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Volume 21 • Number 4



june july 2012

Cathy S. Zion EDITOR

Anita Oldham


Elaine Rooker Jack



Cheryl Suhr account executives

Rose Helm

Teri Hickerson SENIOR graphic Designer

April H. Allman photographer

Melissa Donald production coordinator


Melissa Donald BLOG EDITOR


Alexas Gregory Taylor Staugas

16 Perfectly Imperfect Baby

6 Introduction

By Carrie Vittitoe

8 Beautiful Baby Contest winner

20 Ever Considered House-Proofing Your Baby?

10 Family Challenge #4: Scheduling Home Time By Stephanie White Read more about our Beautiful Baby contest winner on page 8.

By Terra Santos

24 Making the Decision to Have a Baby By Lorie Gant Leitner

14 Wake-Up Call By John G. Warren


26 Finding the Right Preschool By Stacie L. Martin

30 Helping Your Child Keep a Healthy Smile By Yelena Sapin

32 Things to Do

Published bi-monthly by: Zion Publications LLC 9750 Ormsby Station Road, Suite 307 Louisville, KY 40223 Phone (502) 327-8855 Fax (502) 327-8861


Subscriptions are available by sending $15 to the above address for 6 bi-monthly issues.

Today’s Family magazine is published bi-monthly by Zion Publications LLC and distributed free to the people of metropolitan Louisville and Southern Indiana. Circulation 33,000. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of the publisher. Today’s Family magazine does not endorse or guarantee any advertiser’s product or service. Copyright 2012 by Zion Publications LLC with all rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited without permission from Zion Publications LLC. MEMBER Greater Louisville, Inc., Metro Chamber of Commerce, Area Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureau.

34 Celebrate: Party Places 36 My Family, Your Family: Dealing with Infertility By Carrie Vittitoe


40 6 Things By Anita Oldham

BBB Rating of

For advertising information, call (502) 327-8855 or email

“It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.” Elinor Goulding Smith

Babies Love . . .


Photo: Jessica Powell, Vogue Visions Photography

This is our Baby issue — full of cuties who just make you want to grab their little cheeks. Throughout this issue our parent writers brought us some great topics about all aspects of parenting a baby. Some of it you may agree with and some you may not. If you don’t agree or have some better advice, send us an email and maybe we can start up a discussion about it in our online interactive magazine at 6

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beautifulBABYCONTEST Sponsored by:

on the cover

Beautiful, isn’t she? Congratulations to the winner of the 2012 Beautiful Baby contest, Molly Turner. The Today’s Family readers voted her the most beautiful baby in Kentuckiana.

WINNER : Molly Turner

Molly, who turns 3 in July, isn’t your average baby. While she does love swinging, singing, listening to music, and swimming like every baby her age, her doctors refer to her as the “medical mystery.” Molly’s mother, Elizabeth, describes her symptoms as similar to those of cerebral palsy, but she is still undergoing genetic testing to determine what she has. Doctors feared Molly would never be able to speak or walk and would have occasional seizures throughout her life. Recently in therapy Molly began to take steps with assistance. As a reward for her improvement, her family is planning a trip to Disney World for her and her 4-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother. — Alexas Gregory

Photos: Melissa Donald

Dr. Korie Acord of Derby City Pediatric Dentistry, sponsor of the Today’s Family Beautiful Baby contest, congratulates Molly on her win.


Adyson Laine Luttrell (as voted on at

Two-year-old Adyson is not only beautiful, but talented, too. She is a huge Justin Beiber fan and loves to sing along to his songs. This potential superstar’s favorite toy is her stuffed rabbit Tutu, but she also likes to play with her miniature Doberman Diggy. When she’s not busy belting it out to Beiber, she likes to read. One of her favorite books is Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. — Taylor Staugas

Thank you to the Today’s Family 2012 Beautiful Baby Contest sponsor, Derby City Pediatric Dentistry. 8

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F a m i ly C h a l l e n g e # 4 : I really want to take the kids to the zoo or Henry’s Ark! I WANT TO LEAVE!

Parent writer Stephanie White and her kids James and Margaret took advantage of beautiful weather during their stay-at-home experiment by spending a lot of time in the yard.





like to be on the go, constantly finding a new park or museum exhibit to explore, and I thrive on a packed calendar. When I make plans for my family, it’s always: “Where are we going to GO?” or “I have never been there, let’s GO.” I don’t schedule 10

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staying home. I am never home on purpose; instead home is just where we are when we don’t have anything else to do!

Considering I own a business that revolves around venturing out with my kids and telling people about it, I thought I would challenge myself to stay home with them for an entire week. An entire week seemed like eons! I told my friends and family, and my sister predicted my certain failure, even encouraged it, and one of my

Why did the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen have to post on Facebook that they are having 99-cent ice cream today?

I want to take the kids!

friends offered to help by coming over throughout the week to entertain me. I chose a week in mid-March and scheduled it in my planner. I was not looking forward to it. The weekend prior to my challenge, I convinced continued on page 12 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

continued from page 10

myself that if I made it to Wednesday, that was enough of a success for me. I woke up on that Monday, took a deep breath, got an extra cup of coffee and started the week. I grabbed my iPhone and that little weather app gave me some confidence that I might actually be able to survive staying home. The week ahead was looking gorgeous, and I got excited to break out the water table for the kids, picnic outside, and shoot some baskets with our new hoop. I did something very uncharacteristic and wrote some ideas in my planner for these special things we could do at home.

This weather really makes it easier to stay home since we can go outside. The day was going quite well until I logged onto Facebook and saw that The Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen was running one of their 99-cent ice cream specials that day! My first reaction was exuberance since I knew the kids would love a special treat. But failure on Monday? Already? I took more deep breaths, sighed and grabbed a few popsicles to take outside with the kids. They were no worse for wear, running around the backyard with popsicle dripping all over them, giggling with the dogs. I realized I am the one who needs to be entertained by going and running from place to place, not them.

Kids don’t need fancy entertainment; dirt and shovels suffice.

