting started in youth activism. “I was afraid that I was too young to be taken seriously,” she says. “But I found that if I really did put myself out there and I showed true dedication — not just ‘Hey, I’m here,’ but actually working to find a solution to the issue — it showed people that me being young is not a problem. I’m just as capable as everyone else,” she continues. Now 16, Sahai is an 11th-grade student at Big Picture School, a choice school in the Bellevue School District. Based on the Big Picture Learning model, which emphasizes linking student-directed learning to their community and their personal interests in ways that elevate the relevance of the subjects they study, the school’s curriculum and adviser-mentor approach have enabled Sahai to explore her passion for environmental and social justice issues through internships and other volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits.

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In addition to sitting on the school’s Environmental Leadership Council, she has helped kick-start its SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism) club, and has organized the annual talent show and multicultural night for the past few years. Recently, Sahai acted as one of the faciliators for a community conversation about the impacts of race and colonization on the American education system as part of a seminar series called “Let’s Talk Race.” Aimed at questioning the complexities of who defines and records the history of civilization, the interactive event featured guided group discussions about systems of oppression and racism, and featured a timeline detailing an indigenous perspective of our education system. Through her involvement in the Environmental Leadership Council, Sahai learned about an opportunity to join the Youth Ambassadors Program (YAP) at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This service learning program convenes high school students from the Seattle area to discuss and collaborate on ways they can best make a difference in their communities. The goal of the program is to empower youth to educate, motivate and inspire global awareness and action. Sahai emphasizes that YAP has come to mean much more to her than simply a youth group. “We always end with a story-circle dialogue, which really helps us feel like not just part of a work group, but more of a family. I see these people as not just peers, but also as supporters and as people whom I can support — we know that we can always lean back on each other, and that focus on caring in the program is what makes it really different,” she says. The group of approximately 15 ambassadors meets from two to three times a month to discuss what is going on in their schools and communities, and to work on shared projects, such as planning for the upcoming Teen Action Fair, to be held at the Gates Foundation Discovery Center on March 23. This annual event connects teens with youth-driven and youth-focused organizations, and features youth-led performances and art. “I’m on the programming committee, and we are focusing on what youth artists we want to invite to the fair, because we want to showcase their voices and experiences,” says Sahai. In what spare time she has between school and volunteering, Sahai loves shooting nature photography, baking, listening to music and, of course, reading. But these days, she doesn’t have a lot of time for novels. What is she currently absorbed in? “Right now, I’m reading a textbook for applied psychology. I don’t read much fiction anymore. It’s all textbooks, but at least it’s really cool textbooks about people.” n Patty Lindley is interim managing editor at ParentMap. Sponsored by:

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parentmap.com • March 2019 • 17


wellness

Sugar Crash

How new parents can keep prediabetes in check By Malia Jacobson

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hen Seattle-area software engineer Aden learned he was prediabetic in 2017, he made what he thought were reasonable lifestyle changes. The now 39-year-old stopped eating meat, focused on portion control and tried his best to stay active — despite his busy, full-time job and the demands of caring for an infant at home. Based on what he knew about prediabetes — which he admits wasn’t much — he thought he was doing enough. A few months later, Aden felt weak and dizzy after eating a few pieces of Halloween candy. When his vision blurred, he checked into a local urgent care center, where he learned his blood glucose was 500 mg/dL (that is, 500 milligrams per deciliter, a measurement that indicates the amount of a particular substance, in this case glucose, in a specific amount of blood). This reading was 2.5 times the level considered to be diabetic. Aden was sent to the emergency room, where he began a crash course in diabetes education and a lifestyle turnaround that changed his health, his home and his habits — both inside and outside of the kitchen.

What is prediabetes? Prediabetes is a middle-ground diagnosis between normal blood glucose levels and Type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by elevated blood glucose that occurs when the body either resists the effects of the insulin it produces or doesn’t produce enough. Fasting blood-glucose (or blood-sugar) levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL are considered prediabetic, says Nadia Hameed, M.D., of Bellevue’s Overlake Medical Center. Physicians also measure A1C, a longer-range measure of blood glucose, and look for levels between 5.7 and 6.4 percent as an indication of prediabetes. By catching elevated blood glucose in the prediabetes stage, people may have a better chance to change their fate — but that’s not a guarantee. “Prediabetes can be controlled by lifestyle changes that can bring blood sugar into a healthy range,” says Hameed. “With diabetes, we may be able to manage the condition, but unfortunately, this does tend to be a progressive disease.” The problem is that prediabetics may not have the information they need

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Award-winning healthcare to halt the progression, says Aden. Because diabetes is a serious condition with potentially debilitating, even fatal, complications — including damage to the kidneys, nerves, eyes, limbs and heart — a diagnosis triggers a cascade of information and resources for patients. These include access to blood-sugar testing supplies to help with daily, even hourly, glucose monitoring. But a prediabetes status may not trigger the same urgency. Without detailed knowledge of how their diet impacts their blood-sugar levels, people might not have enough information to keep prediabetes from progressing to diabetes, Aden says.

