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Volume 21 • Number 1

40

PUBLISHER

contents

Cathy S. Zion

publisher@todayspublications.com

december january 2012

EDITOR

Anita Oldham

editor@todayspublications.com ASSISTANT EDITOR

Elaine Rooker Jack

elaine@todayspublications.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

Susan Allen

susan@todayspublications.com SALES DIRECTOR

Cheryl Suhr

cheryl@todayspublications.com account executives

Rose Helm

rose@todayspublications.com

Teri Hickerson

teri@todayspublications.com SENIOR graphic Designer

April H. Allman

april@todayspublications.com photographer

Melissa Donald

melissa@todayspublications.com production coordinator

Sharon Adams

sharon@todayspublications.com OFFICE MANAGER

Jacklyn Walker

jacklyn@todayspublications.com COVER PHOTOGRAPHY

Melissa Donald BLOG EDITOR

Miranda Popp

miranda@todayspublications.com

4

Try these Holiday Traditions

32 Introducing our Blog

6

On the Cover

34 Summer Camp Stories 36 Calendar

10 Family Challenge #1: Going Vegan

38 A New Mother’s Story:

By Mali Anderson

Final Part in a series

By Laura Clark

15 Parent Perspectives — Tales from the Holidays

Kim Kerby

GRAPHICS INTERN

Jessi Winner

Published bi-monthly by: Zion Publications LLC 9750 Ormsby Station Road, Suite 307 Louisville, KY 40223 Phone (502) 327-8855 Fax (502) 327-8861 www.todaysfamilymag.com www.facebook.com/todaysfamily

NE w BLOG !

40 Inside the Playgroup By Carrie Vittitoe

16 School Decisions: Three Different Options

EDITORIAL INTERN

By Stacie L. Martin

22 ‘Tis the Season… (and all that comes with it)

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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 2011 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.

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We cut out pictures of toys with the kids from the pre-Thanksgiving sales catalogs. My son glues them to construction paper and writes his letter to Santa along the way. Usually his list is long enough that relatives can borrow some ideas! -Lorie Leitner The Toyland Christmas Lights Display is a home tucked away in a neighborhood in southeast Louisville that creates a lights spectacle with music, videos, and a visit from Santa all in the spirit of giving to benefit the Home of the Innocents. What I love about it the most is that this family took it upon themselves to create this holiday display in order to not only bring some holiday cheer to Louisville, but to do something wonderful for kids in need.  -Stephanie White

Just before bed on Christmas Eve, my kids and I sit down together in the living room, and we read The Night Before Christmas, then follow that with a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible. -Stacie L. Martin Every year on Christmas Eve, my aunt hosts a Christmas Eve party and bakes a birthday cake for Jesus. Then, before we actually cut into it, we stand around and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. I am not the most religious person myself, but the tradition and quirkiness of it always makes me smile.p -Leigh Ann Burckhardt Each year for the past 30 years, the women in my extended family (grandma, mom, daughter, cousins, aunts, great-aunts) get together on the first Saturday in December to bake cookies and make candy. At the end of the day, we all gather around the table with all the goodies we’ve made and divide them evenly. We’ve had as many as 100 overfull plates of goodness some years!  -Stacie L. Martin

We break out the Jackson 5 Christmas album and dance through the house! This drives my husband crazy! -Lorie Leitner

No matter how late we get home on Christmas Eve, we always go out to the front lawn and put out Reindeer Food! This of course is a mixture of oatmeal, raisins, breadcrumbs, and whatever the girls come up with. Be prepared for the onslaught of nosey raccoons and opossums who seem to have a complete disregard for tradition. We mix the Reindeer Food in a brown bag shortly after the Christmas List is sent to Santa, and we save it until we disperse it on Christmas Eve before bed.   -John G. Warren 4

