Page 1


Vote for a Beautiful Baby page 6


25 fun spots page 12

Intro p4 Cook with the Kids p24 Get Your Child Organized p26 How this Family Bonds p32 Take a Trip Abroad p34 Creative Solutions for Learning p36 Overcoming Obstacles p38 Sing a Song p40 A Sweet Remedy for Allergies p42

White te h C ocolaam ice cre

as par t (featured op 5 of our “T pick s ” Places for… 2.) on page 1

4 Things You’ll Find at the Library p44 Just Ask Joyce p48


7 tips

for adoptive parents Find a Summer

Camp page 46

2 SPRING 2016

page 30

does your teen need help?

page 28 // // @todaysfamilynow

INTRO By Anita Oldham, Editor

Volume 25 • Number 1 PUBLISHER

Cathy S. Zion

Steal the Best Ideas! EDITOR


Elaine Rooker Jack




Kaitlyn English

Teri Hickerson

Suzy Hillebrand




Melissa Donald

Wendy Brunton and her 8-year-old daughter share special time together watching a movie after everyone else is asleep for the night. Find more ideas about spending time together on page 32.


Jessica Alyea

oday’s Family is growing and changing in 2016. We are exploring the inner workings of families and sharing their best ideas — both in print and at — so you can use their ideas in your own families. Our writer Lynn Willing talked to the The Brunton Family — a family with a 17, 15, 14 and 8 year old — about how they have fun together. We were inspired by their many ideas. Here are a few: (you can find more on page 32 and even more at

k Elementary age

• Sleepovers with Mom: A child gets undivided attention after everyone else is settled for the night. Either in the child’s room or family room, they share a movie, popcorn, board games, or whatever connects with that kid’s current idea of fun (like above in the photo of Wendy Brunton and daughter Ivy, 8).

k Middle School age

• Dates with Mom or Dad: One-onone time invested in a child can pay big



dividends, especially in middle school. Going out for a meal, ice cream, or somewhere that “clicks” with that child. • Heads Up: A great game for this age is Heads Up, a charades-inspired app. A player holds his phone or tablet to his forehead to display a word which the group acts out.

k High School age • Netflix TV series and movies from the ’80s and ’90s: Wendy and Adelaide (age 17) recommend The Gilmore Girls, and all the teens have enjoyed Poirot, the mystery series based on Agatha Christie’s British sleuth. • Coffee shop visits: Wendy takes her older teens to coffee shops, where they can sit together and work on their own projects side by side. “I'm coming into their world, and sporadic conversation that doesn't feel forced just naturally happens.” She finds it's better than at home, where siblings and housework are often distracting. Dad Dean will often grab a game like backgammon and take one of the teens to Starbucks.



Alissa Hicks


Jillian LeMaster

PUBLISHED QUARTERLY 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 4 quarterly issues.

Today’s Family magazine is published quarterly by Zion Publications LLC and distributed free to the people of metropolitan Louisville and Southern Indiana. Circulation 35,000. 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 2016 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.

The Brunton family inspired us to create an indoor campout space for Adelaide, 17, and sister Ivy, 8, to enjoy a little sister time. PHOTO BY MELISSA DONALD. BBB RATING OF

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6 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow

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SPRING 2016 11

Our editorial team and parent writers got together to offer you a list of fun places for your family’s bucket list this spring and summer. We would love to hear from you about great places where your family likes to go to learn, laugh, and grow.




12 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


TOP 5 k


Bowman Field Walking Bridge and Waterfront Park Most everyone knows about the Big Four Walking Bridge, but it’s a great family activity for all ages at day or night. The view of The Ohio and downtown as you stroll is well worth the free cost and the navigation of downtown. Add in the great lawns of Waterfront Park and the water features, swings, and playgrounds, and you can spend the day. 1101 River Road k 502.574.3768 k PHOTO BY JOHN NATION, QUADRANT

Louisville Library Story Time

Bowman Field airport is a perfect place to watch small jets fly in and out. You could even bicycle around Bowman Field on the wide bicycle path, keeping hearts pumping until you spot another one. Or have a snack at the Le Relais Restaurant and keep your eye on the sky. 2815 Taylorsville Road k 502.368.6524 k

The Parklands of Floyds Fork This park — which is really a whole lot of parks connected and is still growing — offers beautiful vistas and specific areas to bike, run, kayak, fish, and play sports. It also features playgrounds such as the well-known Marshall Playground and Sprayground (1400 Beckley Creek Parkway) and family programming of all kinds, including camps. k 4002 S. Pope Lick Road k 502.584.0350 k

From baby to preschool, the area libraries offer story time activities free to your family. They even have a family story time for families of kids age 3-8 in different locations around the city and at different times. Special party activities are offered. 301 York Street k 502.571.1611 k

UofL Baseball Games The University of Louisville Cardinals, ranked 2 in preseason rankings, will once again offer free admission to 34 of 36 home baseball games to keep your little baller excited. (Home games start this month — February 19, 20, 21, and 23.) Jim Patterson Stadium k 502.852.5791 k

14 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 15


Blackacre Conservancy Learn a little more about farming by joining in farm animal feedings, starting in May on Saturdays at 9:30am. Or start a family garden at one of the community garden plots. Trails through pastures give some wide open space to your youngsters. 3200 Tucker Station Road k 502.266.9802 k