At left, James mixes colors to create purple paint. The children were thrilled about painting rocks and never asked to leave the house.

I’ve run out of inventive craft ideas; we are going to paint rocks. Instead, I hit our craft bin of supplies, the kids dug up and collected some rocks, which we painted outside. Once again, my children were beyond thrilled about painting rocks and they never once asked if they could hop in the car and go somewhere for better entertainment. We filled the other hours with water play, some gardening, car washes, and basketball since the weather was unseasonably warm. I actually sat outside in a shady spot and read a book while the kids played. Usually, my wheels are always spinning during the week and I don’t allow myself to relax, soak in their laughter, kick up my feet and read. It was nice. (In my head: “Maybe we should go to the library and get more books?” NO! Take a deep breath! Relax!)

As the week progressed, we were outside so much that I started to think up some ideas for creative things for the kids to do. I remembered seeing a great squirt-bottle sidewalk chalk activity on Pinterest and I just knew the kids would love it. But, after looking it up, I realized I didn’t have all of the supplies and thought, what’s a little trip to Michael’s? It’s for supplies, not really entertainment, right? I took one of my many deep breaths of the week and wished I had planned my ideas before Monday morning. 12 June/July 2012 444

We haven’t spent a single dollar on dining out!


Did we make it through the entire week? Almost. Friday of that week happened to be the first swim lesson for my kids. If you consider their lesson a “necessary outing” since we had already enrolled, then we made it the entire week!

Staying home does not mean I have more time for housework; it means we are messing up the house even more! The days went by quickly and the weather surely was helpful. I don’t know that I would have been able to do this inside all week! But I took on my sister’s challenge and proved her wrong. My friend who offered to help was ill all week, and I actually found myself more focused on the simple things my kids enjoy and didn’t need visitors. I always knew that fun didn’t have to come in the form of a ticket to this, or admission to that. But this challenge helped me realize even more that fun doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be with people that you enjoy being around, like some super-cute kids who find fun in life’s simple pleasures. Stephanie White lives in Louisville with her husband David and kids James (5) and Margaret (3). She is a frequent contributor to Today’s Family. 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

Wake Up Call Through the Baby Monitor By John G. warren


don’t know why I was caught off guard when I was launched into parenthood. I don’t see how anything could’ve possibly surprised me with the deluge of stories and advice given from well wishers who always said the same thing: “Enjoy them now, for before you know it they’ll be gone, and you’ll be all alone.”

In a nine-month period my wife Cheri and I must’ve heard that a thousand times. I guess walking in a restaurant with my waddling wife who was obviously pregnant stirred the memories of the graying couples who always seemed to be seated adjacent to us. We usually got an earful of child-rearing stories before we placed our drink order. Now that our kids have turned our hair gray, I can vividly recall some things that blind-sided us. If I had to make a Top 10 List of Parenting Surprises, it would be as follows:

(10) If Mamma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

With gestational diabetes during pregnancy, my wife Cheri was put on a strict diet and she had to be very careful what she ate. The days of coming in, parking my feet on the coffee table and taking down a bag of White Castles were over. We pretty much ate what she said we ate. During her last term, my wife longed for the day she could eat Mexican food. It was her main craving. We hit a drive thru upon leaving the hospital, and she was in burrito paradise. I don’t remember how many burritos she ate, but we had a rude awakening when our new baby Mary woke up loaded with gas, the result of Cheri’s breastfeeding while consuming burritos. Little Mary puttered all night long and into the next day. We were so happy to hear that the gas would eventually stop. Having a baby spewing gas really takes the joy out of the new swaddling experience. (9) Things are going to get sticky. My current cordless phone was not designed to be used hands free although it sticks to my ear just fine and will stay there unless I violently shake my head. (8) Time Management has a new definition. I thought I could re-do my deck one weekend while baby happily watched. Of course I spent more time wrestling the pneumatic nail gun away from her than I did displaying my carpentry skills. To this day that deck is still missing two planks. (7) Stockpile supplies. When baby is blazing with fever at 3 am, nothing’s worse than running out of Infant Tylenol. Also, having the battery-powered swing die when you were just starting to nap is very aggravating. Always have spare batteries on hand for the new gadgetry coming into your life.

(5) Say goodbye to fancy restaurants. Get used to looking at the right side of the menu first. For us, if we didn’t see the bowling alley style disposable napkin holder it was probably time to buckle in baby and leave. (4) Opposites do not attract. My single buddy would call and say, “Come on over, the game starts in 10 minutes!” Suddenly I realized that if I was watching the game it was going to be at home, glancing over my shoulder while changing diapers, feeding the baby or trying to tackle an enormous amount of laundry. (3) The Baby Isn’t Going To Break. Other than the trick of keeping the head propped up in the first few weeks, it wasn’t until I had numerous kids that I realized the baby was not going to self-destruct in some spontaneous combustive phenomenon. With our first child, when we dropped the pacifier we would completely boil and sterilize it. With our second we kind of wiped it off on our pants. Now the pacifier can completely roll down the driveway and we’ll grab it and be good to go. I wish I would’ve realized how resilient those little monsters could be years ago. (2) Say farewell to a good night’s sleep. I’m not sure why it didn’t click when the nurse kept talking about two-hour feedings when teaching us to make a bottle. If you think you’re going to snooze while mamma gets up to feed the baby you’ll get elbowed like I did. I still have bruises on my lower back and ribs. And the number one wake-up call: (1) The baby is very expensive. I wasn’t prepared to face the $100 aisle at the supermarket. This of course is the aisle of diapers, formula, and those tiny jars of baby food that have more colors than an artist’s palette. Not to mention the wipes, baby-wash, and diaper rash cream. Why we called it the $100 aisle goes without saying. I guess every parent has little tidbits of information they’ve gained in child-rearing hindsight, but those are some things I wish I would’ve known before we rolled Mommy and baby out to the car that first day. Even though my kids are bigger now, I am still stuck in that newborn mode. My boss kicked me awake during a staff meeting recently, noting that I was completely asleep, sitting up in the chair with my left arm resting as if holding something. Only a true parent knows some of the most effective rest ever gained is the peaceful 20 minutes in the rocker while baby slurps down that overnight bottle. John Warren lives in Louisville with his wife Cheri and their daughters Mary (11), Anna (8), and Emily (5). He is a frequent contributor to Today’s Family magazine.