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We hide the Christmas Pickle! We decorate the tree, and then I hide the small ceramic pickle on it.  On Christmas morning (sometimes Christmas Eve), the search begins. Whoever finds the pickle first gets to open the first present. I began this tradition to honor my   husband’s German roots, only   to find that he and his family had never heard of this tradition! We kept the tradition anyway.  -LaDonna Kennedy Our new favorite is the Mega Caverns holiday show. It was great for all of us, including my 91-year-old grandmother! Since there is no walking, no one has to endure any marathon child-chasing sessions. Everyone can just sit back, ride, and listen to and look at the sights and sounds of the holidays. -Carey Davis My kids love to go to the Maple Syrup Festival at Leane & Michael’s Sugarbush in Scottsburg, Ind.! You can take a tour to see how they tap the trees then watch how they change the sap into pure maple syrup. There are lots of activities for the kids including a scavenger hunt, candle-making, pioneer demonstrations, and crafts. But, best of all, they serve pancakes or waffles topped with strawberries or blueberries, whipped cream and, of course, maple syrup!!  (If you aren’t a pancake fan, they do also have chicken and pork dinners).  -Stacie L. Martin Santa’s elves visit every Christmas Eve to deliver pajamas to the entire family. It builds excitement for the morning and it’s fun to snuggle up in our pajamas, watch television, and relax together. -Lorie Leitner As a single mom on a strapped budget, we decided when my children were small to begin to exchange gifts by secretly drawing names. Sounds simple, huh?  We’ve made it into a top-secret event. No one can know who has whose name, not even spouses now that they are grown. Here’s how this helped our family.  Each child began to think during the holidays about buying something for someone else and learned to give wholeheartedly. They also began to ask about ways in which they could earn money to buy their gift. This family activity took some of the pressure off of me, encouraged thoughtfulness and engaged everyone in the process of giving. We have already begun the same process with the next generation. -Veda Pendleton McClain, Ph.D. t o d a y ’ s

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on the cover

Advertorial

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Show Off your Beautiful Baby!!

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Family Challenge #1: By Mali Anderson

GOING

B

eing vegan — a dietary choice to not consume meat, dairy, or any animal products — is increasingly popular.

Former President Bill Clinton, a celebrity often associated with burgers and BBQ, is now a vegan. He claims he’s never felt better. And Mark Bittman, a food writer for The New York Times, touts the health benefits he’s obtained by eating vegan before 6 p.m., then indulging in whatever food he wants for dinner. He argues his plant-heavy diet during the day is better for him as an individual, and the resources of our planet. While I love food, all of it — ribs, sausage, soft ripened cheese, and sour cream — I wanted to try a vegan way of life. So I gave myself a challenge. I decided to amend packed lunches and alter dinner menus. For one week, everything I ate, and everything I cooked, was going to be vegan. No meat. No dairy. Just plants.

Sunday

Starting the week with a cup of black coffee and a pile of cookbooks, my daughter, Ivy, and I assembled a list. But once we were at the market, I opted to not buy everything in one trip; I wanted to give myself wiggle room to adjust recipes. Dinner: Tofu and broccoli in coconut and bell pepper sauce.

Monday

I’ve been on a bit of a cooking binge. It’s fun, in a Thanksgiving kind of way. You know, containers of delicious food, but also a sink full of food processor parts, dirty crockpots, and soaking blenders. But I think being vegan will be easier if I’m armed with snacks and sandwich fixings. Dinner: Zesty beans and rice, spinach salad, walnut-mushroom pâté.

Tuesday

Having a difficult day, for reasons apart from my diet. Wishing for a slice of cake and dreaming of taking the family out for pizza, I’m noticing how often I turn to food for comfort. But I didn’t give in to my food vices. I hunkered down and made a vegan dinner, which turned out awful. Emotions really can end up on your plate. Dinner: Tofu and veggie tamale pie.

Wednesday

Determined to improve my mood, I began the day with a morning run. Exercise, combined with a trip to the market to load up on fruits and vegetables, truly did make a difference. 10

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Ditching my laborious meal plans, I’m now opting for quick, yummy bites of nature’s bounty. Dinner: Odds and ends from past days plus veggies.

Thursday

Learning to use beans as a dairy substitute, I puréed white beans, avocado, lemon juice, and garlic in the blender. Voila! A satisfying dip. We’re having company over for dinner tonight, so I opted for build-your-own tacos. I did supply bowls of shredded cheese if anyone was interested, but served fried beans in lieu of meat. Dinner: Tomato soup, salad, and tacos.

Friday

I’m almost done with the challenge and am confident that eating salads is the right track. Yes, the fancy vegan meals and spreads are fun, but eating raw fruits and vegetables is satisfying and free of stress. Apples, pears, lettuce topped with avocados, carrot sticks and mushrooms. I’ve been munching them all day and I feel terrific. Dinner: Homemade pizza (sans cheese) and a salad.