TOP 5 k


Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest Bernheim is a place to enjoy hiking, observe wildlife, or set up a spring picnic. The Children’s Play Garden offers nature-based play features, like rolling hills, fossil-filled rocks, a dry creek bed, and a scavenger hunt trail. 2499 Clermont Road, Clermont, Kentucky k 502.955.8512 k

Joe Huber Family Farm Louisville Zoo If you’re searching for an outing fit for the entire family, the zoo is the right place. Your kids can learn about any one of the 1500 animals as part of zoo’s behind-the-scenes tours. Or if you want to take some time out for relaxation, let them run around in the outpost playground. Some of their other great attractions include the Papa John’s Splash Park, the ropes and adventure courses, and Glacier Run. 1100 Trevilian Way k 502.459.2181 k

Learning how fruit grows on trees, bushes, or vines and eating the rewards is part of what the Joe Huber Family Farm offers to visiting families. A large lake outside the restaurant where you can eat fried chicken sets the scene for a perfect spring farm visit. 2421 Engle Road, Starlight, Indiana 812.923.5255 k

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens With more than 12,000 plants, and more than a mile of hiking trails, Yew Dell offers a great natural space. We especially like the activity packs that can be checked out while on the grounds at no charge. Backpacktivities include sketch pads, colored pencils, and scavenger hunts. Book-N-Blanket Bags, filled with a Yew Dell blanket and garden/ nature-themed children’s books, make for a relaxed visit to the garden. Also, children’s classes are offered every Saturday after Derby until September. 6220 Old Lagrange Road k 502.241.4788 k

16 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


TOP 5 k


Kentucky Railway Kentucky Science Center Raise your child’s curiosity about how things work by putting him in one of the many camps offered for grades PreK through 5 at the Kentucky Science Center starting April 1. Whether she is experimenting with eggs or making a space rocket, she will undoubtedly learn something new and exciting. 727 W. Main Street k 502.561.6100 k

If you have a train lover in the family, you will want to head to the Kentucky Railway. It offers a museum and different themed rides according to the time of year. 136 S. Main Street, New Haven, Kentucky 800.272.0152 k


Cave Hill Cemetery A cemetery might seem like an odd place to take the family, but Cave Hill is almost 300 park-like acres where you can see a wide variety of artwork on the monuments, many by renowned artists, including a stone vase by Tiffany & Company and sculptures by Barney Bright. Cave Hill offers tours throughout the year, including historical walking tours, a Civil War tour, arboretum tours, and art tours. Or, you can download a map at their website for points of interest. 701 Baxter Avenue k 502.451.5630

Frazier History Museum Learn from historical interpretations, costumed actors’ live performances, and exhibits that help give a glimpse of history. Every second Saturday of the month, kids can go a little deeper into a specific time or culture. 829 W. Main Street k 502.753.5663 k

KMAC Cultural Pass with LFPL This is not one place, but a pass to many places. The pass, a collaboration between Metro Government and cultural partners, admits one child/student (ages 0 through college) to attractions as diverse as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, to the Kentucky Derby Museum, to Walden Theater. Passes are available in May at Louisville Free Public Library branches and Metro Parks Community Centers. 715 W. Main Street k 502.589.0102 k

18 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 19

TOP 5 k


Comfy Cow Sisters Tea Parlor You don’t have to wait for a special event to take your favorite child to a tea party, but this place also does special events to make a girl feel like a princess. With 35 flavors of tea and a changing menu of two- and three-tiered tea trays (some especially for certain ages or dietary restrictions), this turns an afternoon into some quality time. 4765 Fox Run Road, Buckner, Kentucky k 502.222.6420 k

With seven locations of this local ice cream shop, a visit here is a great grand finale to any activity. However, with flavors like Lemon Cream Raspberry and Cookie Monster Dough (plus options for toppings and sauces), it is a destination for any special night all by itself. Multiple locations k

Captains Quarters

Arctic Scoop It’s a dessert lover’s paradise. With 55 flavors and 56 mix-ins, you can make your ice cream any way you want starting with a dairy or non-dairy base. Everything is custom-made right in front of you — using liquid nitrogen as a freezing agent — like dessert and science combined! 841 S. Hurstbourne Parkway k 502.409.6602 k

Hanging out by the water and watching boats come in while dining al fresco can lead to a great family time. One of the best places to take advantage of The Ohio River and an extensive menu. 5700 Captains Quarters Road 502.228.1651 k

Game Give your kids an eating adventure at Game. Try wild boar, kangaroo, elk, duck, or bison. Many of those flavors are offered as house-made meatballs, shown here. 2295 Lexington Road k 502.618.1712

20 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 21

TOP 5 k


Louisville Mega Cavern House of Boom With trampolines, ninja obstacle courses, a slackline, trapeze, and foam pit, your family can burn off extra energy and gain coordination at the same time. There are special times and nights for different ages, and family nights are every Monday for a special price. 100 Urton Lane, Suite 101 k 502.632.4455 k

This huge cavern is a great place for a family adventure. It offers zip lining in all kinds of weather, ropes courses, and a mountain/trick biking area. Bike rentals are now available. 1841 Taylor Avenue k 502.855.6342 k

Lazer Blaze Lazer tag is how this place started more than 20 years ago, and it is still why people go there to show off their shooting skills. However, it has added some things including their newest bumper car Spin Zone area. You can also do black-light mini golf. 4121 Shelbyville Road k 502.895.2985 k

Go-Karts on a 1.5 mile track with a separate kiddie track is why families keep going back here. They have other attractions, but all ages will love racing the go-karts. 315 Vine Street k 502.543.9588 k

Mama’s Hip Playgroups


Kart Kountry

Mama’s Hip has built a community of moms and babies by offering support groups, classes, and play groups. In addition to music classes like the one pictured, they also have toddler yoga and art, and playgroups for specific ages. 1559 Bardstown Road k 502.384.8805 k

22 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow

k The hayes Family East end, louisville, KY

making meals together By Sandi Haustein



Dad Eric and daughter Kira help prepare dinner in the Hayes household.