(6) Your image at intersections is gone.

Almost overnight I went from peering through tinted windows in a cool, shiny, two-seater truck, to a mini-van with sun blocking shades sporting a bright red picture of Elmo. There’s nothing sexier than a balding man sitting in a car with a “Baby On Board” sign. 14 June/July 2012 444 /todaysfamily 444 @todaysfamilynow

today’s FAMILY

June/July 2012


When Your Baby Has a Few Health Problems

PerfectlyImperfect Baby By CARRIE VITTITOE


very expectant parent prays for a healthy baby, and the vast majority of expectant parents get one. The wonder of creating new life for the first-time, though, is accompanied by the feeling that one’s infant is a perfect baby. Having never been a parent, you somehow think that your child, your birth, your parenting will be better than what you’ve seen or read about. When my daughter Norah was born in 2004, I was undone with love for her. By all accounts she was a perfect baby: great Apgar scores, ten fingers, ten toes. She was the picture of health. By the time she was six weeks old, however, family 16

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members were asking, “What is wrong with her head?” It tilted to the right. A lot. My husband, Dean, and I, being newbie parents with very little baby experience, thought babies’ heads were supposed to tilt due to a lack of neck control. At her two-month well visit we were told that Norah’s tilt was not normal. She was diagnosed with congenital muscular torticollis, a neck abnormality that is often caused by malpositioning in utero. When Norah was diagnosed, I went full throttle into panic mode. I had never heard of torticollis and what I read on the internet suggested she might have to wear a helmet or have surgery down the line. The worst of it was that my perfectly healthy baby was no longer perfect. She was human and susceptible to all of life’s imperfections. That is a difficult realization for any new parent who has just brought the world’s most amazing child into the world. Over the course of eight years of motherhood, I have met many moms who have also experienced the shock of having a perfectly imperfect baby. continued on page 18 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

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continued from page 16

Writer Carrie Vittitoe with her daughter Norah, who as a newborn was diagnosed with a neck abnormality.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Baby/ Young Child Has a Medical Issue Many medical problems are caught while a newborn is still in the hospital following delivery. If you have any concerns, bring them to the attention of the nurse or your pediatrician.


2 If something crops up in the first few months of life, consult your child’s pediatrician promptly. If your concern turns out to be nothing, then the money and time you have spent at the doctor’s office is worth your peace of mind. 3 If your child receives a diagnosis, use your networking resources to your benefit. Utilize Facebook, your mom group, or co-workers to try to find other parents who have dealt with similar situations with their own children. 4 If your child (from birth to age 3) has a developmental delay in speech, cognition, communication, physical, emotional, or self-help and would benefit from therapy, call First Steps at 877.417.8377. An evaluation will determine if your child meets the delay/ disability criteria. 5 If your child is age 3 or older, you can contact JCPS’ Early Childhood Special Services Program at 502.485.3979. Free screening tests are done at various sites in Jefferson County. 18

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Peggy McDonald, a mother of two young sons, was expecting a completely normal baby in 2008. When Gavin was born, he was almost perfect; he had ten toes and eleven fingers. Peggy handled this news with relative calm because she had a coworker who had delivered an infant with an extra digit. Peggy says, “Had I not known someone whose child had also had this, I definitely would have freaked out.” Since Gavin’s extra finger did not have a bone in it (hence the reason it didn’t show up on ultrasound), doctors were able to remove it easily. Another friend of mine, “Darcy,” also had a healthy baby boy in 2008. When he was about three months old, she noticed he had a strange body odor that was not the typical unpleasant odor that emanates from most infants during the course of the day. She thought she was imagining things but mentioned it to her son’s pediatrician anyway. An endocrinologist diagnosed her son with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition that, while not life threatening, can cause children to go through precocious puberty. Having never heard of this disorder or anyone whose child had it, she searched the Internet for as much information as she could find, which proved to be very frightening. Though her son’s condition is

“Had I not known someone whose child had also had this, I definitely would have freaked out.” mild and he is an active, fun-loving child, “Darcy” isn’t really sure what will happen as he matures and hormones kick in. Keri Brown had been a teacher and had professional experience related to students’ food allergies, but it was beyond scary when her eleven-monthold daughter, Bailey, experienced a serious reaction to a slice of cheese, especially since she hadn’t had any reaction the week prior when she first sampled the food. Keri says, “Bailey’s face was full of hives, one of her eyes was swollen nearly shut and her nose was running like crazy.” Soon after, Bailey was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, eggs, and peanuts. Keri remembers, “It felt like my stomach had dropped out of my body when I heard that last word (peanuts). I immediately knew, without a doubt, that my life as a mom had changed forever.” A few years later when Keri’s other two children were diagnosed with food allergies, she handled it with aplomb. The eight months that Norah did physical therapy was a very anxious time for me, but her torticollis was corrected without a need for more serious intervention. Norah’s torticollis, as well as her many colds and coughs and croups, made me better prepared for the imperfectly perfect sons I would have in 2007 and 2009, both of whom had mild torticollis and ear tube surgery their first year of life. There is good that comes from having perfectly imperfect babies, and that is the ability to help others when they go through similar experiences. When “Darcy’s” daughter was born last year with torticollis, I was able to offer her support and suggestions, to ease her mind that everything would turn out okay in the end. And that, like our babies in whatever form they come to us in, is a blessing. Carrie Vittitoe lives in Louisville with her husband Dean Langford and their kids Norah (8), Graeme (4), and Miles (2). She is a regular contributor to Today’s Family magazine. 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

today’s FAMILY

June/July 2012


Ever Considered

House-Proofing By TERRA SANTOS


Your Baby?

ou are taking your son Tommy (age 1) to visit his grandparents for the day, and you are a wreck thinking about all the potential hazards he’ll have access to.