Saturday

Last day of the challenge. I feel I’m finally hitting my groove. Rather than focusing on what I can’t eat, I’m seeing all the possibilities in what I can. Dinner: Linguini with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. In our health-conscious age, it is easier to be vegan than I thought. With products and cookbooks to guide me through, I became aware of all the foods I’d been ignoring in my typical omnivore diet. By changing my routine, my whole family learned about new food combinations. Although my daughter did have milk on her cereal, and my husband brought yogurt to work, they were both troopers to try new dishes and found ways to make our vegan meals even better. For instance, my husband added nuts and hot sauce to my failed tamale pie. Improved! When I told my daughter cookies were off the menu, she requested applesauce topped with cinnamon for dessert. Tasty! Going vegan was a learning experience for all of us. I enjoyed it. So much so, I may even do it again. Mali Anderson lives in Louisville with her husband Jay Tollefsen and daughter Ivy, 5.

∆∆∆ Read more on going vegan at www.todaysfamilyeveryday.com and get some favorite recipes.

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The Year of the Bean Ten years ago my now-husband came to Thanksgiving with me at my aunt and uncle’s house with all of my extended family. As soon as we walked in, my whole family was standing in a circle in the kitchen (trying out a new tradition), passing a single uncooked bean around. When the bean got to each person they had to say what they were most thankful for. My husband had barely even met my family, plus being a shy person this was like walking into a lions’ den of 30 for him. It completely put him on the spot. He passed with flying colors but still hesitates every year before we enter the house asking aloud, “Is this going to be the year of the bean again?” — Leigh Ann Burckhardt

A Bang of a Holiday We were hosting Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws for the first time in a while. My grandmother, 94, was visiting, and she had been dreaming about the sausage stuffing I was making. We were nearing the end of the meal preparation and I was holding Sean, 2. All the food that was done had been pulled onto the cook top. We needed to heat one more thing in the oven so someone flipped the switch to turn it back on. There was a lull in the action at this point as our hard work was nearing an end. Suddenly, the area around the stove exploded and shards of Pyrex were airborne, flying everywhere. The switch that had been flipped was to the cook top, not the oven, and Pyrex — although just fine in the oven — does not like the direct heat that a burner provides.   The results of the explosion were two-fold: shards of Pyrex in every dish in the vicinity — all the veggies, potatoes and the coveted sausage stuffing. And one screaming 2-year-old; I whisked him away to a quiet room to see if there was Pyrex sticking out of him. On the way I had to pass every other child in the family, all of whom were on the floor howling with laughter. As luck would have it, there were no wounds to the human, but the dinner was a fatality. Gram had to make do with what we could scrounge up from Kroger at 3:45 on Thanksgiving Day, and let me tell you, the choices were slim. — Barb Hartman

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Parent Perspectives— Tales from the Holidays

Ahhh, the Smells of Christmas “Mom, I’m gonna be sick!” This is one of every mom’s dreaded fears, and even more so, to hear this screamed on Christmas Eve, with a house full of people! Our family was in town, and we were all getting settled for our “long winter’s nap.” However this was not to be the case for my husband and me. We had toys to put together, gifts to wrap, an “Elf on the Shelf” to move from his current residence. But upon my son’s exclamation of imminent illness, my husband and I were forced into a different kind of action. Instead of grabbing tape and scissors, I was reaching for rags, a trash can, and a thermometer! And we were sprinting around the house, trying to be as quiet as mice so as not to wake our guests. How was Santa going to arrive under such dire circumstances? And how was it possible that my son’s fourth Christmas — and my daughter’s first — was going to involve vomit instead of visions of sugar plums? As I was rushing through the house, hurtling over toys, I heard “oh no!” from my son’s room. My husband had made it into his room just in time to witness the carnage. Fortunately, I made it in a moment later to catch round two.

The Christmas Miracle What kind of gift do you buy for the man who despises Christmas and begs both sibling and offspring not to give him presents on the 25th of December? You guess that some people have never been given the perfect gift. You guess they just don’t understand the joy of giving. The Scrooge-like man I describe is my late father, James G. Warren III, and even though I paint an accurate picture of his holiday wishes, he really was a kind and loving man. He was just impossible to buy for. We speculated. Maybe it was the Post-Depression era he was raised in. Maybe it was a general discomfort of having people watch him open gifts. Maybe it was the barrage of camera flashes and camcorders. Either way, deciding what to buy for Dad was an annual battle at the local mall for my siblings and me. Then, one year, we finally got it right. With the family assembled around Dad, glistening tree and holiday music in the background, we anxiously watched him open his gift. Tearing through box, tape, and opaque tissues, grunting with disgust the whole time, fumbling past a knitted sweater and a book on Fountain Ferry, he finally honed in on something that made his eyes glow. He smiled. “Scissors! I lost mine months ago and really needed a pair!” he shouted. Obviously we lost our scissors as well, wrapping them up with Dad’s present. We spent hours looking for those scissors, blaming each other as well as the kids. This was the greatest Christmas blunder we ever made. This made for a surprisingly wonderful Christmas visit, and Dad thanked us repeatedly for such a thoughtful gift! — John G. Warren