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After diagnosis After his emergency room visit, Aden took a couple of weeks off from work to rest, adjust and process the massive amount of diabetes information that came his way. Also coming his way was a new tool: a blood-sugar monitor, which gives him a real-time view of how food impacts his blood sugar. He soon realized that his meat-free diet was too starchy; instead of avoiding meat, he started focusing on counting carbs and filling more of his plate with vegetables. He began working with Dr. Hameed, who helped him navigate this new influx of diabetes data. But Aden needed to change more than his diet. The deep dive into his bloodsugar data revealed something surprising: A lack of sleep was contributing to his poor blood-sugar control. To manage his diabetes, he needed to get more sleep. For the parent of an infant son, this wasn’t as easy as simply changing the family’s menu. “We had our son sleeping in the bedroom with us, and I wasn’t sleeping much. He’d make a lot of noise, and when I got up, I’d just stay up,” he says. To catch up on sleep, Aden took a three-day trip to a relative’s home nearby to rest. At home, Aden and his wife adjusted nighttime parenting roles so Aden could get more uninterrupted blocks of sleep. Today, Aden’s blood sugar has stabilized to levels between 80 and 160 mg/dL; he eats smaller, balanced meals regularly. “Before, I wasn’t good about eating consistently. I would skip breakfast and hardly ever ate snacks. I don’t do that anymore.” Aden’s altered lifestyle is accompanied by a new outlook on prediabetes, he says. When a relative got the news that she was prediabetic, his advice to her was straightforward: “At this point, you should consider yourself diabetic and start to make the same changes you’d make if you had diabetes, like counting carbs. You can make those changes, but it has to start now. I wish someone had told me that.” n Malia Jacobson is an award-winning journalist and mom of three. Sponsored by:

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BELLEVUE ISSAQUAH KIRKLAND NEWCASTLE REDMOND SAMMAMISH parentmap.com • March 2019 • 19


march

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MONDAY

Enjoy the beautiful Cascades, a luxurious

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Holi Festival of Colors, March 23 Kids ‘n’ Critters at Northwest Trek, March 9–10

THISTLE THEATER

Emerald City Comic Con, March 14–17

‘The Magic Teakettle’ with Thistle Theater, March 2–17

ParentMap’s North Sound Camp Fair, March 16

Plan your Spring Break adventure today at SleepingLady.com 800.574.2123

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The Little Engine That Could. Catch StoryBook Theater’s spin on this tale of perseverance; also playing in Seattle (March 10) and Shoreline (March 16). 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $15; under 2 free. Ages 3 and up. Everett PUD Auditorium. storybooktheater.org The Music Man. Catch some trouble with a capital ‘T’ at today’s matinee showing of the classic musical. Select dates through March 10. 2 p.m. $14–$22. Auburn Avenue Theater. auburnwa.gov

Low Sensory Play Time. This special play time features a limited number of participants and a calm environment. Monday, Wednesday–Friday; noon–2 p.m. and select other days. $20; preregister. Ages 0–10 with adult. Roo’s World of Discovery, Kirkland. roosworldofdiscovery.com Agents of Discovery. A free app sends you on a nature mission. Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. FREE (loaner phones available). Tacoma Nature Center. tacomanaturecenter.org

PEPS Benefit Luncheon. Gather with other PEPS parents to support a beloved community organization. Donations requested; preregister. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. peps.org Stories Alive. Kids become a part of the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” at this interactive story time. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Included with admission. Ages 1–6 with families. Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett. imaginecm.org

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Kids ‘n’ Critters. Bring your crew to visit awesome Northwest Trek; up to four children (ages 12 and under) admitted free per paying adult. Saturday–Sunday, March 9–10, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Eatonville. nwtrek.org Magic Teakettle. Thistle Theatre’s Bunraku puppet tale of a magic Japanese teakettle. Saturday–Sunday, March 9–10; 1 and 3 p.m.; see online for other locations and dates. $10. Ages 3 and up. Magnuson Park Theatre, Seattle. thistletheatre.org

Magic Monday. Local magicians perform in the cozy quarters of the bookstore the second Monday of every month, 7–8 p.m. FREE. Third Place Books – Ravenna, Seattle. thirdplacebooks.com Pajamarama! Evening Story Time. Cozy up in your jammies and bring a favorite stuffy to enjoy stories, songs and rhymes. Mondays, 6:45–7:30 p.m. Ages 3–6 with families. FREE. Shoreline Library. kcls.org

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Nowruz Seattle 2019. Join a community celebration of Persian New Year with music, art, speakers and a photo booth. 1–5 p.m. FREE. Seattle City Hall. facebook.com/ seattleIsfahan Purim Carnival. Costume up for games, crafts, prizes and food trucks to celebrate the Jewish festival Purim. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. FREE; preregister; food for purchase. Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island. sjcc.org

Naturalist for a Day. Drop the kids on a no-school day to explore the local ecosystem. 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. $45–$54. Ages 8–10. Kelsey Creek Farm, Bellevue. register. bellevuewa.gov OmTots Play Gym. Enjoy active play time indoors and with other kids. Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–noon. $12; discounts available, under 1 free. Ages 0–5 with caregiver. OmCulture, Seattle. omculture.com

State Parks Free Day. Explore our spectacular state parks FREE today in honor of our state park system’s 105th birthday. No Discover Pass required. Statewide. discoverpass.wa.gov Detective Cookie’s Chess Club. Drop in to learn and practice chess skills; new members always welcome. Tuesdays, 3–5 p.m. FREE. Ages 7 and up. Seattle Public Library, Rainier Beach Branch. spl.org

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KidJump. Exclusive time for littles to jump without crazy big kids flying around. Monday– Saturday, 9–10 a.m. $14 (must have $3 grip socks); accompanying adult free. Ages 6 and under. Flying Circus, Tukwila. flyingcircus.us Lil’ Diggers Playtime. Favorite giant sandbox with digging in the sand for kids and wifi for grown-ups. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 9:30–11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.– 1 p.m. $8. Ages 5 and under with caregiver. Sandbox Sports, Seattle. sandboxsports.net