24 SPRING 2016

njoying time together is what makes mealtime special at the East End home of Eric and Kari Hayes. After a full day of homeschooling and extracurricular activities, Kari and her four children, Kira (10), Eli (8), Ella (6), and Kenna (4), look forward to dinner time with Dad. “Dinner signals that it’s time to wind down,” Kari says. “We’ve worked hard all day, and now we get to sit down to eat together and enjoy an evening doing something fun.” While Kari does most of the cooking, her kids love being involved. Ella and Kenna get out silverware, cups, and plates while the older two dice vegetables or help stir a pot of pasta. If four kids in the kitchen sounds like a recipe for disaster, Kari is quick to point out that the experience of cooking together is worth more than perfection. “If things aren’t diced just like I want, it doesn’t really matter,” she says. “It will be eaten in 10 minutes anyway!” Dinner is ready by 6:30 when Eric walks in the door from work. With the dishes spread out in a buffet line, Kari fixes plates for the younger two while the others serve themselves and meet at the table. Eric and Kari teach their children that even if you don’t like something on your plate, you still have to take a “thank-you bite” to show the cook that you appreciate what they’ve made. They hope by exposing their kids to foods multiple times, eventually they’ll learn to like them. And it seems to work. Kari laughs when sharing how Eli used to shake all over as he muscled down his “thank you bite” of green beans. Now, he eats the green beans without any complaints but still only takes “thank you bites” of his squash.

The Hayes family: Mom Kari and Dad Eric; children Kira, Eli, Ella, and Kenna. Above, 4-year-old Kenna helps get the silverware ready for family dinnertime. // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 25

an ‘a+’ for organization By Keri Foy

k The chisholm Family henry county, KY


fter a play date with Grayson Chisholm, age 5, my kids felt like they were on Easy Street. When we offered to help Grayson, son of Ryan and Tiffany of Henry County, clean up the toys, he politely refused and asked that we leave the toys on the floor of his room. Tiffany casually called out from the other room, “Grayson likes to put his toys back a certain way.” Part of me did an internal happy dance (because I get tired of picking up toys anyway), but the other part of me felt guilty. Here, my three kids had demolished her house and were only expected to simply place the toys into Grayson’s room for him to do all the dirty work. After a couple of reassurances from Grayson and Tiffany, I sheepishly loaded my kids in the van and wondered, “How did she create such a marvelously well-organized child?” Was it nature or nurture? Tiff says nature, with a little help from nurture. When Grayson was two years old, Tiffany noticed his knack for organization. She would find Grayson arranging toys by characters. “At that time he was into Cars and Toy Story, so all the Cars characters would stay together, and all the Toy Story toys would stay together,” says Tiffany. Grayson even matched the bins to the main character’s main color: red bins for Cars star Lightning McQueen and green for Ninja Turtles. It makes perfect sense. “I like to know where my toys are,” says Grayson, who has always liked his clothes to match and his hands to be clean. “He’s just got a Type A personality,” says Tiff. “I think it’s part of being the first-born.” Now Tiffany and Grayson have a triedand-true system in place that helps Grayson organize his toys, thanks to a toy organizer his grandmother purchased a couple years ago. The bins tilt toward you, so Grayson can see exactly what’s inside. The method of organization: Cleaning up and organizing are woven into the Chisholm daily bedtime routine. “We take a bath, play a little bit, clean up toys, read books, and go to bed,” says Tiffany. This established nighttime ritual helps set expectations at an early age. “Everything has its designated place,” adds Tiffany. As a youngster, Tiffany, like Grayson, displayed a penchant for zero clutter. She had a spot on her desk for her stapler and pens and would know immediately if they were out of place. That philosophy of organization has, of course, found roots in her home.

26 SPRING 2016


“[Grayson]’s just got a Type A personality. I think it’s part of being the first-born.” — Mom Tiffany Chisholm // // @todaysfamilynow






Today’s Family is looking for the special people who encourage our kids to grow into terrific adults. We are looking for sports coaches, trainers, arts and music private lesson teachers, tutors, camp counselors, church leaders, and other mentors who set good examples and encourage kids along their specific skill sets. Entries will appear in our Summer issue of Today’s Family and be voted on by our readers. DEADLINE IS MARCH 31, 2016.

Nominate someone at!


