March 2019

Page 1

March 2019

A true story about metastatic breast cancer


*Northwest Health Physicians’ Specialty Hospital is owned, in part, by physicians.

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D. Heath Stacey, MD | J. Alex Kelamis, MD


At Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics you’ll discover that we go the extra mile for our patients! From the moment you see our office, you’ll know what we mean. We have a fully themed environment that is comforting and fun for your children. We offer preventive, restorative, and orthodontic services for kids ages 0-18. We also specialize in dental care for children with special needs.

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Fayetteville: 479-582-0600

Bentonville: 479-268-5000


We accept all insurances and we are in-network with Delta Dental, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, ARKids, Delta Dental Smiles, and MCNA. 4 March 2019

We are privileged to introduce Kelsey Gilley, CNM to Lifespring Women’s Healthcare

Kelsey Gilley, CNM As a Certified Nurse Midwife, Kelsey will see patients for gynecoligic care, pregnancy and deliver at Northwest Health-Bentonville.

Katie Beal, MD

She has experience in both Hospital-based and Birth center-based deliveries. She will be working closely with Northwest Health-Bentonville, providing education and patient care as we develop Northwest Arkansas’ first hospital based low intervention birth program that is lead and supported by our Midwife and Physician Providers and utilizes the full spectrum of alternative pain relief and team-based birth approach.


Family KIMBERLY ENDERLE Editor-in-Chief | 479-957-0532

JONATHON ENDERLE Creative Director | 479-586-3890

Kim and Jonathon with Gwen, Holden, Grant and Ava Enderle. PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURPHY IMAGES

DISTRIBUTION/ CIRCULATION Joyce Whitaker Judy Evans Marcedalia Salinas

Jeremy Whitaker Michelle Dodson

Peekaboo Publications

FRANCES WILSON Assistant Editor

BEN LACY Dad’s View



PO Box 1036 Bentonville, Arkansas 72712 Please send inquiries to: or call 479-957-0532 Peekaboo may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the magazine.

PEEKABOO Northwest Arkansas accepts writing contributions

6 March 2019

DAVID HOVEY Story Design

ANA ORTIZ Social Media Photography

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MARCH 2019


14 Emotions About Taking Charity During a Hardship by: Nick Gatlin

14 22 28 30 32 42

Emotions About Taking Charity During a Hardship by: Nick Gatlin

She Deserves So Much More by: Danielle Keller

Spring Break Staycation by: Meagan Ruffing

Instagram Photo Spots Answering the Call by: Ann Meythaler

Journey to Becoming a Lactation Consultant: Tips for Nursing Moms by: Pam McArthur

On the Cover Karis, 6 and Cooper, 10. Children of Patrick and Lisa of Springdale Photo by: Lazer Lee Photography

10 March 2019

Open Letter to a Minivan Manufacturer (From an American Mom) By: Rhonda Franz

46 48 50 52 56 58 60

50 Bradley and DSCNWA by: Danielle Pezely

Business Spotlight: Luncher by: Edwin Ortiz

Low-Intervention Birthing Bradley and DSCNWA by: Danielle Pezely

Dad’s View with Ben Lacy

Restore the Home by: Lauren Smothers

Gifts from Heaven by: Angela Pracht

Open Letter to a Minivan Manufacturer (From an American Mom) by: Rhonda Franz


Clothing Provided by Dillard’s in the Promenade in Rogers

Cover Sponsored by: Northwest Health

High quality child care looks like


In high quality child care, children learn about the printed word at a young age. They see words everywhere in the classroom.

Making Their Mark Your Child’s Journey to Writing What begins as scribbles will one day be your child’s expression of his thoughts and creativity. Here’s how you can help make that happen: Read to your baby every day. The spoken word is nutrition for your baby’s brain development just as milk is food for her bones. By age 1, she will have a vocabulary of about 70 words, but she may choose to use only a few.

Children’s names and photos are posted at their cubbies. Calendars and charts show schedules. Trained caregivers share stories and point out words in books. Even their art supplies are labeled. Using crayons and markers helps children develop the fine motor skills they need to write. By age 3, most children understand that pictures and writing are tools for communication.

Lead him to letters. Display his name in his room. Provide alphabet blocks and books. Sing the alphabet song. Point to words as you read to him. Help him make the connection between marks on paper and the real world. Provide writing tools. Using crayons, pencils and markers is a step toward writing words. A flattened cardboard box or paper grocery bag makes a fine canvas. Barely gripping a crayon gives way to holding a pencil between the thumb and forefinger between ages 2 and 3. Show him the importance of writing through dramatic play. Pretend the main character of the story has to write a lot. Is he a police officer, a waiter, shopkeeper, receptionist, doctor, news reporter or teacher? Model writing daily. Children love to imitate. Let him see you write. Around age 3, his scribbles will begin to look like letters. He may draw something and tell you what it is. First comes the drawing, then the name. Praise her drawing and writing efforts. Between ages 3 and 5, she will plan the picture before she draws it. She has reached a milestone! She has mastered symbolic thinking. She understands now that the marks on paper are symbols for something else – a cat or a person. Next she’ll read and write!

See the next page for activities to help your child develop the fine motor skills needed for writing. Click here to visit our Resource Library. You’ll find activities and tips to help you prepare your child for life. • 1-800-445-3316

Learn more at

Visit our website to find quality child care that helps children express themselves. • 1-800-445-3316 Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education

If you have a story to share, or an idea for a story, email and be a part of the Peekaboo family!

From the Editor

HERE IS A LOOK AHEAD! _____________________________ APRIL is our 11th annual camp guide preview... which means it’s going to be the biggest and best camp guide yet! Do you have a business that offers camps during the summer months? Email by March 15 to make sure you are included! MAY continues our camp guide, but also pays homage to all of the amazing mommas across Northwest Arkansas. Want to share a special message for a special mom? Email us, at editor@


arch! It feels like 2019 just started, yet we are already sliding into spring break. Before we know it, summer plans will be in full swing! The concept of time “flying by” is never far from my mind. Similarly, I find the saying that “the days are long but the years are short” more relevant now than ever. Despite claims from scientists and mathematicians that there are 24 hours in a day, I am 100 percent sure that something weird and almost “Twilight Zone”-y happens when you take on the role of a parent. Some days last 100 hours, and most years seem to have only a few days. Lately, I have been thinking about the number of times I have not taken my kids’ age into perspective when framing a point of reference. Although that was a long sentence with what seems to be a lot of random words, I will explain what I mean: It is so easy to forget how little your kids are, and so easy to have expectations of them that are beyond what is fair and logical. I am all about realizing that kids (and adults) can far surpass any limits we put on them – and mine are constantly proving that they can do more, and be more, than we give them credit for – but, sometimes, we simply expect too much, and then discipline or make them feel bad when they don’t fulfill those expectations. It’s only when I look back on pictures of my kids from years ago that I realize how truly tiny they were ‘way back when.’ Before I was a mom, I “decided” that my future little ones wouldn’t have to experience the same anxieties I had growing up. They wouldn’t have to learn any hard life lessons because I would give them the tools and answers to

coast through life without any stress or struggles. I figured that in the same way I was passing on my DNA, I could also pass on a fast pass, of sorts, to all the life knowledge they would ever need. I wanted them to take all the lessons I had learned in my three decades on Earth, and apply them, somehow – to learn from my life, my trials, and my experiences. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. As part of my “decision” to never allow them to feel sad or disappointed or hurt, I also wanted to make sure that everyone they came into contact with also saw them for the wonderful, unique people they are. When it comes to my four littles, I protect them in the same way a mama bear protects her cubs (but maybe even more fiercly.) I recently realized, however, that I was working so hard to make sure that their teachers, and friends understood their anxiety and struggles, that I wasn’t letting them just be who they were. I was attempting to make sure they were seen as “okay,” while trying to make sure the world appreciated them for their “flaws.” I was playing both sides. I wanted them to feel at peace with themselves but at the same time I was insulating peoples’ reaction to them. I wasn’t allowing them to figure out how to cope with other’s natural reaction towards their behavior. I was asking people to offer them grace and understanding as part of that “fast pass”, but asking for the grace was just me not fully accepting them and trying to create unnecessary perfection. I am an over-explainer, which is why I am drawn to writing, but I have learned over the past few months that some things don’t need to be explained, or even fixed.

I was constantly trying to change the aspects of the environment my kids were in (classroom, birthday parties, etc) - EVERY SINGLE environment. But, really, if a child doesn’t immediately feel comfortable in an environment, maybe we should sit, for just a moment, and trust our kids. Let them explore and make their mark on every situation, even if it isn’t the easiest, or one catered perfectly to them. Help them to learn how to be confident, happy, and find joy in every single situation they encounter. Will this be an easy task for the momma who not only helicopters, but craddles her kids and carries them around in bubble wrap? Not so much, but I am up for the challenge.

Mark Your Calendars

7th Annual Kidsfest with Peekaboo and Peppa Pig Saturday, May 11th 9am - 2pm Downtown Bentonville We are so excited to announce that Peppa Pig willl be headlining this year’s Kidfest block party! Come to a meet-and-greet with Peppa, and stay for photo opportunities, crafts with the whole gang, and great giveaways, and be the first to watch brand-new episodes to be streamed for the first time anywhere! This is in addition to the wonderful birthday party venues that will be set up at the event, intended to give your children the opportunity to preview the types of birthday parties offered across the area. They’ll be able to pick the perfect one for them easily! If you have a business that hosts parties, makes cakes or desserts for parties, as well as balloons, decorations or other activities, and want to be involved, email for more details!