Hoppy Hour. Bounce time for energetic kids to get the rainy-day (or any-day) wiggles out. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $7–$12. Elevated Sportz Trampoline Park, Bothell. elevatedsportz.com Play to Learn. Kids and caregivers gather for community play and circle time around a weekly theme. 10 a.m.; additional weekly times and locations online. FREE. Ages 6 and under with adult. Puyallup Public Library. playtacoma.org

Mini Maestros. Around the world in 80 drums. 2:30–3:30 p.m. $10–$13. Ages 2–8 with families. University of Puget Sound, Tacoma. symphonytacoma.org

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TUESDAY

Shadow Lake Bog Self-Guided Walking Tour. Stroll the boardwalk and study the plants in this fascinating bog preserve. Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. FREE. Shadow Lake Nature Preserve, Renton. shadowhabitat.org Spanish Playgroup. Drop in for games, stories, songs and community en español. Tuesdays, 10–11:30 a.m. FREE; ages 0–5 with caregiver. FamilyWorks, Seattle. familyworksseattle.org


WEDNESDAY ‘Calm Parenting: Ending Power Struggles’ with Dr. Laura Kastner, March 7

THURSDAY March of the Dogs, March 8

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

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Dr. Seuss Celebration. Celebrate the author’s birthday with Seussian games, stories and fun! 10:30–11:30 a.m. FREE. Ages 0–6 with family. Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library. piercecountylibrary.org Curiosity Days: Climate Change. Enjoy a science-filled weekend with hands-on activities exploring the impacts of climate change. Friday–Sunday, March 1–3. Included with admission. Pacific Science Center, Seattle. pacificsciencecenter.org

Lacey Ethnic Fair. Music, art, dance, food, crafts and fun celebrating traditions from around the world. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. FREE. St. Martin’s University, Lacey. ci.lacey.wa.us Bricks Cascade: Minifigs in Motion. Take a trip south to thrill your Lego fans of all ages; this expo has blocks for play, builds to view and vendors galore. Saturday–Sunday, March 2–3. $11. Oregon Convention Center, Portland. brickscascade.com

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Indoor Playground. Bounce, balance, roll and play. Daily, various times. $10; adults free. Ages 1–5 with caregiver. Seattle Gymnastics Academy, three Seattle locations. seattlegymnastics.com Math Buddies. Elementary students meet with a teen volunteer for math games and activities. Tuesdays, 4–5 p.m. FREE. Grades K–5. Seattle Public Library, West Seattle Branch. spl.org

Calm Parenting: Ending Power Struggles. Join ParentMap and Dr. Laura Kastner to learn helpful, solutions-oriented tips to keep your parenting cool; book signing to follow. 7 p.m. $15–$20. Jewish Day School, Bellevue. parentmap.com/calmparenting Toddler Story Time at The Wing. Stories with Asian characters or authors followed by a simple art activity. 11 a.m. Included with admission. Ages 1–4 with families. Wing Luke Museum, Seattle. wingluke.org

Wee Ones Weekly. Music and fun for tots with their grown-ups around the theme “V Is for Volcano”; includes 30 minutes of exclusive museum play. 9:30–11 a.m. $5 per family. Ages 1–5 with adult. Children’s Museum of Tacoma. playtacoma.org March of the Dogs. Learn all about dogs and bring your leashed furry friends along for this all-ages walk. 10–11 a.m. FREE; RSVP required. Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station, Bellevue. parks.bellevuewa.gov

Kent Kids’ Arts Day. Let your budding artist participate in a plethora of hands-on art projects. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $10; adults and ages 2 and under free. Kent Commons. kentwa.gov Family Science Night. Exclusive after-hours exploration of exhibits and hands-on experiments; this month’s theme is “Out of This World.” 5:45–8:30 p.m. $36 per adult/child pair, $18 per additional family member. Pacific Science Center, Seattle. pacificsciencecenter.org

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FREE Admission Night at Imagine. Burn off steam at the end of the week with family play time. 5:30–9 p.m. FREE. Ages 1–12 with families. Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett. imaginecm.org Mercer Slough Night Walk. Learn all about nocturnal animals in the lab, then head out for a guided night walk. 7–9 p.m. $15; preregister. Ages 6 and up with adult. Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, Bellevue. pacificsciencecenter.org

North Sound Camp Fair. Browse a huge array of summer camp options and meet and ask questions of camp providers. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. FREE; preregister. Shoreline Community College. parentmap.com/ campfair St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival. Get your green on and celebrate Irish pride; any heritage welcome. 12:30 p.m. FREE. Parade along Fourth Ave. toward Seattle Center, where Irish Festival takes place (Saturday–Sunday). irishclub.org

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Conservatory Story Hour. Stories and crafts amid the verdant surroundings. 11 a.m.–noon. Suggested donation $3. Ages 3–8 with caregiver. W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, Tacoma. seymourconservatory.org Kitty Literature. Kids practice reading skills with a supportive audience of shelter cats during a 20-minute session. Monday– Friday, times vary. FREE; preregister. Ages 5–10. Seattle Humane Society, Bellevue. seattlehumane.org

Emerald City Comic Con. Introduce your kids to local pop culture geeky greatness. Thursday–Sunday, March 14–17. $30–$45; ages 5 and under free. Washington State Convention Center, Seattle. emeraldcitycomiccon.com Block Party: Lego. Bring your kids to exercise their STEM skills on Pi Day. 4–5 p.m. FREE. Issaquah Library. kcls.org

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Play With Paint. Time to let the kids get messy with paint at KidsQuest (not at your house). First and third Wednesdays, 2–3 p.m. Included with admission. Ages 0–12. KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Bellevue. kidsquestmuseum.org Moisture Festival Comedy/Varieté. Musicians, acrobats, comedians and can’t-be-categorized performers present amazing variety shows. March 14–April 7. $11–$26. Most shows all ages; see website. Hale’s Palladium, Seattle. moisturefestival.com