SPRING 2016 27

Was This Normal Teenage Behavior — or Something More Important? By Samantha Smith


ur Lauren is a sweet girl and has been sensitive to the needs of others since she was little. She’s always been on the silly side, loving humor and wit despite being a bit shy. Her grades were strong until middle school, when she began to feel the effects of criticism, real or perceived. As confident people who had always encouraged her to believe in herself, her dad and I were surprised. Must be a teenage girl thing. We realize now how loud and destructive her internal criticism can be. Her grades declined, and she became more quiet, pulling away from encouraging friends and preferring to stay in her room. She started showing anger with herself and with me when pressed about missing assignments, like she was straining hard to keep from exploding but refused to talk about any of it. That felt personal to me so I had to work through my own hurt and anger. I knew something was wrong, but I was unsure whether it was "normal teenage girl behavior" as others seemed to think. I began to notice she was always uncomfortable when I entered her room. I began reading her text messages and watching her very closely. Then I noticed a wound she had on her thigh from bumping into the edge of a table — the bruise had healed, but the cut was larger and deeper.

28 SPRING 2016

Now I was scared. It was a few days later. I found the package of razors and felt my heart stop. My husband and I showed it to her and she denied it, but we had watched a friend's nightmare as his son committed suicide and knew our child was in danger. I called our church and got the name of a psychiatrist who specializes in adolescents and teens, Dr. Alphonso Nichols. He wasn't available for several weeks but offered to do a phone consultation. After hearing details about Lauren's behavior and family history of depression and anxiety, he suggested we take her to another psychiatrist right away and also to a licensed family therapist specializing in teen girls. I was able to talk with the therapist, Kelly Parker at James Kassel and Associates, and felt confident she would be helpful... if only Lauren would talk to her. That night my husband explained to her that we loved her and were committed to her well-being, including her emotional health. He told her we were convinced she needed help sorting through her thoughts and feelings, and that it was possible she may have inherited some conditions that could be addressed with medication. We made it clear that we loved her too much to ignore whatever was happening. Lauren was very quiet but didn’t fight us. We were surprised by how open she was with both the doctor and therapist. She refused to allow us to be present, but

gave them complete freedom to share everything with us. It was gut wrenching to learn how much emotional pain she was in and that she wanted to end her life. Initially we were told she shouldn't be left alone, and we removed the lock from her bedroom door. She understood. I think she was empowered by sharing her struggles and having them acknowledged as something treatable that she didn’t have to suffer through alone. The reality of the worthlessness she felt — how she felt she could never measure up — continued for several months but eventually faded. Our daughter's depression became controlled very well with medication within about six months, during which she saw the therapist weekly and then bi-weekly. Mrs. Parker helped her identify automatic thought patterns that were unhealthy and replace those with better thoughts and actions. During a major transition a year later, Lauren struggled again with anxiety and met with her for a couple of months, which got her through a difficult situation. We were all grateful to have that relationship in place when we needed it. Several years later we are so thankful that we treated our daughter's emotional health as the emergency it was, although it didn't initially appear to be one. The experience has strengthened our relationships so much, and made us all more compassionate to those around us who struggle emotionally. // // @todaysfamilynow

7 Things By Angel Lyn Nance

that Helped Me During the Adoption Wait



y husband and I recently adopted a toddler from Bulgaria. Any adoption involves tons of paperwork, but for us, the hardest part was the waiting. In international adoption, there are several phases where you do nothing but wait. As an impatient person who has never handled waiting well, I’d love to share seven things that helped me during the months of waiting.


I read as much as possible about international adoption and helping children from “hard places” learn to adjust to having a family. (In adoption lingo, the term “hard places” refers to the fact that all children who are adopted have undergone trauma in losing their first families, whether k they remember it or not. It often includes other difficulties, like being raised in an orphanage, a history of abuse, or not having enough food to eat.) Two books I recommend are: The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, and Forever Mom by Mary Ostyn.

2 3 4 5 6

Our family learned about our child’s home country. This can be fun! We especially enjoyed trying out Bulgarian k recipes. I also learned a few basic phrases in Bulgarian. I’m one who needs to talk during wait times; my husband dislikes talking when he can’t act, so I called my sister when I needed to discuss adoption. She was able to let k me give a voice to my worries and to support me when I just needed to talk. Having her as my additional support person was really helpful for me. I stalked blogs that dealt with international adoption in

k general and Bulgarian adoption in particular.

Many friends and family members would just let me know

k that they were praying for us, which made us more grateful than I could ever express.

“‘hard places’ refers to the fact that all children who are adopted have undergone trauma in losing their first families, whether they remember it or not.”

I tried to declutter our home. This may seem like an odd thing to list, but it was very much like nesting as a mom. I knew that adding an additional child k pregnant to our home would mean reworking some things, so I put some of my nervous energy into getting rid of excess stuff around the house. When our adoption agency offered a skype session for parents in the Bulgarian program, I took advantage of the opportunity to “meet” other people who had gone through the process. It was nice to be able to question parents who k already had their children home and understood what it was like to see the entire process through. It was also nice to encourage others who were just starting the process.


Getting through the waiting phase was hard, but it was so worth it when we walked out of the orphanage for the last time — with our son in my arms.

30 SPRING 2016

Angel Lyn Nance with her son Gyunay, whom she and her husband adopted from Bulgaria. // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 31

k The Brunton Family Pewee Valley, KY

How This Family Spends Time Together By M. Lynn Willing PHOTOS BY MELISSA DONALD


he Brunton family in Pewee Valley turns kid entertainment into opportunities to connect as a family. Wendy and Dean are the busy parents of Adelaide (17), Jack (15), Julia (14), and Ivy (8), and they look for ways to spend time with their kids through the things they enjoy. “It’s important to find set-apart time doing something one-on-one that naturally leads to conversation and being part of their world,” Wendy says.