Until next time ... Kim Enderle

Wife. Dog Lover. Razorback Fan. Travel Enthusiast. Physician. Amy Scott, MD Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Amy Scott values the long-term relationships she forms with her patients. Whether delivering a baby, making someone feel better through surgery, or helping manage menopause symptoms, there is nothing more satisfying to Dr. Scott than helping a patient be healthy and happy. Being a woman isn’t always easy, but having a physician who is passionate about women’s health makes the difficult days much easier. If you’re looking for a physician who gets you, Dr. Scott is just a phone call away.



Emotions Charity ABOUT TAKING


By: Nick Gatlin Danielle and I met on her birthday, and got engaged nine months later. We were married three months after that, and were pregnant in another five. The comments we often got included “Billboard Top Ten Classics” such as:

“Wow. You Guys Don’t Waste Any Time Do You?” “Were You Trying To Get Pregnant?” “Whoa, Slow Down!” And, my personal favorite…

“Shotgun Wedding, Eh?” Nothing fazed us, of course. We were madly in love from the day we met. Never had either of us been so sure of anything in our lives. Danielle and I continue to just “fit.” So, blissful as I was, I already knew my daughter would be beautiful, a musician, an athlete, a valedictorian, a PhD, and most likely the future President of the United States. Yep, this was my first child. I was over the moon, and things could not be more perfect. Of course, whenever things cannot be more perfect, life tends to throw you curve balls. It was 14 March 2019

in a room at my wife’s trendy gynecologist’s office when excitement turned to dread. I was staring at a very hip-looking baby portrait on the wall when we heard her say, “Your child has a condition called...” Having never heard the word that followed before that day, my mind went 20 places at once, and about 1000 miles per hour before the doctor even ended her sentence. Will my baby survive? Is it fixable? Would she be handicapped for life? Is her mental capacity okay? Will my wife be okay? One look at Danielle and I knew she was having a similar experience.

The word that followed was “gastroschisis.” Our gyno went on to explain that our daughter’s abdomen had not fully closed in the womb, and her intestines would be on the outside of her body when she was born. If my mind was already going 1000 miles per hour, it had now begun traveling at near the speed of light – the engine was smoking, the seatbelt alert was dinging, and I had just spilt coffee all over my lap. The doctor tried to put our minds at ease. We learned lots of facts about how our baby would one day be okay, and normal. That was great news, but the shock of knowing that our pregnancy, the birth, and the months to come would be anything but normal still left me holding my wife’s head as she cried into my chest about five minutes later.

About four months after that, I stood, holding Danielle’s hand and thinking that watching a C-section is one of the craziest things I have ever seen. I am not squeamish, but, geez, no one told me they would be so violent, shoving their hands around inside my wife’s body. And I thought the birthing video they showed us in high school was bad.

baby than they were on my wife. They were putting a plastic bag called a silo over Lily’s exposed insides, so that they would slowly work their way back down on their own. The nurses were moving fast to get her cleaned up and get her IV’s in. She was crying uncontrollably, so, without thinking, I started talking to her, and she seemed to calm down.

A sterile blue curtain separated my wife’s field of view from her abdomen. I looked down at her and asked, “Do you feel okay?”

One of the nurses said, “Look, she recognizes Daddy’s voice!” This was easily one of the most giddy moments of my life. Not only had I been called “Daddy” for the first time, but my daughter knew who I was, and I was calming her.

She said, “I just feel a little pressure.” Sure is a good thing, I thought, because you do not want to know what kind of carnage is taking place right now. She was fine, of course, and this was all routine. Despite my sheer shock and inner dialogue, I just smiled and told her she was doing great. Then, all of a sudden, they told us we had a baby. Lily Grace Gatlin had been born. Danielle, unfortunately, did not even get to see her before Lily was immediately rushed to the adjacent room, where an entirely separate team of surgeons was ready to operate on her. The idea, I hoped, was to be much gentler on my

I have to admit, maybe it was because I was floored by this fact, or maybe it because she was crying her little eyes out because of the IV’s, but, for the first time since all of this had begun, I found myself crying. After the procedure, and after showing my wife pictures of the baby in her recovery room, I accompanied my daughter as she was rolled into what would end up being her home for the next four weeks: a “pod” in the NICU. It had a window, an adjoining neighbor baby, and a big crowd of professionals to whom someone was routinely reading out her chart.

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I was listening intently to all of this medical jargon when, suddenly, someone called the emergency responders. I heard, “Come on, Lily,” as they massaged air into her lungs. She had stopped breathing. As what was happening slowly dawned on me, a nurse practitioner came over and asked if I would like to have a seat. I said no. “Are you sure?” she asked. I must have looked white as a ghost. She said that everything was under control, and the morphine she had been given during surgery sometimes makes babies stop breathing. A counteractive drug was being given and a machine was being hooked up that breathed for her. I knew I was not supposed to freak out, so I held it all in and gave the indication that this particular new dad over here was not in any danger of having a conniption of any kind. Later, the next day, after she stabilized, my new baby daughter smiled at me, as if to tell me that all was well. Can you believe it? It had been a day filled with ups and downs, and I actually really

needed that small little smile. And, just in case there are any one-day-old-smiling-baby skeptics out there, this dad just so happens to have a picture to prove it. All of this took place at Kansas City Children’s Mercy. It had an excellent reputation, but the experience proved to be better than we could have imagined. The best way to describe Children’s Mercy is to talk about a four year old boy named Liam. Liam is my stepson, Danielle’s first child. In Liam’s possession was a blue, three wheeled plastic scooter my brother gave him when he came to visit the hospital. No staff member ever once stopped him as he joyfully rode it through the halls we walked daily. It is hard to convey how much this completely made his day, every single day. He became famous and was often fondly referred to in elevators or hallways as the “scooter boy.” After Danielle recovered, we ate most of our meals and stayed across the street at the Ronald McDonald House. This wonderful charitable organization gave us room and board completely free. It was a true lifesaver.

Enriching children’s lives by providing high quality care and education in a Christian environment. Our facility is committed to excellence in childcare. We are currently rated a Level 3 facility in the Better Beginnings quality initiative program. 805 West Olrich St. | Rogers, Arkansas 72756 | 479-621-5683 | 16 March 2019

Every time my plate was filled, whether it was with delicious stew, mediocre poor-boys, a very welcome homecooked roast with vegetables, or the unfortunately repetitive “breakfast for dinner,” I always smiled gratefully at that day’s volunteer hosts, and thanked them. But, there was something eating at me. I was finding it just a little hard to look in the eye of the people who so kindly gave of their time and money; a little difficult to hold much of a conversation with them, and not to eat fast and get out quickly. At first, I was not entirely sure why, but I slowly came to realize that it was pure shame. I was ashamed to be in such a position. To have to accept help from someone somehow ate at the core of who I thought I was. After all, Danielle and I were self-sufficient, hardworking, money-saving, middle-class people that probably deserved other illustrious dash-filled adjectives. We were not supposed to be accepting charity, right? I couldn’t work it out in my mind. This didn’t seem right, either. We had already done the math in our heads. We were estimating that, if it were not for the crew at RMDH, we would be spending over $6,500 in hotel charges, and at least $3,000 in meals. That kind of money was by no means chump change for us. Not to mention, we knew that steep medical bills would be coming in soon. We were in

a tough situation and were truly in need, weren’t we? Of all the times to accept charity, shouldn’t this be it? I had not even brought up my feelings to Danielle. I was not wholly sure of how I felt yet, anyway. Only later would I begin to flesh it all out. Lily was a small baby, but the nurses often laughed about how she was so strong that her little legs could push her all the way up the bed, and she could hold her head up almost immediately after she was born. This was to her disadvantage, at first. For a week Lily went on to have six “redos” with the silo because she was so squirmy that she kept bucking it out. Once they finally got her closed up, though, her strength worked to her advantage. She healed in record time. After three weeks, a week before Thanksgiving, we got to go home. We certainly had a lot to be thankful for. Unfortunately, after the family came to visit for Christmas, Lily came down with the cold virus, RSV (ha, thanks family). This is serious for newborns, so, after watching her get worse and worse, we finally had to take her in to Washington Regional, our local hospital. A few dear friends came to visit us on New Year’s Eve, since we spent it in the hospital. Lily got better in about a week and we were sent home once again. Unfortunately, we would be back for something more serious very soon. After staying up all night, worried, and Lily throwing up and not getting better, we headed back to Kansas City where they knew her history. Boy, were we glad we did.