After another round of Christmas cheer from my traumatized offspring, we got him down for the count. He had to be assured several times over that Santa would not, in fact, move his name to the naughty list. He was snug in his bed, happily dreaming, and my husband and I got on to our work. And although this was to be a Christmas I would never forget, our scents of Christmas cheer will forever include Lysol and Tide. I was expecting to be roused the next morning at 5 am by a screaming 3-year-old. But due to our midnight antics, my son didn’t awaken until nearly 9 am! Never since have we had such drama and excitement on Christmas Eve.

Best Christmas gift ever!??

Nor have we ever been allowed to sleep in again. — Carey Kuehl Davis w w w . t o d a y s f a m i l y m a g . c o m

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The Sirles family has chosen homeschooling for their two sons, Eric (14) and Ethan (11).

Deciding on the Right School

K

for your kids

ids spend an average of 35 hours per week in school, so where your children will spend their 35 hours is one of those big decisions. There are many options

for today’s parents to consider from public schools to homeschool. I spoke with three local families who have chosen alternative schools for their children and what factors went into their decisions. 16 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2

By Stacie L. Martin PHOTOS BY MELISSA DONALD

At Home: The Sirles Family Brian and Michele Sirles of Mt. Washington chose to homeschool their children, Eric (14) and Ethan (11). According to the National Home Education Research Institute, the Sirles are part of 2.04 million home-educated students in the United States. Though they re-evaluate continually, Brian and Michele say this type of alternative to institutionalized education is best for their children’s educational and professional goals. “We can work on our own schedule! We can teach from a Christian worldview. We can decide the rate at which we progress through a subject. continued on page 18 t o d a y ’ s

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continued from page 16

We are also able to study certain subjects more in-depth that we believe are more important or relevant — and move more quickly through subjects that are review. Additionally, we are able to cater to each of our children’s learning style.” For subjects that Michele is not comfortable teaching, such as Algebra II, Chemistry, and Italian, their boys attend the Christian Educational Consortium (www. christianconsortium.org), which partners with homeschooling parents. CEC meets once a week for instruction and offers classes that middle and high school homeschooling parents may not be comfortable teaching. It also provides extracurricular sports, performing arts, field trips, and a prom. Brian added, “the school was an extension of our educational philosophy that a parent The Borders family has selected a Montessori school to meet their children’s educational needs. is responsible for the education of their child — not the state.” Montessori: The Borders Family While the advantages of homeschooling far outweigh the John and Cindy Borders were also looking for an alternative drawbacks, there are some disadvantages to homeschooling and for their oldest child when they began investigating local schools attending the consortium. If one of the kids doesn’t understand a for their oldest daughter, Mattie (16) who was in the second concept that he learned at CEC, the opportunity to sit down with grade. “We were in a parochial school, and it wasn’t a good fit the teacher to clarify has to wait until the next week, although for her. She wasn’t enjoying school and felt stressed, and we they are able to e-mail and call the teacher with questions. thought a smaller environment might be a better fit for her.”  Michele and Brian also don’t have a way to measure how the They were at a birthday party when they heard about boys compare educationally to other students their age; they rely Hayfield Montessori. This school offers preschool, kinderon outside testing to determine if they are meeting their edugarten, and elementary programs through fifth grade. The cational standards. They have, however, been very pleased with Montessori method is a very individualized learning approach their sons’ test scores, which are well above their age levels. relying on one-on-one instruction and hands-on experiences. Higher test scores are not surprising based on research Children are able to progress at their own pace and abilities. done by numerous studies throughout the years. Overall, The Borders visited several schools, looking for an engaging th th homeschooled students have scored in the 65 to 80 percenand nurturing environment. They were not familiar with the tile on standardized academic achievement tests compared Montessori method, but the concept made sense to them. to the national average of 50th percentile, which is based Independence is encouraged by giving students a number mostly on public school students (“Academic Achievement and of things which they need to accomplish during the day and Demographic Traits of Homeschool Students: A Nationwide allowing them to choose when to do them. Hayfield’s loving, Study,” Academic Leadership, Volume 9, Issue 2, Spring 2011). nurturing environment and non-traditional approach to learnMichele and Brian sometimes deal with other people’s perceping seemed like it would be the right fit — and it was. Mattie tion of homeschooling. Many people have a preconceived notion took right to the learning style, enjoying the work and learnthat homeschooled children have limited social contacts. For ing quickly. John and Cindy love the classrooms and campus. Michele and Brian, their children have a wealth of opportunities for They also appreciate how the kids work independently with social contact through their church, extra-curricular activities at the instruction as needed instead of with a teacher at the front of consortium, with their social circle, and with other family activities. the class. The amount of homework is very age appropriate, Michele jokes, “People who meet our children before knowing we allowing kids to still be kids and have family time together. are a homeschool family are surprised [to find out we homeschool] continued on page 20 because we don’t fit the stereotype of a homeschool family.” 18 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 t o d a y ’ s F A M I L Y