First there’s the cat and his food bowl. There are open electrical sockets. There are easy-access cabinets full of cleansers, breakable dishes, and medications. And what about Grandma’s Precious Moments collection sitting right at Tommy’s eye level? When you arrive, the first thing he finds are the remote controls sitting casually on the table in front of him. You pick them up and place them on the mantel. Then, when no one is looking, Tommy sneaks into the cat’s food bowl. Right before he’s about to taste the delicious treat, you swoop in to snag the goods and place them on the counter. While you and your mother catch up on life, Tommy sees the beloved Precious Moments collection and makes a beeline. Sound like a very long day? There are things you can do to better prepare Tommy and yourself. Just about as soon as a couple finds out they are expecting, they begin to hear about 500+ things that need to be baby-proofed in their home. While there are certainly some essentials that need to be made safe, we parents need to be more focused on “house-proofing” the baby than baby-proofing the house. What are you teaching Tommy by whisking every interesting thing away from him? If it’s out of reach, it’s off-limits, but everything

in reach is fair game. But not all off-limit things can be moved, like the Precious Moments collection. So what are we to do? We house-proof: train children — even babies — to be obedient, have a respect for others and their property, and respond to clear and consistent corrective discipline. As soon as a child is able to move alone (crawl, roll, and walk), we begin teaching. Somewhere around 9 or 10 months of age, children begin to get a better continued on page 22

“What are you teaching Tommy by whisking every interesting thing away from him?” 20

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“Somewhere around 9 or 10 months of age, children begin to get a better understanding of what’s off limits. . . Do not let him fool you . . . kids are so much smarter than we want to believe. ”

continued from page 20

understanding of what’s off limits. Most will understand the word “no.” An easy way to tell if he’s ready to learn is by the child’s response when he knows you’re watching him do something he shouldn’t be. Do not let him fool you into thinking he’s too little to understand. Kids are so much smarter than we want to believe. We currently have three children between the ages of one and five. Our oldest is a people pleaser. Though she tested the waters a bit as a baby, after one or two times of discipline, she was quick to respond to correction. Our middle child, a rambunctious little boy, is quite the opposite. He’s got a much stronger will as well as a heightened curiosity about the world around him. He feels the need to taste everything, take that where your imagination will. Our youngest is out to show everyone who is boss. She’s having to learn quickly the correct answer to that. A child needs to be house-proofed in his home before he should be expected to do so outside of the home. For example, when Tommy sees the remote in clear view, he goes to reach for it. Realizing what he’s after, you first tell him “No, Tommy” in a calm and controlled voice. If he does not listen, follow through with a reminder and a light tap on the hand. If he again insists, remove him for a moment and set him aside, preventing him from getting up. 22

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He’s probably getting pretty upset at this point. You’ll try again a few moments later. Instead of learning that the object of desire will be removed, he’s learning that he will be removed if he’s not obedient. There are certain things that we do not play around with. We installed locks on the cabinets; I don’t want Benjamin to try to drink bleach. Our electrical outlets are covered, and I’ve read duct tape works well when traveling. We keep our bathroom doors shut to prevent children from playing in the toilet and potentially drowning. There’s a gate at the top of the stairs. At the bottom, the stairs are blocked with a large pillow until the children have learned not to climb stairs without permission. We’re careful about choking hazards all around the house. The older kids know they are to help keep these hazards off of the floor and keep their eyes on the youngest as well. Are our kids perfectly obedient all of the time? No chance. But they’ve learned well from a young age, and it makes our vacations at Grandma and Grandpa’s that much more enjoyable. Terra Santos lives in Louisville with her husband James and their children Hannah (5), Benjamin (3), Sophia (1); baby #4 is due in December. She owns Joy: a bowtique. This is her first feature for Today’s Family magazine. 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

today’s FAMILY

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Making the Decision...

to Have

a Baby

By Lorie Gant Leitner


hen I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, I knew having a baby was not in my immediate future. I still felt like a kid myself and wasn’t ready to give up my lifestyle of spontaneous road trips, late night cocktails, and shopping sprees. People asked me, “Are you going to have a baby?” and I consistently replied, “I enjoy being selfish too much to do THAT.” I loved the shock value.

Years later that answer became less of the truth and more of an excuse. I was scared. As the first in my circle of friends to be married, I already felt my 24

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actions were judged differently. Would the title of “Mom” make it hard for them to relate to me? As time went on my husband, Jeremy, made it clear he was ready to welcome a baby. I focused on my 29th birthday, telling myself by then Jeremy and I would be ready financially and emotionally. However, as the day neared, my anxiety built. How could I be responsible enough for another human, keeping it safe, nurtured, and well-rounded? It took me another year to convince myself that I would be a good Mom. Prepping for Baby #1 was exciting. I loved swapping pregnancy stories with my friends and decorating the nursery. Jeremy and I soaked up information at classes offered by the hospital. My Mom and I developed a deeper bond. Immediately after having my first son, Noah, people asked, “Are you having another?” That question exhausted me. All I cared about was enjoying time with my newborn. After waiting years for him, I wasn’t ready to crowd the picture. I thought, “Besides, how exciting could it be? Been there, done that.” I also questioned if it was possible to love another baby as much as I loved Noah. At 4 years old, Noah noticed many of his friends had siblings. He began to talk about his “little sister” and was so convincing that strangers thought she was real. The vision of Noah as a big brother warmed my heart. Mentally, this time I

was ready for Baby #2, but the decision was affected by financial worry. Like so many families, we were touched by the sour economy. I questioned if I could cover essentials. Another year passed. Life stabilized and soon I was sharing exciting news of our expanding family. However, the preparation had a different focus. I felt a great responsibility to take care of Noah. I worried he would be blindsided, not understanding why he couldn’t have our full attention. Jeremy and I concentrated on making those months special: from buying a “big boy” bed to visiting Disney World. We involved Noah at the doctor whenever possible, letting him hear the baby’s heartbeat and witness the ultrasound. The night before checking into the hospital I prayed we were ready. I knew my angels had listened when I witnessed Noah holding his little brother’s hand and saying, “Hello Lucas. It’s me, Noah.” Bringing Lucas home created a sense of peace in our home. It was as if our family represented a puzzle and someone had filled in the final corner. It’s true what people say. There’s never an ideal time for a baby. Both times I wished we had more money, time, and patience. But each time was special and brought out the best in my family. That’s close enough to perfection for me. Lorie Gant Leitner lives in Louisville with her husband Jeremy and sons Noah (6) and Lucas (1). She is a frequent contributor to Today’s Family. 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