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We were not in the ER of KC Children’s Mercy for more than thirty minutes before in through the door walks our favorite doctor, Justin. He just happened to be on shift, and he was certainly a sight for sore eyes. After lots of careful prodding and X-rays, he had the answer. Lily had not healed perfectly and the RSV had complicated the issue. She had an intestinal blockage. Once again, we found ourselves on a long hospital stay, away from work for weeks, and once again our little girl was about to have surgery. By this time, the medical bills had already started to pile up. Our out-of-pocket max had reset on the new year. It would surely max out again, landing us with twice the medical bill we expected. And, what was more, Danielle had exhausted her maternity leave. In order to stay with our daughter, she had taken more time off from her new job. Since she had not yet been with the company a year, this caused our insurance to lapse, and, being an independent contractor, I had no insurance. We had kept it upbeat for most of this experience, but it was safe to say at this point that not only were we depressed, we were royally screwed. We were potentially looking at many tens of thousands in medical debt. Along the line, someone suggested a GoFundMe. No, I thought, I was uncomfortable enough taking charity from the Ronald McDonald House. Why did this feel so wrong, to ask our friends and family for money when we were in the direst need? That is really when it hit me. Once I started to dig at this feeling, I realized where the pride I had truly came from. For a long time, I had secretly disapproved of others when they were asking for help. I had come from a city where you saw people asking for money on the street every day. I had become so jaded to it. Riding by them in my car, I would avert my gaze and pretend not to notice them. This was especially true when I suddenly started seeing them in Northwest Arkansas, where the economy was so good. I thought to myself that there was no excuse for not having a job in this town. Deep down, my pride about handling things myself came from the fact that I believed others should handle things themselves. But why should we always have to do everything ourselves? Doesn’t

that defeat the purpose of community? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of love itself? It does not matter what someone’s story is. Giving one’s time or money requires that you do it with love. That means unconditionally, without judgment or questions, doesn’t it? Would it really hurt me to give five or ten bucks to someone on the street, even if I suspected that their intentions weren’t entirely honest? How many charities had I scrolled by on Facebook, or in my email? And that was just regarding people that were in my face asking for something. What about those in need that I didn’t see? Those who were hungry, or without heat in the winter? Those in my town who just needed a little of my time to make things better? Those in poverty in other countries I had walked by on vacation? For that matter, how many of my friends needed help with something, but were too embarrassed to ask? How many had asked and I had been too busy for them? How many times had I been too busy to help my wife with the dishes or laundry, or to play with my son? I now knew why Danielle was fine with accepting charity. She was a way better person than I was. We had accepted room and board from a large charity. Wonderful as it was, it probably helped a certain major corporation with a huge tax writeoff. But, if I was going to do this, if I was going to accept hard earned money from friends and family, I knew I had to become a better citizen, a better husband and father – a better human being. In the end, I did what was best for my family. We let our friend set up the GoFundMe. Though we have not yet come close to our goal, many wonderful people, friends and strangers, have given. And while there will be many thank-you messages and cards, I think the best way to say thank you is to pay it forward. So far, since I’ve been back this last week, I signed up to help with my local Habitat for Humanity, dedicated more time to help my friend start a business, contributed to a charity to plant trees I saw on Facebook, and, lo and behold, I even helped my wife around the house a little more. I know I’ll be contributing for a while to pay it forward for all the help my family has received, but this is a good start. Gastroschisis is increasing worldwide and happens

to about 1 in 2,500 babies in the U.S. These days it is not terribly hard to fix in developed countries, but kills children every day in the third world. Doctors are still trying to figure out the cause. It might not be this particular disease, but we discovered that, these days, quite a lot of people-people you know, or perhaps you, yourself--go through something like this when having a child. Though that hospital was the best I have ever experienced, our medical and insurance system in general is badly broken, and costs are inflated. People go into huge amounts of debt, and, worse, do not get the best care they could because of these costs and limitations with the current insurance system. Something has to change. I hope my writing this has inspired you to be more open to giving wherever you see a need. Moreover, I hope reading this has made you less ashamed to ask for help when you need it. They should go hand in hand, in my opinion. Many people have said that if we all gave more and relied on each other more, the world would be a better place. It is hard to argue with that. After all, given enough time, we all eventually end up in need of someone else’s good nature. John Lennon said, “It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.”

Nick Gatlin

works as a real estate agent in Bentonville, AR.

Lily had the surgery she needed, and we are so thrilled to finally have her home. She is three months old and better than we have ever seen her. She finally seems comfortable after eating, and Danielle and I have never seen her more content and happy.

We see a lot more of those smiles now.

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SO MUCH MORE. A true story about metastatic breast cancer When you meet Lisa Quinn for the first time, you see a woman with a bright smile, big earrings, and a great sense of style. As you get to know her better, you find out she loves old school rap, dancing, and cheetah prints. You will learn she grew up here in Northwest Arkansas, is a Razorback fan, and loves hanging out with friends at Theo’s. You will see that she is a typical fun mom to Cooper, 10, and Karis, 6, a wife to Patrick, likes to attend sporting events and go on vacations. What you won’t notice, but will find out, is that Lisa has an incurable, terminal disease called metastatic breast cancer, also known as stage IV breast cancer. It’s a disease that takes the lives of 116 people daily in the U.S. alone. It’s a disease that has a median life expectancy of three years. It’s a dis e as e that will take Lisa’s life.

By Danielle Keller Photos by Lazer Lee Photography

Lisa grew up in Springdale, and graduated from Springdale High School in 1997. She obtained a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Arkansas, and married Patrick in 2001. Lisa loved teaching at Walker Elementary School in Springdale, where she spent all 14 years of her teaching career. In 2015, Lisa made the decision to take a year off teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. Little did she know how her life was about to drastically change. “One evening, in July of 2015, my husband and I were sitting on our back patio when I felt three stabbing pains in my right breast. I soon felt a tiny hard knot up underneath it. I decided to call my doctor the next morning, and was in his office 45 minutes later. My doctor was concerned when I showed him, and that afternoon I ended up having my first mammogram and an ultrasound. I was 36 years old. At the end of the ultrasound, a doctor came in and looked at the images. She then told me that she thought I had cancer,” Quinn said, when describing the start of her story. Lisa and her family and friends were in shock. Lisa’s family had no history of breast cancer. She had no reason to believe or think she could have cancer. The next several days were a whirlwind as she underwent biopsies that confirmed that she had breast cancer. She met with a nurse and discussed having genetic testing done, and scheduled a breast MRI. Her MRI revealed seven

22 March 2019

tumors in her right breast and possibly another lymph node with cancer in it. After meeting with a breast surgeon and an oncologist, she was set to start chemo and then have a double mastectomy. Before her treatment, she had a PET scan to rule out that the cancer had spread to other places in her body. Unfortunately, the scan showed that the breast cancer had already spread to her bones in 5 places. Lisa was diagnosed on July 26, 2015 with

stage IV breast cancer, also known as metastatic breast cancer. Lisa’s reaction was not surprising, “After I found out that I was stage IV, I became very depressed. I stopped eating, I lost a lot of weight, cried a lot, and basically stopped living my life in many ways. I

Turn the page...

thought that I was going to die soon. I didn’t believe that I had any control over my life, and was ready to give up. All I could think about was leaving my children, who were three and six at the time. Like all mothers, I had plans with my children. I never dreamed that I wouldn’t see them grow up. I realized that the chances weren’t good that I would see my daughter go on her first date, or watch my son play baseball in high school. In fact, it will be a miracle if I see him graduate from elementary school. I know that the chances of seeing them get married are slim to none.” As moms, we want to see our kids grow up. We want those memories, experiences, and treasured moments. There is so much joy in watching your kids grow and change and become who they are meant to be. Lisa is going to miss out on a lot. Metastatic breast cancer is when the breast cancer metastasizes (spreads) to other parts of the body. It most commonly spreads to the bones, liver, lungs and brain. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. One in three women who have early stage breast cancer will progress to stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer, even after chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation and/ or surgeries. There is no cure. Metastatic breast cancer is the only breast cancer that kills. It’s also not selective. Women (and men) are being diagnosed every day, no matter their age and overall health. And 116 of them are dying every day. EVERY DAY. This is a number that continues to go up over the last three decades. So much more needs to be done. “A couple of months after my diagnosis, I was able to connect with hundreds of other men and women living with this disease through Facebook. I saw some people who had been living well beyond the three-year life expectancy and others who only lived a very short time after their diagnosis. That’s when I met Kelli Davis, who I discovered lived only a few miles away. My husband and I decided to meet her, and together we started the Northwest Arkansas Metsquerade to raise money for metastatic breast cancer research.” The Metsquerade is a private fundraiser that donates all proceeds to Metavivor Research & Support, a nonprofit rated four stars by Charity Navigator. This nonprofit uses 100 percent of donations for metastatic breast cancer treatment

research. Along with three NWA Metsquerade galas, three Runway IV Research events, a Grand Night of Giving event, micro fundraisers (led by friends and local organizations like Beers and Hymns and local businesses like FreeRide Studio), and the National METAribbon Challenge, close to one million has been raised to date. One of those sweet fundraisers came in the form of a lemonade stand Lisa’s daughter ran this past summer that gained national attention, and was featured on ABC World News Tonight. Lisa advocates locally, and has also advocated nationally at the Washington Capitol for more metastatic breast cancer treatment research, for the Right to Try act, and for securing more money from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense for all metastatic cancers. She served on a steering committee with Metavivor and the Metastasis Research Society on a PatientCentered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Grant that presented its results at Moffit Cancer Institute in Tampa, Florida last June. Lisa hopes that the advocacy and money raised will benefit future generations. About 18 months ago, Lisa received news that the breast cancer had spread to her liver. Since then, she has had a scan every two to three months to make sure her cancer is not growing or spreading. In January 2019, Lisa received news that her cancer was growing and treatment would need to change… again. “I will be in treatment for the rest of my life. Stage IV breast cancer has a median life expectancy of three years from diagnosis. I hit that three-year mark this past July. I am currently on my 8th different treatment, which is IV chemo, and, as of right now, it is my last option.” Lisa and many others deserve so much more. They deserve better treatment, and longer lives to be with the ones they love. Lisa will not SURVIVE metastatic breast cancer. But, she will thrive and live her life the best she can with the time she has left, with the people she loves, and through her advocacy work for metastatic breast cancer.