continued from page 18

John and Cindy loved Hayfield so much that their younger children, David (13) and Jack (10), have also attended there. “All three of our kids have had fantastic experiences at Hayfield, and we wouldn’t trade our time there for anything.” Although the school serves children through 5th grade, few families stay beyond third. John and Cindy have heard of lots of families who want to stay but don’t because of the lack of other families who stay; it becomes a vicious circle.

Catholic School: The Phillips Family

Darren and Yvette Phillips were looking for smaller class sizes and individual attention for their then kindergarten twins Gabrielle and Shyanne (12). They also wanted to be sure that the school they chose would be able to help Shyanne when it came to her special educational needs. They looked at several different schools — public and private — but weren’t impressed with the schools’ approaches to Shyanne’s special needs. Darren and Yvette “wanted her to be pushed to her fullest potential.” Yvette was raised in a Catholic school and wanted that experience for her girls. They looked at one other Catholic school before deciding on St. Athanasius and now, seven years later, they have been very pleased with their decision. St. Athanasius is a Catholic elementary school which offers classes for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It strives to provide The Phillips family decided to send their children to Catholic school. and develop a student’s spiritual, intellectual, the SAFE (St. Athanasius Family Environment) Program which is aftermoral, emotional, and physical growth with an school care for would-be ‘latch-key’ children. SAFE is available from education centered around the Catholic faith. St. Athanasius dismissal until 6 p.m. daily and offers additional morning and afternoon also accepts students from other faith backgrounds, although care for pre-K children. Darren and Yvette commented, “As two workthose students are expected to participate fully in the religion ing parents, it is nice to know they have a safe environment to go to.” program. The Phillips felt that one drawback of St. Athanasius is that I asked Darren, who was raised in a home where he didn’t practhe school seems to be outgrowing their physical building. tice religion and attended public schools, what he thought about the As other Catholic schools have closed, the student body at girls attending a Catholic school. His response was very positive, St. Athanasius has increased and class sizes have grown. commenting, “the Catholic schools cater more to individuals than According to the Archdiocese of Louisville, the Phillips are the public schools can. The discipline is much tougher in a Catholic correct in their assessment. St. Athanasius is ranked number school than in a public school — but that’s a good thing.” Both he eight of 39 elementary schools for largest number of students and Yvette like that St. Athanasius teaches manners and respect. with a 2011-2012 school year enrollment of 504. Both Darren and Yvette talked about the feeling of communiWe can learn from the philosophies and experiences of ty they have at St. Athanasius, that feeling of really being a part other families such as the Sirles, the Borders and the Phillips of their children’s school. The teachers there also make sure that in making our own school decisions. the students learn what they need to learn for the grade they are in instead of just passing them to the next grade. One of the programs the Phillips particularly like at St. Athanasius is 20 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2

Stacie L. Martin lives in Mt. Washington with her two children, who attend St. Athanasius school. t o d a y ’ s

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‘Tis the Season . . .

(and all that comes with it)

By NADYNE LEE

I

t’s that time of year again. We can’t set foot into any public place without hearing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a chestnut on an open fire, and I wouldn’t know Jack if I tripped over him.