today’s FAMILY FaMILy today’s

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Finding the Right By STACIE L. MARTIN


parent is a child’s first, and most important, teacher. From the time our children arrive in this world, they are constantly learning from us: how to speak, how to play, how to navigate this big world of ours. But at some point, parents begin to share these teaching responsibilities with teachers at daycare, preschool, and school. Kentucky law requires children between the ages of 6 and 16 to attend school. Preschool, however, is not mandatory. It is up to parents to decide if they want their children to attend preschool and if so, where to send them. There are so many decisions to make in this area: keep a child at home or send her to preschool? Half-day or full-day program? Church-based program or a preschool facility? Where does a parent even begin? 26

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The first question parents may have is about the difference between a daycare and a preschool. Unfortunately, there is no definite difference between the two and Kentucky provides no accreditation for preschools. I asked several people involved in the preschool and daycare field and received the same response from nearly all: any good daycare is a preschool. Both should support children’s development, provide their need for movement, teach self-help and social skills, and employ caregivers who interact with them. However, the “preschool” curriculums for children getting ready to enter kindergarten do tend to be more academic and prepare children for what they will be learning in kindergarten. Research has proven that a high-quality preschool education can significantly enhance a child’s social and emotional development. Multiple studies demonstrate that “early education programs have found greater commitment to education, lower rates of involvement with crime, greater likelihood of delaying parenthood, better health behavior, and higher rates of civic participation among children who have attended the [preschool] programs.” According to Susan Vessels, director of Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) in Louisville, preschool lays the

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Family Finds Home of the Innocents

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June/July 2012


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foundation for learning. Vessels stresses that children need three things in order to be successful: 1) a consistent caregiver or teacher who is trained to deal with his particular age, 2) a safe and healthy setting, and 3) a stimulating environment that enhances his ability to learn. When visiting a preschool, 4-C recommends that parents trust their intuition and observations. Look for a preschool with clean and safe indoor and outdoor spaces, gentle but firm discipline, clear and consistent rules, appropriate expectations, accessible learning materials, loving and gentle caregivers, and a daily schedule that makes children feel comfortable and secure. And parents should be able to walk into the facility unannounced. The Kentucky Department of Education also has a voluntary quality rating system called “STARS for KIDS NOW.” This program uses a rating scale of 1 thru 4 to rate levels of quality. Programs who voluntarily receive a STARS rating are judged in the areas of child/staff ratios, group size, curriculum, parent involvement, staff training and education, regulatory compliance, and personnel practices. A list of STARSrated local facilities can be found at No matter what you decide for your child, keep in mind that at this age, children learn best through play. School should be fun for your child. You as the parent should be comfortable with both the facility and the staff. You want to be confident that when you drop your child off, she will be happy and well taken care of. Stacie L. Martin lives in Mt. Washington with her kids Taelor (13), and Andrew (11). She is a frequent contributor to Today’s Family magazine.

Is My Child Ready for School? The answer is “Yes” if your child: • Eats a balanced diet and gets plenty of rest • Receives regular medical and dental care • Has had all necessary immunizations • Can run, jump, climb, and does other activities that help develop large muscles and provide exercise • Uses pencils, crayons, scissors, and paints and does other activities that help develop small muscles • Follows simple rules and routines • Is able to express his or her own needs and wants • Has opportunities to be with other children and is learning to play/share with others • Uses 5-6 word sentences From the Kentucky Department of Education. See the complete list and more information at KDE/Instructional+Resources / Early+Childhood+Development/ School+Readiness+Definition.htm


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I spoke with a few preschools around the area to find out what they would tell prospective preschool parents and what is unique about their preschool: • The Gardner School, Mill Brook Drive, Louisville Jeni McNickle at The Gardner School advises parents who are evaluating preschool programs to look at the program itself: is there a set curriculum or does the teacher decide what to teach? The curriculum should meet the needs of all the children to help them reach developmental milestones and prepare them for kindergarten. There should be daily communication with parents along with parent-teacher conferences. Look for teachers who are trained in CPR and first aid. Ask if meals are provided. Take notice of the smell and tone of the school. Teacher turnover is another area that parents should ask about in a preschool. Parents should observe how the teacher interacts with the children. The Gardner School encourages a learning environment that stimulates and nurtures a child’s growth and development using a mix of traditional and Montessori learning styles. Lessons and activities allow children to grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. McNickle states, “The best compliment I can receive is, ‘My child is having fun and not even realizing he is learning.’ Cost: Full-time — $205/week; 2 days per week — $135/week

• Kenwood Montessori Preschool, Woodbine Street, Louisville Lenore Crenshaw at Kenwood Montessori Preschool advises parents evaluating preschools to look at two main areas. The most important is the adult/child ratio. The next important question is qualification of the teachers; the ideal teacher should have experience in early childhood education. It is also a large advantage for a preschool to have certification from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which requires high standards, a rigorous self-evaluation plan, and observation of the preschool before granting qualification. This certification gives parents the peace of mind in knowing that preschool has been evaluated by an outside source. Kenwood Montessori is certified by NAEYC. The Montessori aspect creates an environment where children can be independent and gain a sense of being a resourceful person. Rooms are arranged to encourage that independence. Development of social skills, physical abilities, creativity, cognitive skills, and emotional maturity are all nurtured by the Montessori style of teaching. Cost: ½ day Preschool — $302/month; All day Preschool — $720/month