Join Lisa and many others at the 4th Annual Northwest Arkansas Metsquerade Gala as they push for more treatment research in order to make this terminal disease into a chronic one with a good quality of life. You can purchase sponsorships, tables, individual tickets, and donate money or auction items at 24 March 2019




4th Annual Northwest Arkansas

4th Annual Northwest Arkansas 4th Annual Northwest Arkansas 4th Annual Northwest Arkansas





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5H Photography FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL or call LISAMORE QUINNINFORMATION 479.790.4826EMAIL | KELLI DAVIS 479.644.5258 FOR or call FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL or call LISA QUINN 479.790.4826 | KELLI DAVIS 479.644.5258 LISA QUINN 479.790.4826 | KELLI DAVIS 479.644.5258

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By: Meagan Ruffing

n o i t a n c o i } y a t y S a {{St

The month of March reminds me of a few things: spring break, March Madness basketball, sunnier weather, and spring cleaning. My family has always stayed home during this month’s school vacation, but, just a few years ago, a dear friend invited me to Florida to relax on the beach. We loved it so much that we went back the next two years. This year, however, my kids and I will be looking forward to an “oldy but a goody” this March… the staycation. Staycations are when you stay home during your vacation. Stay + Vacation = Staycation. I have mixed feelings about staycations. I love the relaxed day-to-day grind of not having to be anywhere at a certain time, but I get nervous thinking about the bickering that will inevitably happen between my three kids. At 10, 7, and 5, they sure know how to go from the sweetest of babes to the scariest of human beings in the short amount of time it takes me to make a quick phone call. It’s impressive. It’s okay, though, because I have a plan. In fact, I’ve devoted this entire article to sharing all of my ideas with you about what you can do to make your staycation a fun one. Enjoy!

S – Swing at the park. Don’t

limit yourself to just one park. Make a day out of it, and go to as many parks as you can, or let each kid pick a park they want to go to. This is a great way to get everyone outside, explore your city, and burn off energy. You can also pack

yourself a picnic and make your day at the park one that your kids will never forget. This might be the first time your child swings by herself, or the last time your child fits into the baby swing. Whatever season of parenting you’re in, let it be a memorable one.

T – Trails. Hit up the local trails in your

town for a long walk or hike. If you’re new to this type of outdoor fitness, like I am, don’t worry – start simple. Make sure everyone has their sneakers on, a lightweight backpack to put snacks and a water bottle in, and you’re good to go. Make it an adventure and print out a scavenger hunt sheet from Pinterest to add to the fun.

A – Aquatics Center. Who

doesn’t like to swim? My kids love it, and they’ll be the first in line to jump off the high board. It’s probably too cold to swim outside in March, so visit your local Community Center and enjoy playing with your kids in the pool. Swimming is more than just something fun to do. There are so many health benefits to it, and your kids will sleep great at night. It’s a win-win spring break thing to do.

Y – Yes Day. Every kid should get to

experience a ‘Yes’ day. Within reason, say yes to whatever your kids ask of you that day. “Mom. Can I have two cookies?” Yes. “Mom. Can we play outside?” Yes. “Mom. Can we watch a

movie?” Yes. If you’re faced with a request you don’t feel comfortable saying yes to (“Mom, can I have a hundred dollars?”) rephrase it to make it applicable to your lifestyle. “What do you need a hundred dollars for? Sure. Let’s play Monopoly and you can have several hundred dollars right off the bat.”

C – Clean out the closets. I

know this probably doesn’t sound like much fun, but you can make it fun. Make a pile for each one of your kids that says ‘Toss,’ ‘Donate,’ or ‘Sell.’ Make three simple signs with a marker and white paper, and lay them on the floor. Give your kids instructions on things that might go into each pile. Depending on the ages of your children, you may need to stay with them in their rooms while they do this. Teach them the logic behind clearing out clutter and making room for new things – or, simply downsizing. You can’t have a staycation spring break without at least one day of cleaning. Think of a reward you can do afterwards for everyone’s hard work.

A – Arts & Crafts. We love arts and

crafts so much in our family that we have entire areas devoted just to storing different kinds of materials. Part of the pantry is designated for playdough, beads, and slime, while one of the cupboards in the laundry room holds mountains of coloring books, crayons, and markers. Your staycation is the perfect time to break out those freshly sharpened pencils and use up random stickers that have found their way into your home.

T – Take the dogs for a walk. This was part of our family’s New Year’s Resolution, and I’m proud to say that we have stuck to it! Use this time at home with your kids to make a new routine or continue a new habit like walking the dogs. Don’t have dogs? That’s okay. You can get outside and take a walk as a family. The weather might be nice enough to get the bikes out, and your youngest might even ask you to take her training wheels off. Staycations can be a time when firsts happen.

I – Ice Cream. Take your kids to get

their favorite milkshakes or sundaes. Take turns trying samples of different flavors and make sure you get a cone for yourself. Kids like to see their parents joining in on the fun.

O – Outside. Need I say more? Kids do

best when they are able to use their imaginations. Get them outdoors where the possibilities are

endless. A breath of fresh air always brings new thoughts and energy, and what better time to get your kids outside than during a staycation? It’s way more fun to go outdoors when you have no time limits.

N – Netflix & Naps. Everyone needs

to hunker down from time to time. Use this year’s staycation to watch your kids’ favorite movie or start a new family-friendly television series. Better yet, include naps in your daily schedule and carve in time for more ‘margin’ in your life, as well as your kids’ lives. Rest is good for everyone. Use this year’s spring break staycation list to get your creative juices flowing. You never know, staycations might be your new favorite thing. Parenting Journalist Meagan Ruffing, is looking forward to her kids’ school break this year so she can try new things and revisit old favorites with the ones she loves. To read more of Meagan’s family-oriented articles, visit her at

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Answering THE CALL


ife is better lived in community. I’m a firm believer that just about every difficult thing we could ever have to endure in this life gets a little bit more bearable when we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who love us, support us, and can understand the battles we’re fighting. Knitting together a beautiful community of foster parents who can link arms and walk through this foster parent journey together is one of the best things about my job with The CALL in NWA. When I first opened my home to foster care almost 10 years ago, I didn’t know any other foster parents. There was no one to call with questions about court, parental visits, behaviors I wasn’t used to, or resources to utilize. I didn’t have anyone who understood what I was going through, and could commiserate with me without telling me I signed up for this, and should just quit if it was getting too hard. Foster care was something I was called to, and wasn’t something I could easily walk away from… but it was very lonely and isolating in so many ways. Fast forward to a few years after my home was opened, and The CALL had been launched in NWA. We were wrapping up our first full training class. It was so amazing to see these ten families bonded together and supporting one another in their passion for opening their homes. What I saw happening within their group was so different from my own training experience. The comradery I saw forming within this group was incredible. They were all strangers when they started this process, but, by the end of their 30 hours of certification training, they were friends. They cheered each other on, supported one another, and checked in on each other.

story by: Ann Meythaler photo by: Lisa Mac Photography

The benefits of living life in community with others isn’t a new concept, but to knit together our foster and adoptive parents required some intentionality. We started with creating a secret group on Facebook, and added each of our homes as they were open. This allowed our homes to reach out to a broader group of foster parents, who wouldn’t otherwise have known who might have advice, encouragement, and experiences (good or not so good) to share. This one step helped our foster parents immediately feel less isolated. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day battles and forget to look up to find others fighting those same battles – and remember that you’re not actually alone in this fight. Not alone in the behaviors you’re working though… not alone in navigating trauma in little hurting hearts... not alone in working through the confusion and jealousy in your biological kids… not alone in your friends and family not understanding (and sometimes being less than supportive)… and not alone in the heartbreak of foster care. It’s hard, but anything God calls us to, I’ve found, He’s also called others to as well. As we have worked tirelessly to make sure our homes don’t feel alone, we noticed an unexpected trend happening: the more we supported our homes, and the more satisfied they felt in carrying out their foster care mission, the more the people in their circle who had been watching from the sidelines felt the tug to open their own homes. Once they saw foster care demystified and lived out right in front of them. it didn’t seem so scary. Once they knew they wouldn’t be alone, it became more doable. Making this thing more doable is exactly what we need. In Northwest Arkansas, there are currently almost 600 children in foster care, and right around