Critter Club. Stories, hands-on exploration and an animal surprise; this week’s theme is “Leaping Lynx!” Thursday–Friday, March 7–8, 21–22; 11 a.m.–noon. $14–$15; preregister. Ages 3–5 with caregiver. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma. pdza.org Indoor Playpark. Fun open gym boasts slides, plasma cars, small toys and espresso for grown-ups. Monday, Thursday;10 a.m.– 1 p.m. $2.50/child. Ages 0–5 with adult. Silver Creek Family Church, Lynnwood. silvercreekfamily.org

Tot Shabbat. All welcome to share singing, prayer, challah and juice in a joyful environment. Fridays, 11:15 a.m.–noon. FREE. Ages 0–5 with caregiver. Temple B’Nai Torah, Bellevue. templebnaitorah.org March Madness. All ages are welcome to join in for some basketball fun with food, games, prizes and, of course, college basketball on the big screen. 5 p.m. FREE; donations welcome. Van Asselt Community Center, Seattle. seattle.gov

Caspar Babypants. Jam with beloved indie-turned-kindie rocker and snack on delicious doughnuts. FREE; doughnuts for purchase. 10:30 a.m. Top Pot Doughnuts, Bothell. babypantsmusic.com Holi Festival of Colors. Say goodbye to winter and greet spring at this colorful festival of merriment and connection. Don’t forget to wear white and be ready to get drenched in color! Noon–5 p.m. FREE. Marymoor Park, Redmond. festivalofcolor.us

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Toddler Time at ESC. Join your toddler and Environmental Science Center naturalists for seasonal nature activities. 10:30–11:30 a.m. FREE. Ages 2–4 with families. Burien Library. envsciencecenter.org KaBOOM! Imagination Playground. Kids get to build, create and play with huge foam blocks at this moveable library playground 3–5 p.m. FREE. All ages; under 6 with an adult. Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library. piercecountylibrary.org

Tugboat Story Time. Board a real tugboat for fun and stories of the sea. Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 11 a.m.– noon. FREE. Ages 1–8 with caregiver. Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle. cwb.org Theater for Young Children. Two classic folk tales from Native Northwest Peoples brought to life. 10 a.m. FREE. Ages 2.5–10 with adult. Loyal Heights Community Center, Seattle. seattle.gov/parks

Toddler Gym. Tot play times at Seattle’s neighborhood community are free. Monday–Saturday, various times. FREE. Ages 5 and under with caregiver. Seattle. seattle.gov The Little Prince. The beloved story of a small prince and his life experiences across the planets and stars. March 29–April 7. $15. Bellevue Youth Theatre. parks.bellevuewa.gov

Saturday Morning Cartoons. Monthly celebration of children’s animated films from all over the world, with coffee and doughnuts. 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $5–$10. SIFF Cinema Uptown, Seattle. siff.net Story Time and Crafts. Last chance this season for nature stories and craft time; the focus this week is fungi. 1:30–3:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. All ages. Cedar River Watershed Education Center, North Bend. seattle.gov/util/crwec

parentmap.com • March 2019 • 21


feature

Money Matters How to create a financial health checklist for your family By Nancy Schatz Alton

F

orty-four percent of Americans find talking about money more difficult than discussing death, politics, religion and sex. Heck, even financial gurus admit to experiencing interpersonal discord when it comes to this topic. After 23 years of marriage — and working for 20 of those years as a certified financial adviser — Carl Richards says he and his wife still have a hard time talking about money. “Talking about money means talking about feelings,” says Richards, who gives an example of how opening the American Express bill can lead a couple to fight. Or, if you’re single, reviewing that credit card bill might lead to feelings of shame, regret and guilt. Richards says these fights and emotional eruptions are like touching an electric fence. “Have you ever run into an electric fence? It’s shocking every time, even if you grab it on purpose,” says Richards, who writes The New York Times’ weekly finance column Sketch Guy and has written books about financial planning, including

22 • March 2019 • parentmap.com

“The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money.” “Even knowing this metaphor doesn’t change the metaphor. Talking and thinking about money is hard and emotional. The point is, it’s electric, but you keep on talking about it,” he says. Luckily, we can learn to turn down the voltage on that electric fence. We asked financial experts how to adopt a practical money mindset and create a family financial health checklist. They shared a few insider tricks for thinking about and discussing money, along with the four essential parts of a simple family financial plan.

Get to a one-line values statement for your financial plan If creating a financial plan feels hard, Chanel Reynolds wants to remind us that we do harder things all the time.

“We put together Ikea furniture, deal with computer crashes and pull retainers out of garbage disposals. Most people believe they are bad with money, yet we are all capable of looking at a spreadsheet,” says Reynolds, author of “What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance and Life’s What-ifs” (getyourshittogether.org). Working well with money is a learned skill, adds Reynolds. “Reframe any past agony with an aikido flip: We make choices about money every day, so you can start making new decisions based on new information and priorities right now. That’s pretty cool!” she says. For those of us with partners, this decisionmaking involves working with another person. “Usually there’s one excited spouse and one not-so-excited spouse when it comes to discussing values around money. That’s why I suggest starting small, with one successful conversation during a walk or a dinner out,” says Richards. “Say, ‘Hey, I


was reading this article, and it made me wonder, what’s your earliest memory around money?’ After they tell you, say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, tell me more.’” Conversations like this show us that we can talk about money calmly while helping us understand what baggage each person brings to the money conversation, says Richards. Then, he adds, it becomes easier to write one line that sums up your family’s values regarding money. He suggests having numerous conversations that start with the question “Why is money important to us?” “When you come up with one answer, then ask, ‘But why?’” Richards continues. “I like to borrow Toyota’s 5 Whys technique, asking, ‘Why is money important to us?’ at least five times. The point here is not to just ask why, it’s to dig deeper.” This isn’t about goals, and these values can change, notes Richards. Right now, his family’s one-liner is that money is important because it allows them to spend time with family and friends, mainly outdoors, while serving their community. “I’ve heard many answers over the years, including one that surprised the speaker, who was an emergency room doctor. She said, ‘I really just want to have a family and I haven’t even had time to think about it,’” says Richards. “Once you have defined your family values around money, it’s much easier to decide how to spend money. Then, when you freak out because skis are expensive, your wife can remind you that buying skis is part of your financial plan.”