But I do recognize the quivering in my wallet. It’s my credit cards trying to tell me that last year’s purchases haven’t been paid off yet. That’s when the butterfly keeper in my stomach opens the cage and lets them all out. Right there on Aisle 7, under the big yellow smiley face, I begin to feel a heaviness in my chest. It’s not a heart attack. It’s the holiday season. The time for gift giving, parties, and visiting relatives. The time for overspending, overeating, and stress! I’ve made post-Holiday vows before. “Never again will I overindulge, over-spend, 22

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continued from page 22

over-extend...” “Next year will be different!” Now, it’s next year. How can this holiday season be fun, memorable, and safe for our children?

The Gimmies

The gimmies is a contagious disease. Children can catch it at school, playing with friends, or even watching TV. An insidious cause of the gimmies is parental guilt. The symptoms of this disease are a wish list that reaches from the bedroom to the kitchen. The gimmies can be treated by a healthy dose of reasonable expectations. Even Santa has limited funds! If parental guilt is a factor, parents should remind themselves that time spent is better than things given. Bake cookies, go caroling, give to needy families, and volunteer with your children.

Two Giant Steps

Okay, this is a busy time of year. Between frenzied trips to the mall, crowded airports, and holiday parties, it can be hard for most of us to catch our next breath, much less keep track of our little ones. Make it a rule that when you are out, your children must always be able to see you. Use the “two giant step” rule: They must never be more than two giant steps away from you. It’s a fun and easy way for them to remember not to get lost.

Safely Ever After

If your children become separated from you in the mall, tell them to look for a “safe stranger” (A mom with other children or a cash register person). Don’t let your children go to the restroom alone. When boys are older than 9, stand outside the men’s room and wait for them. Don’t let your children wear clothes with their names on it. (Abductors can call the child by name, and your child will think that the person is a friend.) Make sure that your child knows your cell phone number and your address.

Child’s Point of View

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Siblings don’t always raise their children by the same rules. Hence, when visiting at the holidays, one set of cousins may go to bed at 7:30 p.m. and another at 10 p.m. One set of cousins may be allowed to have red velvet cake while the other has fruit for dessert. Loud protests of injustice may be heard, but parents should stand firm. Don’t worry. In the long run, it’s better to have stability and routine than to give in to “doing what the cousins do.” Once that train has left the station, it’s hard to get it back.

Interfaith Families

If our parents are of a different faith background than we are, the holidays can be tricky. While we must not forget that it is our privilege, right, and responsibility to decide how we want to raise our children, that doesn’t mean that our parents must hide or compromise their own religious heritage and values. Their memories, traditions, and pride in their roots are part of who they are. They have a right to share that with their offspring. If we come to their home for the holidays, they should make it clear how they will be celebrating. If they visit us on the holidays, we should expect them to live by our house rules, not theirs. This conversation should take place far ahead of the visit.

Be Realistic About Relatives

Some of us didn’t have Currier and Ives Christmases when we were kids. We’ve polished some of our good memories, and some of the memories that tarnished were due to the characters in our Christmas story. When traveling to the home of relatives for the holiday season, don’t try to resolve issues from the past on this visit. This is not a good time to bring up every little irritation. The holidays, with all their attendant stress, are not a good time for do-it-yourself therapy sessions. If going to relatives’ homes causes too much stress, perhaps it’s something to drop from your holiday tradition. Just think: you don’t have to go!

Just Say No!

The holiday season is filled with holiday parties. If you want to take your child, be sure to check the invitation or with the hostess; don’t just assume children are welcome! If your children are invited, be sure to check out the home of your hostess from your child’s point of view. Her home may not be childproofed! Watch for cups of hot liquids on a table’s edge, left-over alcohol in a guest’s glass, poisonous poinsettia, heavy stocking holders that can be pulled off the mantle, glass ornaments at the bottom of the tree, and lit Hanukkah candles in easy reach. Children are curious and parents can be distracted at parties. Beware: danger lurks in the homes of your friends. 24

Family Interactions

Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Bickering relatives, over-stimulated children, and end-ofthe-year office demands add their own strain to your sanity, energy, and to-do list. It’s enough to make one want to hibernate until spring. One solution lies in a simple magic word: No! When you’re approached, pause briefly and think about what you’re being asked to do. What is the magnitude of the job? How much time and energy will it involve? Do you really want to do it? Don’t allow others to take control of your life. You have the right to say No! Maybe this is the year that you’ll have the energy to get out there and build Frosty the Snowman with your children. Maybe you’ll have time to hear Sleigh Bells Ring. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even roast a chestnut on an open fire. 2 0 1 2