200 homes to care for them. There simply aren’t enough homes to care for all the children who need someplace safe to go. The CALL’s mission is to educate, encourage, and equip the Christian community to provide a future and a hope for children in foster care in Arkansas. We do this with an eye on our vision of ‘no waiting children in foster care in Arkansas.’ Sometimes the equipping and education pieces of our mission take the main focus, but my favorite part has always been the encouraging. For my part, that encouraging often comes in the form of supporting families and kids in whatever capacity they may need it. A few weeks ago, a foster mom reached out with what felt like an impossible thing to ask for. She was hesitant to even ask. Her family had taken a foster placement recently, and wanted to be able to take him on the upcoming family cruise they had planned before he moved in with him, but the cost and immediate deadline threatened to make that impossible. The alternative was to leave him behind while they all went on the cruise, and he’d hear all about it when they got back. Thankfully, I was able to make one quick

plea on social media, and, within a few hours, the entire need (plus spending money!) was met. That evening, she sent me a video of them surprising him and telling him that he was going to be able to join them on the cruise. That video had me in tears. This is one of the reasons why we do what we do. We recruit and train foster and adoptive homes, but then we also have the honor and privilege of stepping in to help fill those needs that remind our homes that they’re not alone--that the things that matter to their hearts and to the hearts of the children in their home also matter to us, and to God. The CALL in NWA is participating in NWA Gives on April 4th. If you would like to help us continue to further our mission and vision we would love you have you partner with us financially on that day, as we’ll be working to earn matching grants. You can also make a onetime donation or sign up for monthly giving by texting GivingLove to 41444 and designating it to the NWA affiliate. You can also find information about our upcoming foster and adopt inquiry meetings on our website NWA


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March Calendar

Great American Cleanup

March 1-31 Keep Arkansas Beautiful As part of the annual Keep America Beautiful™ Great American Cleanup®, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) invites Arkansans to organize or volunteer in a local cleanup between March 1 and May 31. Communities and groups are invited to sign up to organize a local cleanup this year at Cleanup organizers can use KAB’s free, print-ready promotional items to help recruit volunteers and learn how to organize a cleanup. Resources are available at KABClean. Volunteers can find local cleanups on the calendar of events at KABevnt. The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas runs March through May.

Arkansas Razorback Gymnastics Meet - American Girl Doll Party and Stuffed Animal Night

March 1 | 6:45-8:45pm Here’s your chance to bring your favorite doll or stuffed animal to the party. All kids 12 and under can register to win one of six American Girl Dolls, plus Razorback Gymnastics will welcome back former gymnasts with an alumni appreciation recognition. Following the meet, all kids 12 and under can enjoy a post-meet dance party on the floor.Season tickets start at just $25 and can be purchased by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 1-800-982-4647

Rogers Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Free In-Store Event at Target

March 2 | 10-11:30am Come celebrate with readings of What Pet Should I Get? at the top of every half hour, Dr. Seuss giveaways, fun activities and more.

Rogers Free Kids Fishing Activities at Bass Pro Shop March 2 |12-5pm Bass Pro Shop, Promenade, Rogers

36 March 2019

Try to catch a fish in the catch and release pond, participate in the free bait toss bean bag game, get a free photo download and color a wooden fish puzzle craft. Free bobber tin box to the first 100 to participate in the catch and release pond, bait toss game and photo download.

Fit Moms at Northwest

(Free Postpartum Fitness Class) March 5 | 3:30-8pm Willow Creek, Johnson This is a postpartum fitness mom’s class that will lead to self-definition and empowerment for participants, which itself spreads within the family unit and beyond. This is a twelve-week program starting at six weeks postpartum with babies welcome. This class is offered in “Open Gym” (come & go) format on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-8:00pm every week. No equipment needed. Call (479) 684-3255

Pea Ridge Anniversary Living History March 8 at 12pm – March 10 at 3pm Pea Ridge National Military Park Living history on the original Leetown battlefield.

Girls Night Out

March 14 | 5-8pm Main Street Siloam Springs Stop, shop, and dine in downtown Siloam Springs! Stop by Tintos & Tapas from 5:00 - 6:30pm for refreshments, gift card giveaways, and to visit our sponsors! Shop at our participating businesses!

Razorback Gymnastics Meet - St. Pat’s with the Gymbacks

March 16 | 5:45-7:45pm Lucky you… we’re giving away St. Patrick’s themed T-shirts to the first 500 fans, plus neon green glowsticks to use during opening ceremonies. Celebrate with us as we recognize and honor our seniors following the meet. Season tickets start at just $25 and can be purchased by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 1-800-982-4647

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March Calendar


Spring Break Camp

March 18-22 | 9am-3pm Amazeum, Bentonville Spring break is a blast at the Amazeum! Join us for a week-long adventure filled with unconventional hands-on experiences. Ages: 6-11 years. Advanced registration and payment required

The Kids’ Table - Apple Seeds Spring Break Camp

March 18-22 | 9am-12:30pm Apple Seeds, Inc. 2648 North Old Wire Rd, Fayetteville Kids will garden, harvest fresh ingredients from our gardens, and make a garden fresh lunch inside our Teaching Kitchen. A healthy morning snack will be provided, along with a full lunch that kids will prepare themselves. This is a week-long session from March 18-22. The Kids’ Table is for kids ages 7-15 years old.

Kite Festival

March 23 Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Eureka Springs Enjoy high-flying fun for the family! Bring your own kite or make one on-site with the experts at KaleidoKites of Eureka Springs. Enjoy food vendors, contests, music and fun activities for parents and children alike. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Kite Festival!

Spring Break Fun

Worms Eat My Garbage- Vermicomposting March 23 | 10:30- 11:45am Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks Don’t let your food waste go to waste! Join Joanne Olszewski, co-author of Worms Eat

Library Story Times: Bentonville Public Library: Fayetteville Public Library: Springdale Public Library: Rogers Public Library: Siloam Springs Library:

My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain A Worm Composting System, for an educational morning discussing the basics of starting a vermicomposting bin at home. In addition to those fundamentals, Olszewski will teach attendees how to identify the right worm for their compost bin, as well as those that are not compatible and considered invasive. Attendees will leave with a wealth of knowledge on composting food waste along with producing soil amendment for their house plants and gardens! Space is limited and registration is required. Free for members, $15 for non-members


March 29 - March 31 Arend Arts Center, Bentonville They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines... Newsies, the smash-hit, crowdpleasing musical from Disney is a two-time Tony Award®-winning show. Newsies has audiences and critics alike calling it “a musical worth singing about!” (The New York Times). Filled with one heart-pounding number after another, it’s a high-energy explosion of song and dance you don’t want to miss. March 29 and March 30 at 7pm, March 30 and 31 at 2pm. A Stage One Entertainment Production

Tree Detectives

March 30 | 10:30am-12pm Crystal Bridges, Bentonville (Ages 5-12, Free, Must Register) Explore the trees on the Crystal Bridges trails! Learn tree identification, bark rubbings, and create tree ring art! Free, register online or with Guest Services. One ticket per attendee, children must with with an adult caregiver (ages 5-12)

Worlds Largest Baby Shower

March 30 | 9am – 2pm Jones Center, Springdale The Greatest Show on Birth! Held at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale on March 30th. The World’s Largest Baby Shower brings fun and education to maternity. At this oneday event you’ll find the newest products for babies and make important connections with our community’s top professionals.

A Look Behind the Cover

Cover Location: Alchemy Macarons in the Promenade in Rogers. 40 March 2019

Clothes by “Dillards� in the Promenade in Rogers (479) 936-7984

Photos by Lazer Lee Photography

Journey to Becoming a Lactation Consultant + Tips for Nursing Moms by: Pam McArthur I am often asked, “Why did you become a Lactation Consultant?” It was quite a great stroke of luck, I think, that led me to this profession and calling that I love. I grew up here in NWA, and graduated from Rogers High School. Following my mother and my sister’s footsteps, I went straight into college to become a nurse at the University of Arkansas. I graduated from there in December of 1979, and started right away as a nurse at St. Mary’s in Rogers. A sweet nun, Sister Catherine Dominic, was the person who decided that I belonged on the OB floor, when she discovered I was still working in dietary while in nursing school. She went to the chapel and prayed about where I should work. She came back to the hospital kitchen, and told me the answer that she had she received: “You belong on the floor working with moms and babies.” I started the next day as an aide. I still remember the first birth I saw. I fell in love with Labor and Delivery that day! I was very fortunate that I knew the first pediatrician and first obstetrician in Rogers, as I had been their children’s babysitter as a teen. They took me under their wing and taught me so much. I worked in Labor and Delivery and the NICU for many years, living in 5 different states. When I was in nursing school, we did not learn much about breastfeeding, except the basics, and that did not help much when I was attempting to help mothers who were just figuring out how

to feed their babies. In my own experience, I breastfed my babies, my only difficulty being that all 5 of them were “tongue tied.” Fortunately, I had a pediatrician who would clip their tongues soon after birth. Breastfeeding was easy for me, which, as I learned, is not always the case. When I had been a nurse for 25 years, and was working as the OB Clinical Nurse Specialist for a small hospital in Princeton, MN, which was a part of the University of MN hospital system, I was given the opportunity to become a Lactation Counselor. They sent me to a 40-hour course on breastfeeding at a Mayo Clinic hospital. I thought to myself, “What am I going to learn? I’ve been a nurse for 25 years, and nursed 5 babies of my own!” I left that course, however, wanting to learn even more, so that I could help new moms having difficulties with breastfeeding. A year after I completed the course, I realized that I had the education hours needed, as well as the years of experience working with moms and babies, to sit for my International Board Certified Lactation Consultant exam, so I did. Much to my delight, I passed the exam! An IBCLC is the “gold” standard of breastfeeding help. We must present 75 hours of breastfeeding specific education every 5 years after we first certify, and retest every 10 years. I moved back to NWA in 2005, but there was not an opening at that time for a lactation consultant. Instead, I worked in an OB/GYN office, where I was able to do some consults as a courtesy to their patients, while being their triage nurse.