Examine your spending habits Peter Polson believes that having a family financial plan makes him a better dad, spouse and person. “When my wife and I had two kids, the velocity of our spending increased, and it became incredibly important to stay on top of our spending,” says Polson. He founded Tiller (tillerhq.com), a company that creates automated spreadsheets for personal finances, based on the premise that money matters because life matters more. “If the first checklist item is setting values around money that lead to goals, the second piece is getting on top of how we spend our money. Ask someone on the street to draw a pie chart of what their credit card spending is and often they shrug their shoulders,” says

Polson, who recommends a weekly practice of sitting down and looking at the money going out. “The goal isn’t to beat ourselves up, but to be aware. Just pay attention to how you spend your money each week,” says Polson. “Rinse and repeat, and do it together if you have a partner. It’s incredibly empowering: Ten weeks in, you’ll be in a different place with money. You’ll feel more control and a sense of liberation from taking the surprise out of your spending practices.” The second step for getting on top of spending can be about creating a budget, says Polson — but only if that’s what works for you.

“Ten weeks in, you’ll be in a different place with money.” “Some people love the structure of a budget — it’s a fun riddle figuring out how much to spend on food and gas. But some people resent the restraints of a budget. Often people are able to adjust intuitively, say by packing a lunch next week after looking at their spending this week,” says Polson.

Plan for the unexpected and for the future, too Perhaps you’ve heard the statistic that 78 percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and don’t have an emergency fund. That’s why the third part of a family financial checklist is creating an emergency fund. “The general recommendation is to save up enough money to cover at least six months of basic living expenses. There’s an immense sense of relief when you have a financial safety net. As a widowed, single parent, I cannot express how much better I sleep at night because my son and I have a cushion if

something happens. That’s why I call it my safety and security fund,” says Reynolds. In fact, Reynolds recommends creating an additional savings account. She calls this nonemergency account her ‘Oh, crap!’ fund, for unexpected doctor bills or a last-minute trip to help a sick parent or friend. Hang tight: There are only four parts to this family financial plan. After creating one line that sums up your family’s values about money, tracking your spending and saving for emergencies, the last piece of the plan is saving for financial priorities in the future. Of course, this looks different for every family. If your one-liner is about seeing the world, part of your plan needs to be dumping extra money into a travel fund. Education: college funds. Retirement: IRAs and low-fee broad market funds. Perhaps your family wants to put money in all of these categories. This future wrangling is often helped by consulting a financial planner. Reynolds advises parents to find a fiduciary financial adviser, as only fiduciaries are required to act in their clients’ best interests. Those who aren’t fiduciaries can offer biased advice that earns higher commissions. Still, in this information age, apps and software programs like those offered by Tiller, Mint, Quicken and You Need a Budget can help you figure out how to allocate money for each priority on your list. (Rumor has it that you can even go old-school and plan by using your bank’s paper statements, a notebook and a calculator.) Whether reading this article makes you feel as though becoming a financial wizard in 2019 is a possibility or it makes you tired just thinking about the subject, Reynolds points out that it is okay if organizing your finances feels both empowering and a little like a bummer. “The fact is, I don’t like getting a yearly mammogram, but I schedule one every year near my birthday, so I remember,” says Reynolds. “You can treat your family financial plan the same way: It may not be fun, like a birthday present, but like going to the dentist, changing the oil in your car or getting your annual exam, it’s super important — so you do it.” ■ Nancy Schatz Alton is a writer, teacher and poet. Read her work at withinthewords.com. parentmap.com • March 2019 • 23


feature

Estate Planning 101 Where there’s a will, there’s a will By Nancy Schatz Alton

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easoned estate planning lawyers say phone calls to their offices are usually triggered by grief or postcard-worthy adventures. People call a lawyer after an unexpected death or a week before a parents-only vacation, says Sarah Jael Dion, a Seattle-based estate planning and probate lawyer at Dion Law PLLC. “While everyone who calls says they just need a simple will, the truth is that it takes longer than a week to create a legal will, and a will is just one part of a larger set of legal documents that helps protect families both before and after a parent’s death,” says Dion. While negative and positive life events often provoke people to look into writing a will, local author Chanel Reynolds has made it her mission to make creating an estate plan an ordinary item on any adult’s agenda. After her own husband suffered fatal injuries during an early-evening bike ride, she learned that a little preplanning can help make a hard time go a bit easier. Now Reynolds wants everyone to know that writing a will isn’t as difficult or overwhelming as they might think, and she wants to help parents get started on the process.

“If you decide on guardianship when your kids are little, you’re basically choosing new parents.”

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“A basic estate planning packet includes three main documents. A will specifies guardianship for your kids and pets, who gets your assets, and what’s going to happen to your stuff. Some also decide to create a trust in addition to their will. The living will or advance healthcare directive is for your end-of-life wishes and specifies things like whether or how long you’d want to be kept on life support. The third one is a power of attorney that designates people who can make medical and/or financial decisions for you should you be unable to make decisions for yourself, for example, during recovery from a serious illness or extensive surgery,” says Reynolds, author of “What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance and Life’s What-ifs” (getyourshittogether.org).