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The Truth About

Eye Care

By Yelena Sapin

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on’t cross your eyes. Don’t read in the dark. Don’t sit too close to the TV. We’ve heard these warnings growing up, but what should we really worry about when it comes to our children’s eyesight? The truth is, there’s not much in terms of using the eyes that can lead to any permanent damage, says Louisville pediatric ophthalmologist Steven Howell. Making cross-eyed faces at younger siblings, sneaking reading past lights-out on a moonlit night, watching TV close enough to reach out and tickle Elmo – none of these behaviors have been shown to cause any harm. But just because kids can’t “ruin their eyes” by crossing them or getting too close to the TV doesn’t mean that parents don’t need to pay attention. Consistently crossed or misaligned eyes, a sign of a condition called strabismus, should be evaluated by a pediatrician or ophthalmologist. Left untreated, strabismus can lead to permanent damage or even loss of vision in one eye. Needing to be close to the TV to see, or holding objects close when looking at them, can indicate nearsightedness and warrants a trip to the doctor to rule out any problems. Other potential signs of eye trouble include squinting, closing one eye, headaches, and even difficulty keeping up with schoolwork. Many eye conditions can be significantly improved, or even 26

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reversed, if caught early enough. To make sure that everything is structurally normal, experts recommend a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist around age five, or earlier if there are concerns. In Kentucky, an eye exam is a requirement for all children entering public school, and some local private schools are starting to follow suit. According to Howell, the critical period for intervention is before the age of eight or nine, a time when the visual pathways of the brain are still developing and are plastic enough to be molded and retrained through surgery, patching, or glasses. Unless there are specific issues to address, there’s not much need to keep visiting the eye doctor once an exam shows everything is fine. The eyes tend to become slightly farsighted in early childhood, then slightly nearsighted later in life, but they don’t go through any really drastic changes as kids grow, says Howell. So if everything’s normal at age five, it’s simply overkill to come in and have the child’s eyes dilated every year. Routine vision screenings performed in the pediatrician’s office or in school, as well as observations at home, will often alert parents to anything new that requires a professional examination. While there’s very little we can do to influence the internal workings of the eye, we can take some simple steps to guard against external sources of eye damage. Two safety measures that doctors stress are wearing sunglasses to keep out UV rays and using protective eyewear when playing sports. Kids who play any sport that involves a small hard ball flying around — baseball, softball, field hockey — can end up with serious problems if they take a direct hit on the eye, Howell points out. They should really wear some sort of special eyewear or goggles as an extra layer of protection. Off the playing field, prolonged staring at a screen, whether it’s a DS, iPhone, or computer, can lead to eye strain and fatigue. While eye strain in and of itself won’t damage or “wear out” eyes, it can cause headaches, dizziness, and even nausea. We blink much less when staring at a screen, which makes eyes feel dry and irritated. Conditions like intermittent strabismus, where the eyes occasionally cross or drift, are also tougher to control when eyes get tired. To prevent fatigue and eye strain, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes look away at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. For older kids who wear contact lenses, a special challenge is protecting eyes from trauma and infection. The cornea, where the contact sits on the eye, is one of the body’s most sensitive parts, says Howell. The tiniest little scratch can be extremely painful, and infections can lead to permanent damage. Even contacts which are FDA-approved to sleep in trap bacteria on the surface of the eye, and kids need to be conscientious about keeping their contacts and everything that touches them sufficiently clean. Howell advises that contacts require about the same level of responsibility as caring for a pet — feeding it, walking it, cleaning up after it — on their own without being reminded. That’s why parents need to consider the child’s maturity level, not just age, when deciding whether to make the switch from glasses. Eye exams, protection, cleanliness, responsibility – they’re all great tools to help us take care of our children’s eyes. But in the end, how their vision progresses is a product of genetics and their individual growth pattern, neither one of which we can predict or alter. Many children who start out with perfect vision end up needing glasses in their teens or twenties, and nothing, not even eating lots of carrots, can prevent that. On the flip side, however, we can relax a bit and stop nagging our kids to move away from the TV or to come read a little closer to the light. Unless, of course, it’s just so we can see them better. t o d a y ’ s

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Today’s Family Wellness Advisory Group Sounds Off:

Q: What is the best way to protect eyeglasses?