Soon, a position opened at Mercy Hospital and I transferred there, while also working as a Labor and Delivery and NICU nurse. After a few years of doing this, I realized I was not able to do the lactation part of my job justice, so I requested that I be allowed to do just that, rather than staffing the other units when needed. I was a lactation nurse visiting the new moms and breastfeeding babies at NWMC, as well as visiting the new moms and babies at Mercy in the mornings. I would run over to NWMC in Bentonville and visit the few babies born there, then go to Johnson to WCWH and help the other LCs there. After attending the International Lactation Consultant Association annual meeting in San Diego in 2009, and learning that, in many other states, lactation consultants were seeing moms as outpatients after their discharge from the hospital, I thought, “That is what I would like to do!” I had come to realize that most of the difficulties and uncertainties in breastfeeding came along after discharge from the hospital. I found that I loved being able to help moms through their difficult times, and really felt as if I could make a difference in helping more mothers be successful in their breastfeeding journey. In 2017, I made the decision to no longer be a hospital lactation consultant, and just be an outpatient consultant working out of Women’s Health Associates’ new office. I have taught breastfeeding classes for over 35 years now, as I find that the more prepared a mom and dad are, the easier the breastfeeding journey is. I currently teach at Women’s Health Associates as well as Life Spring Women’s Health. Because I am not a hospital employee, I can see patients no matter where they have delivered their babies. A lot of people do not realize that most insurances

cover at least one visit with a lactation consultant, and some insurances even cover multiple visits. Lactation consults generally do not require a referral from a physician. I work closely with the baby’s pediatricians, sending a copy of my notes to them for each visit. I cannot describe how much it means to me to hear “I couldn’t have done it without you!” I do remind moms that it was them who sought out my help, and that they were the ones who kept going, even when times were not easy. I often say, “Even if I were a millionaire, I would still want to be doing what I do!”

Breastfeeding Tips 1. Do not introduce a bottle until breastfeeding is well established, which is usually about 4 weeks after birth. The reason being, many babies may refuse the breast after feeding from a bottle, as it is easier. If the baby needs to receive supplements for medical reasons, consider spoon, cup or syringe feeding (ideally expressed breastmilk.) 2. During first few weeks, newborns should not be given a pacifier, unless it is for a painful procedure, such as a circumcision. The reason is, newborns are typically very sleepy during the first few weeks, and, if they are having suckling needs, they should be on the breast to establish a good milk supply. 3. It should not be painful to nurse your baby! Tenderness is normal, but pain is not! Seek help from a IBCLC if you have a painful latch. 4. It is normal for newborns to lose weight initially, so don’t panic, or think baby needs anything other that your breast milk. They may lose up to 10% of their birth weight, but should start gaining about an once a day once your milk comes in, 3-5 days after birth.


44 March 2019

500 SE Plaza Avenue Bentonville, Arkansas


Business Spotlight: Luncher



way to a restaurant of your choice, and hunt for ten minutes just to find a place to park. By the time you have your food in front of you, your lunch break is almost over and you need to quickly scarf down your meal. Hopefully, no one took your parking spot at work while you were gone. Now imagine an alternate reality where, at 10am, you receive a notification to put in your lunch order. You select a delicious meal from a curated menu provided by the best restaurants in town, and click ‘order.’ Your meal arrives promptly at your office. Now, you have the freedom to do what you want with your time, because you don’t have to spend your lunch hour getting lunch. That alternate reality is here, and it’s called Luncher. Luncher is a NWA-based company focused on creating an effortless and affordable lunch experience for people. Luncher does this by combining technology with the best local food to create a seamless experience for you... and, what makes it even better--you can get it delivered for FREE. So, what if you still want to get out of the office without having to fight the lunch crowds? Well, you can order lunch to one of their many “Hot Spots” in town, and get lunch delivered there for free. Now you can do things like go to the park and have a nice time reading the book you have been wanting to read, and, when the time comes, your lunch gets delivered right to you.

By: Edwin Ortiz It’s early in the morning. As you start getting ready for your day, you mentally start listing all the things you must do before you get out the door. After the whole family is ready, you realize that, once again, you did not have a chance to make lunch for yourself. As midday approaches, your body starts reminding you of the need for sustenance. You get in your car and make your 46 March 2019

As a parent and a busy professional, I came to the realization that making lunch every day wasn’t an option, but neither was paying expensive delivery fees or wasting an hour getting lunch. That’s why I decided to make it my mission to create a solution for all of us facing this problem. So, next time you find yourself in this predicament, give Luncher a try! It was made for you. To order visit

1st Annual

DEB Project


Get your tickets!

Tickets $15 per person (ticket are limited) SATURDAY

10:00 AM


12:00 PM


For more information contact Sammy Laney


Birthing For women looking for a non-medicated natural childbirth experience, a new Low Intervention Birthing Suite is now open at The Family Birth Place at Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville. The Family Birth Place is the first facility in the state to offer a Low Intervention Birthing Suite with the capabilities of a labor tub, queen-sized bed and nitrous oxide within the hospital. With minimal intervention and technology, the low intervention birth program gives women in labor greater choices in directing their own birthing experience. Willow Creek Women’s Hospital will be opening a similar suite in early spring as well. The Family Birth Place suite offers a queensized Murphy bed, specialized labor tub, shower, birthing stool, labor balls and waterproof, wireless monitoring. The hospital also provides a variety of options for comfort during un-medicated labor, including nitrous oxide for pain relief and anxiety, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit to help laboring women manage pain. “Our team is excited to offer this new service to the community and provide more for our patients,” said Turner Willis, administrative specialist at Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville. “This program gives families the option of a more homelike atmosphere, with hospital resources easily accessible if the need arises.” While offering alternatives to pain management 48 March 2019

and a home-like environment, the addition of a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) adds another dimension to the program. For patients who desire midwifery services, they will have the ability to deliver with a CNM in the hospital. Northwest Health is the only system in the state with fullscope midwives serving. Midwives practice at both The Family Birth Place as well as at Willow Creek. “It’s important for patients to speak with their provider and share their birth goals and any risks to their pregnancy to see if they quality for the Low Intervention Program,” Family Birth Place OB Services Director Whitney Tolbert said. “Our new, state-of-the-art suite offers low-risk patients a comfortable experience for childbirth. The spacious rooms accommodate expectant mothers and their support person to move around and try multiple positions in labor, which can increase comfort and speed progress. We encourage parents to bring music and enjoy a relaxing lowlight ambiance in this spa-like room to help ease discomfort. The Family Birth Place is the first facility in the state to offer a Low Intervention Birth Suite with the capability of a labor tub, queen-sized bed and nitrous oxide within the hospital.” The Low Intervention Suite is available on a firstcome, first-served basis. However, Tolbert said all current labor suites at the hospital are capable of low intervention pain management options and wireless monitoring. What sets the Low

Intervention Suite apart from other suites is the labor tub for water immersion and the queensized, family-friendly bed. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), obstetrician-gynecologists, in collaboration with midwives, nurses, patients and those who support them in labor, can help women meet their goals for labor and birth by using techniques that require minimal interventions and have high rates of patient satisfaction. ACOG stated that evidence suggests, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor, shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries and fewer reports of dissatisfaction with the experience of labor. “Our mission is to provide extraordinary health care to our patients,” Tolbert said. “We provide quality maternal care from the most natural, low-intervention birth to high-risk deliveries.

Our experienced, highly-skilled staff provides a large range of care to meet the patient’s needs and preferences for their birth experience. The Low Intervention Program and Birthing Suite facilitate a natural, home-like environment for patients and families that desire this type of experience.” Use of the low-intervention suite must be discussed and approved by a patient’s healthcare provider. Availability is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information on the program or to speak with a nurse navigator, call (479) 553-1266 today.

y e l d a Br CNWA Bradley & DSCNWA



y e Pezel

ll By: Danie

This life is wonderful and hard, beautiful and scary-- and full of surprises. Surprises. About 3 years ago, my husband Brandon and I lived in Arizona with our 2-year-old daughter, Isabelle. I was pregnant with a baby boy that was due to join us a few weeks after Christmas. That little boy was full of surprises. He decided to come a month early, right before Christmas. We spent the day cuddling our precious baby fresh from heaven, and then introduced him to his enamored big sister. That evening, the pediatrician at the hospital came in and, kindly, but nervously, told us that our son Bradley had some physical attributes that made her suspect he had Down syndrome. I was holding Bradley, trying to process what she’d just told us, and attempting to smile reassuringly to her and Brandon, while tears were rolling down my cheeks. Early in my pregnancy, there were two “soft markers” that sometimes indicate a chromosomal abnormality (a small calcium deposit on his heart and a dilated kidney). Both resolved themselves quickly, and the other many markers of Down syndrome weren’t present, so we completely dismissed any worries we had. Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a chromosomal disorder, resulting in three copies of the 21st chromosome, that occurs in 1 of every 800 births. People with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays and have an increased risk for certain medical conditions. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, almond shaped eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual, and may possess these characteristics

to different degrees, or not at all. Sitting there in the hospital, I was emotionally overwhelmed. We had so many questions about what that meant for him, for his future and for our future. Would he have friends? Would others pick on him? Would he drive, get married or have kids? What health issues would we need to worry about? As we started searching the Internet, we had more and more questions and concerns. What is difficult about getting such a diagnosis is that you instantly start worrying about all aspects of your baby’s life. Of course, with all kids, you have worries for the future, but, for the most part you take those on one at a time. Sleeping through the night, the first time you leave them with a babysitter, kindergarten, sports, making friends, school, career, dating, etc... and after a diagnosis like this, you worry about all of it all at once. One thing we learned is to slow down and be in the present. Yes, we need to plan for the future, and we can advocate for Bradley now and push him to learn good habits and master skills that will help him later, but I have years to worry about what after high school might look like. A friend wisely advised us to never let the fear of the future rob you of the joy of today. This life is wonderful and hard, beautiful and scary-- and full of surprises. Those surprises have strengthened me, taught me, and helped me realize not to take things for granted. In the weeks after Bradley’s birth, we experienced an RSV stay at the hospital, a leukemia scare, and a dependency on oxygen. We quickly realized how precious life

was,- and our priorities shifted to focus more on people than achievements.

website at We are also looking to hire a part-time paid staff member.