DIY or hire a lawyer?

If life were like the movies, you could write a will on a cocktail napkin, initial it with your partner over a beer and slide it into a drawer, says Dion. “But that’s not a will: It’s just a cocktail napkin. While I’m biased, I find that writing your will yourself is a lot like doing your taxes yourself,” she says. “Using the online software is better than doing nothing, but the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s a reason that LegalZoom.com has a disclaimer that says, ‘We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights.’” Still, Reynolds points out that many of the online services are perfectly adequate


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for people with uncomplicated family situations and finances. She notes that the online estate planning packets at LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and Quicken WillMaker usually cost a few hundred www.funtasticplaytorium.com • 425.623.0034 dollars. Factoria Mall, Bellevue • Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood But what makes a life Walk-ins always welcome for open play! complicated? That’s where an attorney comes in handy. “You’re paying for expertise — FD17_funtastic_playtorium_1-8h.indd 1 for someone to look at your family situation and finances and help spot a future possible disaster. Estate planning also brings up a lot of things people are trying not to talk about: ‘Do I trust my brother enough to raise my child?’ ‘Do I want my kid moved out of state?’” says Dion. “I’m grateful to be able to identify problems before they are problems and help clients come up with a plan so there’s no disaster. That’s the most pleasing part of being a lawyer.” While you can surf the internet and ponder price points that fit within your budget, Dion recommends reaching out to your peers and asking for recommendations. Try parent Listservs and neighborhood social-networking websites, too. The price range for estate planning is vast, running from roughly $500 to $5,000 or more. “Finding a lawyer who charges a flat fee for estate planning is a good way to go,” counsels Dion. “Still, lawyers at some firms are required to charge an hourly rate [usually north of $300 an hour]. Many of the best estate planners I know work at these law firms, and they do an incredible job.”

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Make your estate plan — and keep it updated Once you’ve done the hard work of picking an online estate plan or finding a lawyer, the tricky work of picking guardians for your children begins. Some lawyers have people fill out questionnaires that include this topic before the appointment, but this decision might be why it takes more than a week to write a will. “You want a lawyer who is going to talk with you about your family and get their arms around the whole emotional and social situation so they can help guide you through the guardianship decision,” says Dion. Guardianship decisions are one reason why Dion calls a will a time-sensitive document. “If you decide on guardianship when your kids are little, you’re basically choosing new parents. By middle school, guardianship priorities are different, shifting to keeping the kids in the same city or school and picking someone who’d make a really good auntie or uncle. By the time kids are teenagers, that kid-cake is baked, so once again parents might need to rethink their wills,” says Dion. Upon signing your first estate plan, congratulate yourself, but plan on reviewing this document every five years or so, or after life events such as the birth of a child, death of a named guardian or fund manager, divorce, changes to the tax code or big changes in financial circumstances. Rest assured, though: You can make many of these updates as amendments, without triggering the expense of a complete estate plan do-over. ■ Nancy Schatz Alton is a writer, teacher and poet. Read her work at withinthewords.com. parentmap.com • March 2019 • 25


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out + about

9 Momtog Tips for Great Cherry Blossom Photos

No.1 takeaway: Avoid crowds! Story and photography by JiaYing Grygiel

N

othing says springtime like the pink perfection of a zillion cherry blossoms. You say you’d like photos of your kids romping on a grassy knoll as petals drift down from the trees? Yeah, so would everyone else in Seattle. The University of Washington’s Quad is a popular destination for a reason. It’s the most iconic place in town to peep those cherry blossoms. (Follow @uwcherryblossom on Twitter for an up-to-date bloom report.) When those 30 Yoshino cherry trees are in bloom, that patch of grass is covered with people slinging their kids and cameras. Now, I’m not against crowds. I actually love going to the Quad when the trees are at peak bloom; it’s like a giant party, and everyone is happy to be there. It’s just that a bunch of strangers in the background is a surefire way to ruin your photo op. To make your family cherry-blossom pictures stand out, you need to know a few tricks.

Get low and shoot up Get the crowd out of the background of your shot by crouching down on the ground and aiming the camera up. That way, all you see behind your subjects are beautiful blossoms. You’d never know it from most of these photos, but the Quad was jampacked that day.

Get high and shoot down Short photo subjects? Use that to your advantage. The ground is strewn with pretty blossoms, which makes it almost as photogenic as the trees.

Shoot tight Can you get a detail of your kids with some flowers? Or maybe focus in on just part of a tree? The idea is to narrow your frame so you crop out as much of the busy background as possible. Look for the enormous blooms on the magnolia trees at the north end of the Quad. They are even more striking than the cherry blossoms, and they don’t get nearly as much attention.

Manage your expectations No matter how many beautiful pictures you tagged on Pinterest, your photos will only be as good as your window of opportunity before a toddler tantrum hits. Accept that kids have their limits.

More ideas for crowd avoidance Go on a weekday. Go really early in the morning (the Quad is a zoo by the afternoon). Go earlier in the season, before peak bloom.

While you’re there Once your family is cherry-blossomed out, make a stop at the Suzzallo Library reading room, a.k.a. the Harry Potter room. Just make sure you turn your voices

parentmap.com • March 2019 • 29


out + about Great Cherry Blossom Photos

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continued from page 29 off before going in — the librarians are serious about the silence thing. On the Ave, browse the University Book Store’s children’s section in the loft. Or stop in at the Henry Art Gallery to see some wonderful contemporary art. Admission is free every Sunday or with a Seattle Public Library museum pass. Pssst! Parking in all campus garages and lots is also free on Sundays.