• Sproutlings Pediatric Day Care and Preschool, Frankfort Avenue, Louisville Sproutlings is a unique day care and preschool offering programs for both typical and special needs children. CJ Parish at Sproutlings discussed the benefits of sending a child to preschool. The number one benefit according to Parish is the readiness that preschool gives children to start kindergarten. A child who already knows her letters, how to match colors and shapes, how to spell, and even create simple science projects has a distinct advantage. Children in preschool also learn how to interact with other children and adults. A parent evaluating a preschool should look at two main things according to Parish: curriculum and the staff. If a preschool does not have an established program for learning, there is a chance that what the children are learning will be too haphazard. The curriculum should be challenging but developmentally appropriate. Parents should look at the staff-to-student ratio. Staff should have some experience with children and perhaps possess an education background. Because Sproutlings serves medically fragile and special needs children, they are unique in that they also have registered nurses and certified nursing assistants on site. This benefits not only the special needs children, but typical children as well. Parents have peace of mind that if something happens while their child is at the facility, medical staff are on site to deal with the situation. Parish is particularly proud of the fact that the building in which Sproutlings is located was built specifically for children, not retrofitted to accommodate a daycare or preschool. The Sproutlings facility contains state-of-the-art resources and environments which prepare children for school. Cost: Rates not yet available 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

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Helping Your Child Keep His (or Her)

By Yelena Sapin


eeth play the starring role in many of our children’s milestones. Just look through any family photo album, and there’s the six-month old with a brand-new pair of incisors cutting through a drooly smile, the 5-year old with a bloody grin offering a first gift to the Tooth Fairy, the middle-schooler awkwardly sporting a mouth full of shiny braces, the beaming teen showing off newly straightened pearly whites. We know about the importance of brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist twice a year, but there are still a few things parents need to do to keep their children’s smiles as healthy as can be.

Caring for a Baby’s Mouth Even before the first tooth makes an appearance, it’s a good idea to get your infant, and yourself, accustomed to a daily mouth-cleaning routine. You can gently rub your baby’s gums with a piece of gauze or a soft wet washcloth wrapped around your index finger, then switch to brushing with a soft baby toothbrush once the teeth arrive. And never let your baby go to bed with anything but water in a bottle or sippy cup. Any food or drink that sits on the teeth at night, even breast milk, can cause cavities, says Dr. Korie Acord of Derby City Pediatric Dentistry in Louisville. When brushing isn’t convenient, like during those nighttime feedings, you can wipe off the teeth with gauze or a wet washcloth, says Acord, or use a tooth-wiping product like Spiffies, a wet towelette designed for cleaning little gums and teeth.

When to See the Dentist The first dental visit should happen any time between the first tooth coming in and the child’s first birthday, says Dr. Ann Greenwell, director of the Pediatric Dental Residency Program at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. It’s best to choose a pediatric dentist for the early years, says Greenwell, since the special training they receive makes them better suited to deal with the needs of infants and young children. On that first visit, the dentist will look in your child’s mouth to make sure that everything is developing appropriately and educate you on how to take care of your child’s teeth. Over time, the dentist will monitor your child’s dental health, take care of any problems, and refer you to an orthodontist if necessary. Your child needs to establish a dental home where she is known and her records are kept, says Greenwell, so it’s best to maintain continuity with the same practitioner throughout childhood.

Preparing for the Visit

Healthy Smile not pushing kids if they’re not ready. There’s always next time, says Acord, and “for us there’s nothing better than having an anxious little kiddo who comes in worried and then leaves high-fiving and really excited to come back.”

Practicing Good Habits With the younger kids, Acord focuses on educating the parents on how to clean their children’s teeth. But diet also makes a difference in keeping cavities at bay. Acord is not a fan of gummies, fruit snacks, dehydrated fruit and other sticky, chewy foods that are high in sugar. “They’re very convenient,” she says, “but they get stuck in all the nooks and crannies and are very difficult to get out.” Kids generally have the manual dexterity to do a good job brushing once they can write in cursive or tie their own shoes, says Acord, but healthy snacks are still important. Once they get into the teenage years and start getting a lot more freedom, Acord encourages kids to drink water instead of sugary sodas and acidic soft drinks, and to limit sports drinks to when they’re actually doing sports. To make flossing easier at any age, Acord recommends and hands out pre-strung flossers. For younger children, “Mom and Dad can get the back teeth and the kids can practice on the front teeth,” she says.

Handling Emergencies Much of the early tooth trauma happens between the ages of one and two, says Greenwell, when kids are learning to walk and are bumping into things. After drying the tears and assessing the damage, you need to take your child to your pediatric dentist if there’s any bleeding from around the tooth socket, if a tooth gets knocked loose or out, or if any piece of a tooth is missing. A knocked-out baby tooth belongs to the Tooth Fairy, says Greenwell, because trying to put it back into the socket can damage the permanent teeth that are forming right there. A permanent tooth, on the other hand, may be re-implanted, but there’s a very small window on how long it can remain out of the mouth before drying out. “If you have the stomach for it,” advises Acord, “you can rinse the tooth with either milk or saline, not water, and put it back in the socket, have your child bite down on something, and get them to the dentist right away” to keep the tooth alive as long as possible. Accidents can happen, so it’s crucial to wear protective mouth guards when playing sports. And keep your dentist’s phone number handy in your cell phone, just in case.