When Bradley was almost 3 months old, we got a visit from a woman named Gina from the local Down syndrome chapter (Sharing Down Syndrome in Arizona). She was an angel. Her youngest son, David, who is 30 years old, has Down syndrome, and she shared her life with us-her fears, her hopes, and her dreams for herself, her family, and for David. She brought a picture book of David filled with snapshots of his life, from heart surgery at a few days old, sports teams, prom dates, and picture after picture of his friends. She told us about some things that she thought would be hard, and were, and some things that turned out better than she could have imagined. She taught us not to limit Bradley, to set high expectations, and to fight for him, and that he’ll surprise us over and over again. She validated all of our feelings and left us with hope and someone to turn to that understands. As she left, I told Brandon that one day I wanted to do that for others--I wanted to be a Gina.

Bradley continues to surprise us: his early arrival, his diagnosis, how determined and discerning he is, what new skills he masters every day, and how many strangers he can draw in. We wouldn’t change one thing about him- especially that extra chromosome! That extra chromosome is just a small part of who Bradley is, but, because of that extra chromosome, we are better people and more intentional parents. That extra chromosome will change my kids and how they educate and include others. Because of that extra chromosome, we celebrate big and small accomplishments and we don’t take things for granted. Because of that extra chromosome, we get to work with a team of amazing therapists weekly that love Bradley and help him reach milestones. Because of that extra chromosome, we have been blessed to make many life-long friendships. One in every 800 babies is born with Down syndrome. We definitely hit the jackpot!

Soon after that visit, we moved our family to Arkansas and I attended an amazing event put on by the DSCNWA (Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas) all about ways to explain Down syndrome to your children’s peers and teachers. Through the DSCNWA, we were able to connect with other new and seasoned parents. We learned more about Down syndrome, what programs were available in Arkansas, and how to plan appropriately for Bradley’s future. Having a group to turn to has been (and I know will continue to be) so helpful for us. We hope to now be like Gina and help others. I joined the board of directors in the summer of 2017 and was voted in as president that October. I am passionate about helping provide more opportunities, support, and resources for Bradley and for other individuals with Down syndrome and their families here in NWA. DSCNWA is a nonprofit that strives to connect families and individuals blessed by Down syndrome to other families, resources and the community. We provide new parent support and hold social and educational programs throughout the year. We are always looking for and needing volunteers. Volunteers are integral to our organization- from assisting with event preparations, taking photos, manning merchandise tables, helping with activities and interacting with families, we need and appreciate your help! Donations both large and small positively impact the lives of hundreds of individuals. To volunteer or donate, visit our

“We are making the world a better place for our children because our children are making the world a better place.” - Carlene Matson. To get involved, contact DSCNWA by emailing: or visiting:




ll right, show of hands for those of you currently or previously guilty of lastminute cramming for tests. You know who you are... the ones trying to stuff the order of the presidents into your noggin at 1:00AM, or desperately trying to remember how to spell misspell (which, ironically, is one of the most often misspelled words) on the way to school. Okay, you guilty ones with your hands up can put them down now, and those of you who didn’t raise your hands are either fibbing a bit, or not of this world. So, I’ve been known to occasionally procrastinate, dawdle, dally, dilly-dally, delay. For me, the cram fest usually took place approximately 12 hours prior to any science or history test, as I would argue that these scholastic subjects would be unnecessary once I became an “adult”. By and large, I was right, save for the occasional trivia question on those little game systems at Chili’s. No offense to history and science teachers; it’s just not my cup of tea. I prefer my tea green, and without a review of its water-soluble polyphenols, or details of a particular party in a large city in Massachusetts. Waiting until the last minute to prepare usually didn’t get me into too much hot water, since there would always be another test. But today, nope, not so. In my particular situation, cramming is impossible; no longer an option. Here’s the sitch: Our oldest child, our daughter, just turned 18. Yes, 18, legal, no longer a minor, free to move out, move on, get locked up, join the Army and, as her brother pointed out in front of her at dinner, free to get a tattoo. Thanks for putting that thought in her head, dude... you’re now grounded until you are 18 (note: not judging, as I have one and yearn for more; however, the wife’s not a fan, so…) Anyway, the odds are pretty good she’s not going to do anything drastic any time soon, since she’s 52 March 2019

a great student and understands economics (she’s still on the payroll) and meteorology (it’s cold outside). However, I’m a super tightly-wound ball of nerves. Really, there is little concern that she’s going to pierce a bunch of stuff, run up a huge credit card tab and head to Bali (but, if she does, she better darn well take me). My worry is about the big question: did I prepare her for all the tests of life? Does she knows she’s truly loved--that I would literally do anything for her? Did I teach her that if a guy isn’t uber nice to old people, kids, dogs and wait staff, she needs to kick him to the curb? Did I tell her money is nice, but it doesn’t unlock happiness? Did I emphasize that grades are great and degrees are distinguished, but your name counts far more than any piece of paper? Did she learn that whites and reds only go together on Valentine’s Day, not in the washer? Does she understand a church is just a building, and that it is also so much more than a building? Does she know how to brown hamburger, because tacos are life? Does she understand that alcohol is a great servant, but a terrible master? Did I emphasize the difference between being intelligent and smart? Did I warn her about making her career in a cube farm? Did I implore her to remember to always be a human being, not a human doing? Does she know the book is always better than the movie? She’s learned that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong... but you better bet that way. Did I mention to do everything in moderation, including moderation? Does she know time is really all she has, and that travel trumps any trivial trinkets? Obviously, it will take some time before I’m graded on my 18-year assignment. We’re T-minus 5 months before this ships sails and, as the saying goes, a ship in the harbor is safe--but that’s not what ships are built for.


On average, On average, there are only

8,200 8,200

67% 67%

there are only




spend time in foster care every year due to neglect time in foster care or abuse.

of those families were recruited by The CALL.

to care for these children.

end ery year due to neglect or abuse.

of those families w recruited by The CA

to care for these children.

Income Types | Last 12 Months


The CALL is currently active in

Income Types | Last 12 Mo

47 OF THE 75

Church 14%


he CALL is currently active in

Corporate 12%

47 OF THE 75

Grants/Foundations 8%

Church 14%

Fundraising/Events 34%

counties in Arkansas.

Corporate 12%

*The CALL does not accept government contract funds


Total number of children cared for by families recruited by The CALL: 13,000

# of Children

ounties in Arkansas.




Calendar Years


# of Families

umber of children cared for by families The opened over 2,000 homes recruited byCALL Thehas CALL: 13,000 13,000




Calendar Years

Calendar Years



CALL has opened over 2,000 homes 54 March 2019



1,000 CHILDREN Over

1,000 and youth have been adopted by families recruited by The CALL.


Fundraising/Events 3

Children and Youth placed *The CALL does not accept in foster homes were

government contract funds

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By: Lauren Smothers

Founder and Organizer --

I’ve always been the girl who loves tidying up. There is just something about taking a space that lacks organization and turning into a space that is both functional and nice to look at! I remember hanging out at my best friend’s house as a young girl {we’re talking elementary school-age} and, after a long day of playing with Barbie dolls, I offered to clean out her nightstand - for FUN. She gave me a weird look, sure, but she let me, and I had a blast doing it! Needless to say, I’ve loved doing this for people as long as I can remember. In early 2016, I turned this knack of mine into a reallife side hustle, just to give it a whirl. It turns out, there is a real need! I saw first-hand how stuck people felt in their clutter and under-utilized space, time after time. They were embarrassed, overwhelmed, and had no idea where to even start. That’s where I came in - ready to roll up my sleeves with judgement-free and joy-filled service. I love to do this because I know sometimes you struggle to do it on your own! I have found that my sweet spot is taking spaces from start to finish in a matter 56 March 2019

of hours, while also coaching my clients on simple ways they can have the organized home they want. To me, this is fun, because I get a kick out of the smiles and joy I see on my clients’ faces after my work is done. I’ve seen the weight that clutter puts on people, and I’ve watched as organized spaces let them breathe again. We live busy lives, with lots of stuff, and I want you to know it’s okay to ask for help! You CAN have a home that is simplified and organized. A home that welcomes you back after a long day, rather than weighing you down. A home that is easy to tidy up and maintain, rather than never-ending chaos. A home with organization behind every closed door, that even children can manage. With my simple systems and tips along the way, I hope you will find yourself encouraged, empowered, and excited to bring simplicity and organization back into your home. Follow along on either of my social media accounts, and reach out any time! | Instagram: @restorethehomenwa | Facebook: @restorethehomellc

How To Organize Any Space

In 5 Simple Steps 1. Define Your End Goal Before starting any organization project, it is important to have the end goal in mind. Maybe your goal is to simply clear the clutter, or maybe you are aiming for an end result that is magazineworthy. Either way, know what you want, and that picture in your mind will help fuel you when you are in the thick of the organizing process. Also, I organize one space at a time so I can stay focused on that space and have the satisfaction of the end result.