For All Ages: k

Dad Dean bonds with his children through work projects. TOP PHOTO: The Brunton family gets together to read books aloud.

32 SPRING 2016

Projects with Dad

For Mother’s Day, Dean and the kids made a corn hole game for Wendy, which gave each child some one-on-one time with Dad to work together, learn a skill, and create something special. k

Reading aloud

Wendy is convinced reading aloud provides a way to bond as a family more than watching a screen together. Unlike picture books, novels that include interesting characters, adventure, suspense, working together to overcome obstacles, and heartfelt emotions create a shared experience that leaves kids thinking about

the story the next day and looking forward to hearing what happens next. Reading aloud also increases their vocabulary and attention spans. She recommends: Elementary: The Railway Children, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, and Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. Middle School: The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, the original Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and the original Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. High School: Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. Their son enjoys biographies of great leaders with strong moral character and stories about athletes who’ve overcome difficult odds, like Tim Howard, the American soccer goalie.


App: Khan academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational website that provides free educational videos. The subjects span from art to math to computer programming to college test prep, and begin with kindergarten level videos. It’s like a virtual tutoring site with videos where you can search a topic to learn something helpful for school or just hear about something that interests you. It’s a great way to give kids of all ages something to do. // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 33




he European (family) Vacation: it’s on all our bucket lists, but the Findigs — Jenny and John, Sam (14), Charlie (11), and Francis (8) — made it a reality. With some careful planning and saving, this dream vacation could also be yours for the financial equivalent of a week at Disney World. John and Jenny Findig spent three months planning the logistics of their trip — tucking away their itinerary, research, passes, and important paperwork in a folder they used to stay organized — but the dream began years ago. “John’s parents were in the Foreign Service, so he grew up abroad and was antsy to get the kids there to see the cities where he had grown up. He drove the whole thing,” Jenny said. After debating over which cities to visit in the culturerich continent, they decided on the iconic cities of London and Paris to show the kids; Amsterdam and The Hague because John had lived there as a child; and Essen and Frankfurt, Germany because they had friends living there and could pay them a visit. They also hit Verdun, France, the famous WWI battle site, and other smaller cities while in transit. Jenny said that while she had wanted to “chill in the South of France,” they decided they could chill at a state-side beach for a lot less money. “We decided to hit the popular cities and get more bang for our buck.” While abroad, Jenny and John traversed the continent solely by public transportation to cut costs and travel like the locals. After four nights in London using the subway system, they took a train to Paris where they stayed five nights, and finally rented a car to make their way to Holland and Germany. “The subways were affordable but stressful,” Jenny notes. “We would spend a lot of time and energy navigating the systems at the self-serve kiosks in the stations. We had such a packed agenda that I started using terminology like ‘let’s just knock out the Orsay’ after an entire day of museums. Sometimes it was just sensory overload and the kids just needed down time, so we’d get a sandwich and go to a park and kick a soccer ball. We all needed that.” Another way to curb the stress of a full agenda abroad was the decision to stay in apartments along the way, rented through sites like Airbnb. This provided the family with separate rooms to flee to after long days with one another, a functional kitchen to use for affordable dinners, laundry, and living spaces where the kids could relax while their parents had a date night in each city. “By staying in apartments, we could afford to stay in the some really cool neighborhoods that would have cost a fortune to stay in if we were in hotels.” Jenny said. The apartments were also a great idea because they allowed the family to grocery shop and prepare their own meals, with local ingredients, in each city. The kids were open to eating like the locals, especially in France with the

34 SPRING 2016

abundance of chocolate pastries. “We were especially appreciative of the smaller-size groceries there, not the huge Kroger-type stores with 50 different cereal options. Who needs all those choices?” Each family member had his or her own favorite city and experience: Francis loved the royalty of London, Charlie loved the Hague because he could finally put a picture to all his dad’s stories, Sam’s favorite was Amsterdam, and the parents loved Paris. “The biggest surprise for all of us, though, was Amsterdam. The city is more compact and easier to travel than Paris and London, so by the time we got there and started our second week abroad, we all were able to relax a little. We couldn’t keep up the pace of seeing all those famous museums and feeling the pressure to ‘get it all in.’ When you travel with kids, you just have to be flexible.” So was it worth it? Yes, Findig said without hesitation. “When we returned home, everyone was in a post-vacation funk for most of the summer. You spend so much time planning and talking about it, that when you get home, you feel down. Even when we spent an hour in Paris going around in the same circle in the tiny, diesel stick-shift we rented, like the Griswolds — it was the experience of a lifetime.” // // @todaysfamilynow



Pam Leveritt says her 10-year-old daughter Avery likes to sit on an exercise ball while doing schoolwork. The homeschool Mom says finding the right homework strategies has been beneficial for Avery and her sister.



omework — the necessary evil. It can leave you angry and frustrated to the point of tears. And it’s hard on the kids, too. So, how to tame the homework beast? The key is finding creative solutions that work for your family’s circumstances. For Pam Leveritt, a homeschooling mom from LaGrange, homework isn’t the typical after-school routine for her two daughters, Megan, 16, a sophomore, and Avery, 10, a fifth grader. It’s integrated into each day whether they are in their dedicated classroom — a well-equipped area in their basement — studying outside, or driving around town. Pam takes every opportunity to ask questions that stir critical thinking and reinforce learning. In the car, they play CDs that help them memorize facts and dates, many of which are incorporated into song. “I wake up singing these songs,” she says. “What are the seven types of biomes?” She begins singing, “grasslands, deserts, scrublands, tundra….” As a homeschool family, Pam designs the girls’ school day, grades their work, and assesses their progress.