In Acord’s experience, the average child doesn’t see a dentist until age two or three. Kids pick up on their parents’ anxiety, says Acord, so keeping the atmosphere light and stress-free, and not using words like “needle,” “shot,” “hurt,” and “pull,” can go a long way to help make your child’s first visit more comfortable. “We’re just brushing and counting and taking pictures of the teeth,” says Acord, “but if your kiddo is really anxious, stop by the office in advance so he can meet everyone, and see other little kiddos doing a good job, and just visit.” Pediatric dentists go that extra mile to put their littlest patients at ease by using kid-friendly language, providing fun distractions, and 30 June/July 2012 444 /todaysfamily 444 @todaysfamilynow

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CALENDAR o f eve n t s

Go to

Louisville Bats Games Parents, win prizes, find recipes, and learn what is going on with family-related events in the Louisville area. Give Us Your Comments About: • Saving for college • Family vacations • Summer activities • Best family pets • Parenting regrets Win One of These Giveaways: • Indianapolis Family Fun Package • Summer Fun with Shrek and Friends at Gaylord Opryland • Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari • Atlantis Waterpark • Galt House Christmas in July • Kart Kountry • Homearama Also, follow the latest on Twitter @TodaysFamilyNow

Take the family to see Louisville’s home baseball team play ball and enjoy the extra fun they offer including the kids inflatable Fun Zone, entertainment acts, and fireworks. WHEN~ June & July — all month long (times vary depending on game) WHERE~ Louisville Slugger Field COST~ $7-$11 CONTACT~ or 855.228.8497

School’s Out Science Camps Summer 2012 The Louisville Science Center is offering a variety of science-themed summer for all ages. Camps run a week at a time per theme. Your kids will learn about animals, getting messy with science, discovering space, exploring prehistoric times, and designing with LEGOs. WHEN~ now through August 17 WHERE~ Louisville Science Center CONTACT~ or 502.561.6100 ext. 6111

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to life. Joseph, his father’s favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to a myriad of musical styles from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock ‘n’ roll. WHEN~ June 8-June 17 (times vary depending on specific performance) WHERE~ The Kentucky Center COST~ adults: $29.75 and students and seniors: $24.75 CONTACT~ or the box office 800.775.7777

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Take center stage as a Today’s Girl! Today’s Family magazine is accepting entries for an essay contest for the Today’s Girl award, which will be given to three girls in different age groups (ages 7-8. 9-10, and 11-12). The personal essays should be less than 300 words and should answer the question, “Which American Girl do you have the most in common with and why?” The essays should be written by the girl and be in the girl’s voice. Essays will be judged on content, originality, and the girl’s level of community involvement.



June/July 2012

Each winner will receive 2 tickets to the American Girl Fashion Show Tea. Winners will also be featured in Today’s Family magazine. 4 4 4 4 4 /todaysfamily 4 4 4 @todaysfamilynow

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Second Saturdays at Frazier

Second Saturdays treat visitors to a “little bit extra” during their trip to the museum. On the second Saturday of each month, the Frazier Museum offers crafts, games, activities, and historic performances revolving around a selected theme. WHEN~ June 9, 10am-4pm; July 14 from 11am-4pm WHERE~ Frazier Museum & Main Street CONTACT~ or 502.753.5663

Smokin’ on the River BBQ, Blues & Brew Festival

Children enjoy hands-on activities at a Second Saturday event at Frazier Museum. The fourth annual Smokin’ on the River is a national BBQ competition that has grown to be the second largest BBQ fesWaterfront Independence Festival tival in the state of Indiana. Spectators can watch professional BBQ teams Waterfront Indy Fest is Louisville’s premier July 4 celebration. This year’s from across the country compete for the championship trophy and $ 8,000. event features two days of fun, concerts by national recording artists Kip Moore and The Band Perry, free WHEN~ June 15-16, 9am-11pm WHERE~ At the corner of Spring Street and Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville children’s activities, a festival COST~ $1 per sample food garden, and fireworks over CONTACT~ or 502.259.8734 the Ohio River. Festival gates open at 5pm both nights and each Wild West Hold-Ups on the French Lick Railway night concludes with fireworks around 10pm. On special weekends The Lost River Renegades invade the hills of Southern Indiana with the hopes of robbing the train. The local marshal and his men WHEN~ July 3-4 will attempt to apprehend the bandits and provide the train with safe pasWHERE~ Great Lawn @ Waterfront Park sage through to the village of Cuzco. CONTACT~ www. Fireworks at the Waterfront or 502.574.3768

WHEN~ June 16-17, July 7-8 & 28-29 @ 10am, 1pm, & 4 pm each day WHERE~ French Lick Scenic Railway French Lick, Indiana CONTACT~ or 1.800.74.TRAIN

Independence Festival.


Father’s Day Weekend at the Zoo Fathers and their children will get to meet some of the zoo’s proud animal papas, among other planned activities. As a special treat, Dads get free admission to the Zoo courtesy Ford Motor Company. WHEN~ June 17 WHERE~ Louisville Zoo, 110 Trevilian Way CONTACT~ 502.459.2181 or

Take a tour through several beautiful homes that will be on display at Homearama in July. You’ll get some great ideas on redecorating your place, learn about the current design trends — or you could buy a new home. WHEN~ July 14-29 WHERE~ Rock Springs & Shakes Run COST~ $10 CONTACT~




A Mother’s Touch Jewelry & Gifts 12312 Shelbyville Rd. Louisville, KY 40243


A Mother’s Touch offers a party room for both boys and girls ages 5 & up. Enjoy a theme or beading party. You can also use our room for classes, meetings, wedding or baby showers, or a fun girls night out. Prices start at $10 per person or a room fee. Reservations and deposit required. We can help make your event fun and memorable. Call 502.253.9477 with any questions and availability.

Kart Kountry Joe B. Hall Ave. Shepherdsville, KY 40165


YMCA Several Kentuckiana locations

502.587.9622 Kountry

Kart Kountry is fun for the whole family, featuring the largest go-kart track in the world at over 1.5 miles. Decide which of several party packages works best for you, then relax and have fun. Activities include go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, jumpshot, our huge Arcade with a mix of new and classic games, and our renovated Redemption Prize Center. Come celebrate with us! The Y has several great ways to celebrate birthdays with fun-filled activities! Options vary at Y locations and include pool, Calypso Cove, Hawaiian luau, Wii play, rock climbing, party art, pirate, Disney princess, Twilight, Justin Bieber, Toy Story and more! Come and celebrate with the Y; your party will be a blast!

For Party Places advertising information email: or call 502.327.8855 Deadline for August/September issue is July 2.


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How different families deal with similar situations

Struggling to get Pregnant Sammantha and Michael Stephens, Benjamin, Isabella, and MaKenna (19 months) Much-Wanted Babies — Sammantha and her husband Michael tried for more than nine years to become pregnant. It was on their second and final round of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) that she conceived the triplets. After so many years of trying unsuccessfully, they had decided that perhaps being childless wasn’t such a terrible thing.