2. Schedule The Time This one simple step is a game changer. So many of us have goals out the wazoo, but never set the time aside to get them done. Or, maybe you set the time, but you have “little helpers” that live in your house that tend to change the course of your day *wink wink to the young moms reading this.* Setting specific time aside is so important like an appointment with yourself- so you can have minimal distractions and stay focused.

4. Contain, Contain, Contain A space without containers is like spaghetti without a bowl - a mess! Containers are the secret sauce to organized spaces because they keep things in place while also giving your space a clean and tidy look. Now, hear me out: not just any container works across the board. It is important to select containers that fit your space, fit your style, fit your budget, and fit your stuff. Once you’ve sorted and minimized, place everything back into the space where you see fit, and then see what items need a container. This is a great reason to make a Target run, as well. In some spaces, like the pantry, you can select product before based on the shelving dimensions and layout goal, but you will get a better end result in most spaces by waiting to see what you need.

5. Enjoy, and Keep It Up! There’s nothing better than taking a step back after your hard work and enjoying what you’ve created. Pat yourself on the back and peek into that space as many times as you want, because tidy spaces will spark all the joy. Once you have organizational systems in place, maintenance and simple living will be easier for the entire family.

3. Minimize Your Stuff Yes, you’ll need to get rid of some things. Whether you’re a lover of shoes, or your kids have a toy store of their own, I’m telling ya: the less you own, the easier this will all be. Many people hit a mental roadblock of guilt when they think about how much they’ve spent on something or how they’ve never used it. Keeping items out of guilt is not a good reason. Letting go of guilt is a part of this process, and freedom and simplicity are on the other side of those decisions. So, let go! Think of the people that your donations will bless, and imagine your home being thoughtfully filled with things you love, use, and enjoy. *Photos by Blake Chamberlain Creative*

by: Angela Pracht Twenty-four years ago, my sister and I had babies almost three months apart. When my sister’s son was around four months old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. We always felt he was a miracle baby throughout the entire treatment. I knew in my heart that God had to be protecting him. On his first birthday, he had a bone marrow transplant, and a month later, he passed away from a fungus infection. I couldn’t understand why. If God was protecting him, how could He let this happen? Why did I get to keep my baby, when my sister had to go through all of this? I’ve grown a lot spiritually since then. I now have four kids (two after my nephew passed away). I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom. My children were my life. A couple years after my youngest started school, we made the move to Northwest Arkansas. I had a really hard time with the transition. My kids were growing up, and I felt I had nothing of my own. This is when I felt like, for the first time ever, God started pushing me. He was pushing me to help kids with cancer. I didn’t feel strong enough or outgoing enough, but He continued pushing me. Finally, one night, while praying before going to bed, I asked Him that, if He truly wanted me to start something, then I would like Him to please provide me a name and logo. You can guess the name I woke up with, and I already had a corresponding logo idea in my head -- Gifts from Heaven. My vision was to send these amazing kids who were going through cancer treatments special packages.

What was a seemingly simple idea has connected me to some of the most amazing families. During our first month, we met two cancer warriors and one Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) kiddo. That was May 2012. I have added to my Gifts from Heaven family since, and some of those families are now my best friends. Since Gifts from Heaven was first founded, we have been able to throw holiday parties, birthday parties, fund raisers, and have photo booths; we’ve photographed events, volunteered doing parties at Ronald McDonald House, visited kids in hospitals, made personalized shirts, sending packages and more. We work to provide the most help we can--to bring a smile to the children, and hopefully a little stress off the parents. Each family we meet, we just stand in awe of what they are going through, and how they handle it and carry themselves. Despite the daily struggles and heartache, these families know what is important, and that’s what they hold on to. These families have taught me so much, and have blessed me more than they could ever know. I hope Gifts from Heaven blesses them much as much as they’ve blessed us! Helping them was my entire purpose, yet the love that comes back is so fulfilling. Going into this journey, I couldn’t help but think how much better the treatments these kids must be getting, compared to what my nephew Daniel received almost 20 years ago. I was sadly mistaken. Childhood cancer is considered rare and gets less than 4% of our national funding for cancer research. There are very few drugs even made for

childhood cancer. They have to guess amounts of adult cancer drugs to use. This causes a lifetime of issues for these children, and sometimes a new cancer resulting from their treatment. There have been two drugs made for childhood cancer in the last 20 years. There is more money made for childhood cancer research from families who had kids with cancer through fundraising, starting organizations and having lemonade stands than from the portion of national funding they receive. This needs to change, because childhood cancer is NOT rare. Every 2 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.

We also help families with children affected by CHD. These babies are born so sick, and often they have open heart surgery before they are even two weeks old. Gifts from Heaven, while a small non-profit, is very personal. We hope to reach far more families and donors this year. If you would like to help make a child fighting a terrifying battle smile, or give a parent a little financial help, please reach out to me. We are always accepting gift cards, party donations, cash donations or volunteers at our events. If you know of a family that might benefit from what Gifts from Heaven offers, please email

Mark your calendars for April 5-6 at Faith Bentonville Church, as we are holding a huge sale for Gifts from Heaven. We’re in need of donations (things you no longer want) with a deadline to donate by April 4th... and don’t forget to come shop!

For updates and more details visit

Open Letter to a Minivan Manufacturer

(From an American Mom) By: Rhonda Franz

Dear Minivan Manufacturer, I am writing to you about the lack of appropriate alert mechanisms installed in your vehicles. If you can design a GPS system capable of guiding families across 1500 miles of highway, with warnings about construction and traffic jams and weather—imagine more possibilities. I am Generation X with young children. Thanks to (the original) Knight Rider and his cohort, KITT, I know what a high-tech, alert-loaded vehicle is capable of. But, since children won’t fit in the back of a classic Firebird Trans Am, here we are in this vehicle you’ve built for all of us—plus guests. We thank you for the backup camera and the Wi-Fi. It’s 2019; let’s stretch technology’s legs even longer. I would welcome an alarm in the van to warn me when I am about to leave with three children whose three lunch boxes rest on the kitchen counter. Ensuring all my boys are even in the car can be a challenge. So,- if I’m backing down the driveway, and my third kid is inside trying to shove on his shoe without untying the laces, a flashing interior light would be useful. How about a caution bell just as a kid is about to 60 March 2019

chuck a tissue wad out the window? Might I suggest a steady beeping before a juvenile, cloaked in the darkness of the third row, is removing adhesive backing and plotting a sticker mosaic above the cupholder? Perhaps you could rig a warning for when his brother is practicing handwriting on the interior roof with a purple marker. Consider partnering alerts with follow-up solutions. We need preemptive apparatuses for some of the not-so-petty offenses: a mechanical arm that unfolds and grabs stickers, the marker and the kids—saving the van from becoming a mural of graffiti. We need a suction device that slurps that tissue right back into the car. You could install a console signal when carsick children are about to let loose breakfast on the back of our seat—and our necks. I propose a swiftly deploying sickness bag that opens up to catch the whole shebang. Of course, a post-vomit spritz of clean-smelling fragrance from an attached scent pack would certainly be in order. Seems doable. Please do not limit mechanisms for the youngest passengers. We would appreciate assistance for

our, ahem, older parents who don’t remember that we learned what red lights mean during the driver’s education course they made us take. Install an opaque screen that automatically folds down and blocks their view. How about an aversive, cold blast of air activated from the vents directly into the face of backseat drivers about to instruct on the complicated fine points of navigating a right turn? Dandy. I know from watching movies that limos have nifty partitions literally putting a wall between a driver and passengers. I’m 50 shades of green with envy. What would happen if you installed those in your minivans—giving us power to block out visceral screaming and battles over The Imaginary Line of Territory? I’ll tell you what would happen: peace on earth and safer highways (as I’m confident that at least 88 percent of all road rage is the result of parents on volume overload.) This is a wall the whole country will support. Parents need to know about gum stuck under seats and children about to pee. We’re tired of being caught off guard by sticky soda in door locks and four-day-old chicken strips we can’t find. By the way, we don’t need self-driving cars; we need selfcleaning ones.

To make room for these new alerts and contraptions, allow me to suggest the removal of other, unnecessary systems:


The seasonal “you have low traction” orange dashboard icon that glows when the van is careening uncontrollably across a patch of ice.

+ The car alarm. This only means that a child has grabbed our keys and couldn’t resist the temptation that is the red button.


The passenger seat no-seat belt alarm. Surely you must know the passenger seat is often devoid of an actual passenger. That seat holds coats and casserole dishes. Sometimes it holds my purse, which alone weighs roughly 20 pounds. We don’t need the sound of a bomb about to detonate while we’re merging onto the interstate. These are but a few thoughts. I encourage you to come up with even better ones. If you run out of ideas, feel free to give me, or any other parent in the United States, a call.


An American Mom

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