36 SPRING 2016

She typically keeps to an 8am to 4pm schedule four days a week, including separate weekly seminars for each girl, where new material is presented and assignments given. Fridays are for field trips and science experiments. Their homework is mastering the material through timelines, games, writing, and of course, music. Pam says her girls have flourished in this environment. “This is our third year,” she says. “The first year we were like, ‘Hold onto your hats!’ Let’s just figure this out.” Now they have structure. “Their level of stress goes way down if you’re organized.” Pam began homeschooling Megan in seventh grade after she suffered bullying in public school; then Avery joined them the next year. Eventually, Megan was diagnosed with Sensory Auditory Processing Disorder. Pam was then able to customize her homework allowing her more creativity and autonomy in writing and group debates. After Megan fell behind in math, Pam and her husband hired an outside professional tutor who meets with her twice a week and grades all math assignments. “If your child can’t finish her homework and she’s crying in the corner — which is what

she was doing, and I was, too — you do what’s best for your daughter,” she says. Pam allows the girls some freedom in their study environment. They may be together at the table with quiet music playing, lying on their stomachs, or outside on the porch. Pam also uses a diffuser of essential oils throughout the house. “They have no idea,” she says. “It’s a ‘brain power’ oil mixture,” she says. “I think it just gives them some clarity.” For Avery, choice is important. “She cannot just sit in a chair,” says Pam. “She sits on an exercise ball. She gets to jump rope. That’s the freedom I have.” Finding the right homework strategies for her girls has been challenging but also invaluable. “They’re different learners. You don’t quit. You keep looking for creative ways to teach.” Fortunately, Pam knows she’s not alone. She reaches out on a private Facebook page to other homeschooling parents for teaching ideas and advice. “I can’t be afraid to say to one of the other moms, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. I need help.’” That sense of community keeps her calm and motivated. // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 37


k THE MATTINGLY FAMILY south end, louisville, KY



aising children is never easy, but some families face special challenges and do so with a courage that others find aweinspiring. Becky and Steve Mattingly and their children, Matthew (9), Molly (7) and Madeline (3), from Louisville’s South End, are one such family. In 2012, when Becky and Steve went for a scan to find out their third child’s gender, they took their older children, who were three and five at the time, thinking it would be a routine visit. But Becky says, “There were lots of surprises at the ultrasound.” The doctors determined that the baby girl had abnormalities of the hands, feet, and mouth, which they suspected were due to either Trisomy 13, 18, or 21. The following day, after meeting with a high-risk obstetrician, Becky says, “We went straight to church to talk to someone.” Even though they were very much against abortion, they needed someone to remind them of the value of life and offer them hope. They left feeling a renewed sense of faith that everything would work out, and these feelings inspired their daughter’s name. When Madeline Faith was born in November 2012, she did not have any of the conditions the doctors warned Becky and Steve about, but she was diagnosed with Freeman Sheldon Syndrome (FSS). Madeline’s feet were severely clubbed, and she stayed in the NICU for 12 days because she had trouble feeding. She was unable to nurse because of her small mouth and eventually had to have a gastrostomy tube placed in order to have her nutritional needs met.

38 SPRING 2016

Madeline has been going to the KIDS Center for a variety of therapies, including physical and feeding, since she was four months old. She has also had five surgeries. Despite these difficulties, she is able to walk and has never experienced any kind of cognitive developmental delay. Becky says Madeline is even a little above where her siblings were at similar ages. For Becky, Madeline’s mouth issues are the most challenging and anxiety-provoking. Madeline can now eat pureed foods and is learning to eat very soft foods. While an infant or toddler might squawk a little when a food doesn’t taste or feel right, Madeline is an older child whose reaction is much more forceful when she doesn’t like a food. Becky jokingly says, “I’ve got that whole 3-year-old thing working for me.” Becky is also concerned about future dental challenges for Madeline. The Mattingly’s struggle to balance all of Madeline’s therapies with Matthew’s basketball and soccer and Mollie’s dance classes. Becky keeps a paper calendar in their kitchen and uses her phone calendar as well. She says, “I use different colored Sharpie markers to differentiate between different events: doctor appointments, therapy appointments, basketball practice, dance class times, my husband’s work schedule, volunteer dates at church. It helps to keep us all on the same page.” Another thing that helps instill balance in the family in the midst of a busy life is praying together every evening. Becky says, “Early on, we started praying together for the baby, getting down on our knees.” They continue to do this as a way to regain strength and hope, as well as appreciate all of Madeline’s accomplishments. Becky says, “Madeline is the definition of perseverance.” // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 39

AGE Page Birth to 5

By Angel Lyn Nance

Sing a Little Tune Singing to your babies is a great way to interact as well as boost language development, and toddlers love to move to the music. Make up your own motions to this spring song, to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”:

Does Your Child Need Speech Therapy?