Go somewhere else Along Azalea Way in the Washington Park Arboretum, there’s a whole row of flowering trees that are far less photographed than the ones in the Quad. As a bonus, the branches on these trees are lower to the ground, which makes it a lot easier to capture the kids surrounded by blossoms. Bring your bikes and scooters — kids will love the 2-mile loop trail that opened just last year.

Take a walk around your neighborhood

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If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “What kind of lens is that?” I wouldn’t be hustling for extra income, that’s for sure. (It’s always a guy who wants to know.) For the record, I use a Nikon DSLR, though it’s the version at the “serious hobbyist” price point. But the most important thing to keep in mind isn’t how you capture your image, it’s what you capture in your image. A smartphone is a great photographic tool for two reasons: It’s always on you, and the photo file sizes are big enough that you can make nice prints. In 99.9 percent of my pictures, the only thing I’ll adjust are the levels for brightness and contrast — no Photoshop magic, no funky filters, nothing else added. You don’t need a super-duper, expensive camera to take great pictures. You don’t need to be a Photoshop genius. You do need to pay attention to what’s in your frame and what’s in your background. Fill the frame with pretty blossoms and minimize the distracting hordes of flower admirers. It doesn’t hurt to have a cute photo subject, either! ■ JiaYing Grygiel is freelance photographer and writer who lives in Seattle, where she takes too many pictures of her boys, ages 7 and 3, and blogs at photoj.net.

30 • March 2019 • parentmap.com


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Where Did I Come From? 5–99

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y children are named John Henry and Leo. People often comment that I must like old-fashioned names. I respond by telling them about why I named my sons after their great-great-grandfathers. John Henry, my husband’s great-grandfather, was the mayor of his tiny town; he was a miner and he played baseball. He loved to serve people. Leo, my greatgrandfather, was an accountant and an orchardist. He donated the fruit from his orchard to schoolchildren during the Great Depression. He was remembered as being very kind. These men worked hard to make the world a better place to live in, and that is what I want my boys to know about their namesakes. From the time they are very young, children are watching the adults around them. They are making connections and drawing conclusions. They understand they are part of a family, part of a team, and they begin to craft their personal identities around those connections and conclusions. As a genealogist, I want my children to know that the “team” they belong to is strong and sturdy (even when I am not). Understanding their familial past shapes their sense of self and strengthens bonds with their living family members. I have found that one of the best parts of teaching my children about their ancestors is that the stories I tell them are set — they cannot change (assuming

my research is accurate). Our ancestors become like superheroes, no longer here to make the mistakes those of us who are still living may be prone to make; their stories take on an aura of legend, only better, because my boys get to feel that they are part of these legends. You don’t need to rename your kids to give them this gift — my children’s favorite stories aren’t even the ones about the men they are named after. You just need to take your child by the hand and peek into the enticing rabbit hole of family history. Genealogy is a fast-growing interest. It is estimated to be the second-mostpopular hobby in the world (after gardening) and has grown into a billiondollar industry, with a proliferation of websites, books, conferences and other resources. Getting started may be daunting at first — the suggestion of navigating complicated-looking websites and dusty library shelves with kids always earns me some legitimate side-eye — but hear me out!

Exploring family history with young kids

There are a lot of genealogy activities that even young children will love. These are also great pursuits for people who come from populations with missing parentmap.com • March 2019 • 35


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ages + stages For additional articles and parent stories about family ancestry, go to

Where Did I Come From?

parentmap.com/ancestry.

continued from page 35 records, or for families with children from closed adoptions, because there are few or no records needed for these activities.

■ Capture and preserve your family’s story. While you are on

FamilySearch, fill out a Family Booklet (located under the Family Tree tab) and print it out to enjoy together or give as a gift. Experience your ancestry through DNA. Submit your DNA or your child’s DNA to one of the several companies that will analyze it to determine cultural heritage. We used 23andMe (23andme.com). This was particularly exciting for my multiracial adopted son. He loves to tell people about how he has ancestry from all over the world! Let the kids write a monthly family newsletter. Include a short interview with an older family member in each issue.

■ Haul that old photo album out of Grandma’s attic (seriously, get it out of the ■ attic — attics make horrible archives!) and let your kids look through it. Choose two or three photos and ask an older living relative to share stories about what was happening in the photos. Let the kids ask questions. Ask your own questions, and if you have your smartphone handy, hit record on your voice memo app! Create your own family history with your children. Use a service like Chatbooks (chatbooks.com) or Snapfish (snapfish.com) to create records of both the everyday events and the milestones in your lives. My kids look through ours at least once a week and love showing them to aunts, uncles, grandparents and random visitors. Log on to FamilySearch (familysearch.org). The content on this genealogy website, the largest on the internet, is offered for free by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Search existing family trees to find out if there are other people already working on your family lines. Look for photos of ancestors or the places where they lived that have been uploaded by other people. Cemeteries make great playgrounds, even if your ancestors aren’t buried there. Before you go, search a cemetery data website (findagrave.com, billiongraves.com) to see if there are any requests for photos of headstones from that cemetery. Take a bucket, screwdriver, brush and rag, and let your kids clean the headstones before you photograph them. There’s the rub! If you live near a cemetery where your ancestors are buried (or even if you don’t have forebearers there), pay a visit with the kids, especially if they enjoy making interesting art. Take crayons and sheets of white paper and let the littles make rubbings of their favorite headstones. Read about your cultural background. Visit your local library to check out books that record legends, traditions and myths of your ancestral cultures.

■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Exploring family history with kids ages 8 and older By around age 8, kids are better able to understand what an ancestor is and become more interested in the stories of their predecessors.