Emotional Much? — Sammantha was very cautious early in the pregnancy. She had conceived on her first IVF attempt but miscarried right before six weeks so she entered her second IVF pregnancy with some trepidation.

Pregnancy Style — Her pregnancy was pretty normal up to a point. She didn’t have a lot of morning sickness or fatigue, but during her 21st week of pregnancy she began developing complications. At 23 weeks, she was admitted to the hospital for complete bed rest.

The Birth — Sammantha’s original due date was Feb 14, 2011, but the babies arrived on Nov 11, 2010, at 26 weeks, 3 days gestation via emergency c-section. Isabella was born weighing 1 lb, 5 ounces, Benjamin weighed 1 lb, 9 ounces, and MaKenna was the heavyweight at 1 lb, 14 ounces. Benjamin was the first baby released from the hospital on Jan. 29, 2011. MaKenna followed on Feb. 14, and Isabella came home on Feb. 19. Despite being born prematurely, the triplets have developed normally given their adjusted age. None qualified for First Steps or any kind of developmental intervention.

The Early Days with 3 Newborns — Knowing she would have three babies, Sammantha was encouraged by other moms of triplets to adopt a fairly strict schedule and keep all three babies on it. When one baby goes down for a nap, the other ones go down for a nap as well. Sammantha says, “You do not get the same leeway with triplets as you do with a single baby. I can’t rock all three babies, even though I may want to with all my heart.” I Get By With a Little Help — Sammantha’s mother lives with the family to assist in caring for the triplets, and Michael is a very involved dad. Sammantha notes that one of their catch phrases is, “If you got free time, you can change a baby.” Michael’s mother often babysits as well. Challenges of Toddlers — Benjamin, Isabella, and

trying to get more calories in them such as using butter and heavy cream in her cooking. Now that the children are mobile, Sammantha has to contend with sneak attacks. She says one child will take off and the other two go in the opposite direction, as if they have coordinated a strategy for getting at something they want.

Daily Life — Sammantha and the triplets spend most of their days at home simply because of the logistical challenges of getting three toddlers ready and into the car. Sammantha says that when she does go out with them, “I am exhausted by the time I get out the door.” She says that she gets very little done when running errands because she is stopped by so many people who want to “ooo” and “ahhh” over the triplets. Taking Care of Momma — Sammantha tries to take Jazzercise classes during the week and get out by herself on weekends to do some shopping or have lunch with friends.

MaKenna are all fairly small in size, so Sammantha has been 36 June/July 2012 444 /todaysfamily 444 @todaysfamilynow

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Struggling to get Pregnant Kathleen Lewis and Liam (21 months) Much-Wanted Baby — At age 37, Kathleen was thinking more and more about having a baby. She found out she had low ovarian reserve. She didn’t want to use a donor egg or go through IVF, but she decided to use Clomid and undergo artificial insemination using an anonymous sperm donor.

Emotional Much? — Kathleen says, “I seriously felt like the luckiest person alive, like I’d won the lottery, and I knew without a doubt the moment I found out, that I would do whatever it took to protect and care for my son.”

Pregnancy Style — A long-time runner, Kathleen ran almost every day right up until she delivered Liam. She had very mild and short-lived queasiness. She says, “I felt calm and content and beautiful and peaceful.” Unfortunately, the relationship she was in at the time of her conception ended during her pregnancy, so she also experienced sadness over that loss. The Birth — Kathleen says, “The birth was really fun. Liam was

The Early Days with a Newborn — Being a physician, Kathleen thought she would have a leg up on postpartum adjustment, but that wasn’t the case. She experienced crippling postpartum anxiety a few weeks after delivery. She nursed Liam on demand, but was unable to co-sleep with him because he was a very noisy sleeper. She says, “I thought I would die from the sleep deprivation.”

I Get By With a Little Help — Kathleen’s three sisters took turns helping her following the delivery, and she also had a postpartum doula to assist her.

Challenges of a Toddler — One of the biggest challenges is setting boundaries for Liam. Kathleen says, “I’m so blown away that he has the ability to throw a rock, that it occurred to him to throw it, that I forget that he shouldn’t be doing it.” Daily Life — On days that Kathleen is at the hospital, Liam goes to daycare. On her off days they do some kind of fun activity, like visiting the park or taking a mama/baby music class. Taking Care of Momma — When Kathleen has an offweek from her position as a hospitalist, she uses Liam’s time at daycare to run and do errands by herself. Her sisters also watch him so she can get out.

breech, and I knew I would have a c-section, but my water broke two days before it was scheduled so I got to experience part of labor.” 38 June/July 2012 444 /todaysfamily 444 @todaysfamilynow

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A Buffet That Won’t Add Calories Stop by the Art Buffet at the Main Louisville Library on June 16 between 1-3pm for a drop-in art workshop celebrating author Eric Carle’s birthday. For all ages.


You Can Win!

We know you like to win things: Go to and you have a chance to win great prizes as well as start a conversation about raising your family. (One of our great prizes: an Indianapolis Family Fun Adventure). See Page 32.



Would Your Child Look Great in a Photo Shoot?

We are looking for at least six children ages 6-13 who can model some back-to-school clothes for our August issue. Watch for information at

Which American Girl are you?

Set your daughter down to write about her favorite American Girl Doll for our Today’s Girl Essay contest. The winner gets tickets to the American Girl Fashion Show (Oct 13 & 14 to benefit Children’s Hospital Foundation) and she becomes a local celebrity! See page 34.

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Science & Math & Learning... Oh, My!

Stop by the Louisville Science Center to see the Science in Play that encourages science and math learning through the lens of play, especially for children ages 3-7 and their caregivers. Thanks to a $500,000 gift from the PNC Foundation, this will become a permanent, expanded area in 2014.

The Write Stuff

Did you know we look for writers who are also parents for this magazine? If you are interested, write to and put “writer-parent” in the subject line.

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