Puddles, puddles, on the ground, Raindrops falling all around, Splashing on the trees and plants, Soaking through my shirt and pants, Puddles, puddles, on the ground, Raindrops falling all around.

Some early childhood speech errors — like saying “dis” instead of “this” — are age-appropriate and normal, but other issues may need to be addressed with speech therapy. Speech Language Pathologist Tonya Johnson talked about when to set up an evaluation. HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IF YOU HAVE A 3 YEAR OLD:

• Can strangers understand at least 75 percent of what your child says?

• As your child turns 3, does she use three- and four-word

sentences? As the child nears age 4, are her sentences increasing in detail and length? • Does your child get stuck on words, with no sound coming out? Johnson says, “Your child may exhibit some stuttering-like behavior during this time of rapid speech and language development. There is a normal level of this behavior but if you are concerned, it is best to have a speech language pathologist take a look, especially if he is making odd facial expressions or body movements while trying to speak.” • Can your child answer questions, and does he rely mainly on words versus actions to communicate? • Does she get frustrated or avoid speaking due to not being understood? If you suspect that your child needs speech therapy, contact your local school district to set up an evaluation.

Out and About The Speed Art Museum reopens on March 12, including the Art Sparks interactive area Planet Preschool, designed for children ages 5 and under. Even better, Sunday FREE ADMISSION admission to the Speed ON SUNDAYS Museum is free for 2016.

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Find Your Own Rainbow Connection APRIL 3 IS NATIONAL FIND A RAINBOW DAY! Celebrate by reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, and then try planting seeds at home. Basil, marigolds, and carrots are all easy to grow from seed in pots. Just add potting soil, water, and plenty of sunshine, and encourage your child to check on the plants every day. While you are waiting for your plant to grow, try reading The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, lyrical picture book Isabella’s Garden by Glenda Millard, or board book From the Garden: A Counting Book by Michael Dahl. // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 41

AGE Page 6 to 11

By Erin Nevitt

Bring the Story to Life Make a fun nursery rhyme scene or literary scene from your child’s favorite book. Use your kitchen or hard surface floor in your house to tape down fun elements from the story. For the Itsy Bitsy Spider: Tape down a “spout” (using painter’s tape), some raindrops, a sun, etc. Make an easy spider out of an egg carton cup, pipe cleaners, and string, and dance your spider along the spout as you sing Itsy Bitsy Spider. This is a great activity to do indoors in the still-cold months leading to spring, Plus, when you’re done playing, kids can rip up the painter’s tape, and it’s great for fine motor skills!

Talk Now, Reap Benefits Later Personal relationships are so important during this age. Here are some great tips from Susan Engler, local licensed clinical social worker who operates Louisville Counseling Associates. RELATIONSHIP TIPS

• Listen. Put down the phone, turn off the electronics, and look

at your children. Starting the habit of having conversations with your children at this age pays off when they are teens. • Remember they have lots of friends, but you are the parent. • Implement active listening when they are toddlers. If you listen to what you think are the small things (which to the 6 year old are not small things), and they know you will listen, then they will also talk to you about the big stuff. • Start implementing expectations/guidelines that can carry into the teen years. For instance, if you take their media devices every night at bedtime when they are in this age range then it probably won’t be a big deal when they are 15 or 16. They will already be used to it. • Establish family traditions when they are little. Traditions build connections and good communication.

Safety and Ratings Check out for everything from reviews, family guides, age ratings (movies, tv shows, apps, books, music), parent concerns about media, and Internet searching/browsing and more.

Sweeten those Allergies Since we live in Louisville — the allergy capital of the world — one tip from health/ wellness advocates for children is to give them some local honey from a young age (but older than the recommended 1 year). It can help them avoid serious allergy problems. You can search this website for honey in the Louisville area.

Natural Remedies If you’re looking for more natural remedy ideas and tips for health and wellness products, check out Divine Creationz Herbals & More ( available at the local Rainbow Blossom ( They sell many essential oils, herbal creams, and salves, and use all-natural herbs with no toxins. (This writer personally likes their wonderful bug spray.)

42 SPRING 2016 // // @todaysfamilynow


SPRING 2016 43

AGE Page 12 and up

By Megan S. Willman

Why You Should Re-Think the Library

Play Ball! Raising a softball or baseball player? While coaches have a player’s best interests at heart, it’s critical for parents to be mindful of the potential danger of arm injury. Not only can an eager player end up out for the season, but a significant injury can end a young career before it’s even started. Jay Sorg, owner of Jay Sorg Baseball Academy in New Albany, says overuse is the number one culprit leading to arm injuries, especially with kids who play in multiple leagues. HERE ARE SOME “SAFE ARM” GUIDELINES: Guard from overuse • Adhere to proper pitch counts and days off from pitching (relative to pitches thrown) during the season. • Watch for fatigue and a breakdown in mechanics; good coaches will remove pitchers from the game when they see these signs, regardless of pitch count. • Gradually build arm strength for the spring — at the start of the year — with a proper throwing program. • Give your arm a rest in the off-season. • Learn the proper throwing mechanics in order to take unnecessary stress off the shoulder and elbow. Work on flexibility, strength, and conditioning

• Develop a wider range of motion to decrease injuries. • Use proper techniques when strength-training. Incorrect

Libraries provide a host of programming and services created with teens in mind! Here are just a few offerings:

• Take ACT Prep Classes and free online practice tests for the ACT and SAT.