Exploring family history with kids 13 and older Teens are capable of — and often quite adept at — genealogical research.

■ Visit a local family history center. If you live in a place where your family

has lived for generations, stop into your local historical or genealogical society to see what resources it has to expand your family research. Cyndi’s List (cyndislist.com) is a great free website for finding local genealogical resources and organizations that provide more focused research on specific populations. Many public libraries also have genealogy sections. Expand your family tree. Begin filling out pedigrees and family groups on FamilySearch beyond living or recently deceased relatives. Use the green leaf icons to help you discover new records. Visit the FamilySearch YouTube channel (youtube.com/familysearch) to watch videos on how to really get going once you’ve started. Attend a genealogy class, seminar or conference. Check with your county or state genealogical society to find out when and where such events are being offered. ■

■ ■

Megan Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in family history and genealogy and an MBA from Seattle University. She also is the mother of two exuberant sons.

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Chef Joel Gamoran

Meet the man behind the ‘cooking scrappy’ revolution

Read the full interview at parentmap.com/ joel

By Patty Lindley Statistics about the dire economic and environmental impacts of wasted food are unpalatable, to say the least: A shocking 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is unused — this while an unacceptable 49 million households deal with food insecurity every year. In response, homegrown (Mercer Island-born and -raised) chef and TV personality Joel Gamoran has become one of the most recognizable faces of — and driving forces behind — the zero-waste food movement. As the national chef and principal spokesperson for Sur La Table (surlatable.com), he leverages his passion for “cooking scrappy,” love of teaching and talent for making entertaining media to promote his mission to rehabilitate our country’s wasteful food culture — one delicious and deceptively humble food scrap at a time. After attending cooking school in Italy and earning a restaurant management degree from the University of Connecticut and a culinary arts certificate from the Q: How did your interest in cooking scrappy begin? Joel: I grew up with a wealth of food — too much food — and I think it’s one of the things that kind of drove me to the scrappy movement. In restaurants and in cooking school, you’re not allowed to waste anything. Every scrap, every last bit, matters, and you are taught to use onion peels and chicken bones and the seeds of tomatoes — everything that we maybe normally throw away at home. So, when I got into home cooking at Sur La Table, I looked at our overfilled garbage bowls and I realized that most home cooks were never taught [the scrappy way]. Q: You should never name a favorite child, but can you pick a favorite scrap? Joel: I’ll go with corncobs as my favorite child. Once you eat the kernels, you can cook the cobs in butter for a long period of time to make corn butter, which you can slather on fresh ears of corn, put in polenta or toss into pasta. You can also use those corncobs to make a stock for a sweet corn risotto. It’s just incredible. Q: What’s your favorite MacGyver use of a kitchen implement? Joel: I love flipping a Le Creuset or a cast-iron skillet upside down and using the bottom of it as a pizza stone. I think that’s what the whole movement is about. It’s not just about ingredients. It’s about ingenuity, using every tool at your disposal and just getting every last drop out of everything you have. Q: Congratulations! I hear you will be a new father soon. Do kids and cooking scrappy mix? Joel: Scraps make for amazing kid food! We filmed an episode in Detroit, where we cooked a scrappy meal for kids, and it was probably my favorite

38 • March 2019 • parentmap.com

Culinary Institute of America, Gamoran worked in a number of restaurants before landing, at age 24, at Sur La Table. Today, 10 years later, he oversees the content and curriculum for the kitchen retailer’s popular cooking classes, offered nationwide at 85 locations, and hosts “Scraps,” a culinary series which is executive-produced by television host and journalist Katie Couric. Now in its third season on A&E, the series features Gamoran traveling in his mobile kitchen — a refurbished, Mars-red 1963 Volkswagen pickup dubbed “Pippi” — to food-forward U.S. cities. In each episode, he collaborates with chefs and fellow zero-waste champions to source local ingredients and prepare a pop-up dinner party that deliciously realizes the haute cuisine potential of food scraps. In October 2018, Gamoran further advanced his mission to empower home cooks to tackle food waste in their own kitchens by publishing his first cookbook, “Cooking Scrappy: 100 Recipes to Help You Stop Wasting Food, Save Money, and Love What You Eat.” episode. The kids got it immediately. I explained to them that there are children around the country who go to bed hungry, and meanwhile, we have all this leftover food. It really sunk in with them. Q: Do you have any suggestions for making family meal prep scrappier and less stressful? Joel: Well, first of all, on social media if you take a picture of your fridge and hashtag #scrapmyfridge, I receive a notification, and within 24 hours I will respond with what you should make. I’m not a parent yet, but the second thing I recommend is putting a little structure behind [meal planning]. So, for me, the second part of Sunday is completely blocked out for getting groceries, coming home and building bases. I usually cook up grains, like farro, brown rice and whole wheat pasta; then I cook proteins, like chicken and salmon. Vegetables usually cook within three to four minutes, so they get prepared day of. … So, it’s getting those two bases — the protein and the carbohydrates — out of the way, and just being disciplined, and that makes the rest of the week so easy. Q: What is your favorite recipe from your new cookbook? Joel: The CSALT [chicken skin, avocado, lettuce and tomato] sandwich is pretty incredible. It is my version of a BLT, but it’s made with chicken skin. I think a lot of people don’t realize that you can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of chicken skin for, like, $2.30. I crisp the chicken skins in the oven, like bacon, but they’re way healthier than bacon. I also love the recipe for spent coffee grounds ice cream. I always tell people to add just a pinch of leftover coffee grounds into anything with chocolate — it really takes the dish from an 8 to a 10. Patty Lindley is the interim managing editor at ParentMap.


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