• Enjoy activities like the Art Club, Anime

Club, Board Gaming, “Star Wars” Party, and Volunteer Days, just to name a few. • Three libraries also have dedicated Teen Library Centers: The Underground (Main Library) The Outpost (Highlands/Shelby Park) The Loft (Bon Air Library) • Get a Student Power Plus library card! These cards provide access to the library and serve as a student id card and TARC discount card. With it, students can get homework help, download audio books from NetLibrary, use library computers, and more. Check out

The calendar provides the specific branch, day, and time for each event. Don’t live in Jefferson County? Check out Oldham County Public Library at, and Floyd County at

form will produce injury.

• Build good core strength to prevent fatigue, which leads to mechanic breakdowns, which lead to injuries.

Use common sense • Use pain and fatigue as a guide. Muscle soreness is expected, but pain in your shoulder and elbow requires time off and a possible trip to a doctor. • Take time off as needed. A little bit of prevention can save a season of injury.

Do You Speak Your Teen’s Language? YGTBK! Curious what all those little abbreviations mean? Check out where you can get the 411 on today’s kid-speak.

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Whet Your Palette Do you have a budding artist in your home? Whet Your Palette, at 1415 Evergreen Road, offers $10 painting drop-in hours, which includes an 8x10 canvas and a little guidance. You decide what you paint. No reservations are required. This experience is for all ages and requires no artistic experience. // // @todaysfamilynow


FAMILY FINDS the best products and services for you and yours

Jane Owens Family Therapy, LLC Spring is a time for growth and renewal. What is holding you back? I can help you find out and transition through your challenges to have the life you want.


Located in Crescent Hill 502.436.9504 Accepting new clients for individual, family and couples counseling.

Little Treasures Kid’s Sale Looking for a smarter way to shop for your kids? Look no further than Little Treasures Kid’s Sale, the area’s leading seasonal consignment event held every March and August. We promise brand names and BIG savings on anything and everything for baby, big kid, teen and maternity. Get in on the fun:


SPRING 2016 45

Just Ask Joyce

By Joyce Oglesby



Joyce: A big mistake many parents make is growing weary of enforcing the same rules upon the younger children as they did for the first ones on their watch. When we consider how fast the world is pushing our kids to grow up and absorb adult material, it should give us all pause. Stick to your standards, Mom! In addition, teach your older kids the responsibility of protecting younger siblings is theirs, as well. If everyone can’t agree on a movie, consider age-appropriate board games, or share home movies and memories. Do a scavenger hunt. Play putt-putt or glow golf. Have a nighttime picnic in the backyard. There are many fun, creative ways to enjoy family time. Having said that, it begs the question: Is watching a movie really family time? It avoids the obvious: time to talk. Connection involves much more than having something or someone else entertain you. Occasional movie time is great, but make sure you discuss the life lessons from the movies to keep conversation alive within the family. The more struggles I see among our families the more I’m convinced we are losing the art of dialogue in our relationships. So look to the future. Keeping standards and family rules in place for every child from start to finish creates a true winning atmosphere in any family.

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“I feel guilty for wanting [my kids] to go to bed. Should I?”


“My husband and older kids want to watch movies during family time that I feel are a bit too adult for our younger ones. We value family night, but it’s becoming more of a battle than a relaxing time together. We didn’t allow our older ones to watch PG13’s until they were of age, and I don’t want to give in to something I feel could be detrimental. What should we do?”



Q: “I look forward to 8pm. It’s

Q: “We adopted a 3-year-old child

when I begin corralling my kids to bed. We both work, and I feel guilty only having two hours of time, one of which is having dinner and getting baths. Next is homework. The night usually winds down by 9 despite my efforts. My problem? Guilt. I feel guilty for wanting them to go to bed. Should I?” Joyce: Don’t confuse guilt with longing. All too soon you will not have the privilege of scurrying to get life in order for the next day or tucking them into bed. As a seasoned mom, it happens before you’re ready. Applaud yourself. It is a mark of a wise mom who ensures her children get enough rest for a challenging day at school. Relax the schedule during the summer months, but the school season demands a tighter schedule. Patiently and gently explain the reasons behind your decision. Chaos begets bedlam. Life is too short for any of us to forget how to live it.

six years ago. She knows that we are her protection, and she has always been quick to turn to us when she gets physically hurt. Now that she’s older and her friends emotionally hurt her, she pushes us away. We are struggling to understand this behavior. How can we get her to understand we will be there for all kinds of hurts?” Joyce: Adoptive parents have a special place in this world. God bless your hearts! You were most probably given the accompanying history of your child. Many times, though not always, there are patterns of some form of abuse. Push-back is not an uncommon behavior in adopted children. The logic behind it is lack of trust when they are wounded emotionally. Memory can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. And, yes, it’s amazing how pain triggers a response, even from tender ages. Be patient and reassuring. Your child needs you to focus more on why she is hurting than the behavior she is exhibiting. Strive to not show frustration; instead be understanding and let her know when she’s ready to talk, you are there for her, and always will be. Love wins in the end.

Need Family Advice? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life FIX-IT Pro, at // // @todaysfamilynow

Today's Family magazine | Spring 2016  
Today's Family magazine | Spring 2016