BREISCHAFT

“‘If they’re not on your face, keep them in their case’ is the repeated phrase at our house.” – Rhonda Breischaft, mom

MARTIN

“I always buy the protection/ insurance plan. Doesn’t cost much but so worth it if there is a problem.” – Stacie L. Martin, Paralegal/Green Rock Energy

MCCLAIN

“You should never clean your glasses with paper towels, napkins, or your clothing. Fibers from dryer sheets that are left in our clothes can cause scratches on the lenses. Always use a lens cloth. And never dry your lens cloth after washing in wash loads using dryer sheets.” – Veda pendleton McClain, Founder, Veda McClain Consulting Advisory group members are: Klaus Boel, MD, FAAP; Rhonda Breischaft; Erin Brown; Becky Carothers, MD; Amanda Castle, RN; Carrie Crigger, DO; Dr. Bradley Goldberg; Ann Greenwell, DMD, MSD; Korie Acord, DMD; Stacie L. Martin; Lisa Mascio-Thompson; Veda Pendleton McClain, Ph.D.; Lorie Minnich, RN; Abigail Mueller; Dr. Mark Perelmuter; Ursula Robertson-Moore; Yelena Sapin; Jeb Teichman, MD, FAAP; Jeanine Triplett w w w . t o d a y s f a m i l y m a g . c o m

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Teaching Your Tween

Money Management Let Them Make Mistakes

By Jan Udlock

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s your child reaches the “tween” years (ages ranging from 10-12 years old), it’s a great time to talk more about money and financial responsibility. Tweens are maturing and have stronger opinions, so start thinking about how to include your child in your family’s money discussions. Budget

Review your budget and your general expenses with your child. He can see having a budget allows you and your family to prioritize your spending. “When discussing a budget, explain to your tween that your needs have to be taken care of first and, if you have money left over, then you can buy some of those things that you want,” says Danny Kofke, author of A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and your Kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money. There are plenty of online budgeting software and money games you can check out with your tween. After you fill in the necessary amounts online, the budget software produces a visual picture as a pie chart or graph. A picture of your budget is a valuable learning tool because your child can see your expenses and where the family is spending money. Making lists for all of your purchases such as your weekly groceries, clothes, or back-to-school items can help your family stay within budget and thwart impulse buying. “Before buying something, get in the practice of stepping back and thinking about it first,” says Kevin Gallegos, VP of Phoenix Operations, Freedom Debt Relief, LLC.

Savings

Your actions speak louder than your words, so your kids will pick up your financial habits. It’s hard enough to save money when each paycheck is being stretched as tight as possible, but you share healthy money skills when you show your child that you are choosing to save. In addition, hard decisions often create important family discussions.

Allowance

All families do things a bit differently when it comes to allowance. Some families attach allowance to the completion of household chores. Some families don’t give allowance. Some families give their children allowance as being part of the family. Your child can also earn money outside of the home like babysitting, yard work, shoveling snow, or taking care of a neighbor’s pet while they are away on vacation. 28 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a

It’s hard to let your child make mistakes but it’s very helpful to let her make some financial choices and live with her decisions. In the long run, the effects are harmless, and she’ll learn from it. It also shows your child that you trust her choices. “As parents, we’re embarrassed by our past financial mistakes but we should tell our children that we learn from these mistakes and change our ways so we don’t repeat them,” says Kofket.

Credit Cards

Your tween is old enough to understand the concept of interest and how it works. Explain to him about the difference between a debit card and credit card. Show your child that if he was to buy a $200 electronic gadget on a credit card with an interest rate of 14-20%, interest accrues on the unpaid balance. So if he didn’t pay off the bill promptly, he is paying $28 to $40 more on his purchase. Additionally, talk to your child about how it feels to pay on something that he no longer uses. You can also show your child how many credit card offers you get in a week in the mail. Remind him that banks are businesses, too. Ask him, “Why would banks want people to have credit cards?” 

Cash Cards

There are differing opinions as to whether a tween should carry a debit card. The card is connected to their savings account, and banks have safeguards that a parent can control. A benefit is that the child is introduced first-hand to the concept that there has to be money in an account for the card to work. With a cash card, a child needs to remember the pin number for the card.

Cell Phones

Prepaid cell phones are a effective tool for learning about limited resources. You only have a certain amount of minutes for a specific number of days. When it’s gone, the privilege of a phone is gone. “Kids this age often aren’t able to exercise a great deal of self-control, so the cutoff can send the message while giving them a handle on which to set limits,” says Gallegos. If you have a family phone plan, you can show you child the telephone bill and the details of each phone. “Parents can set an age (e.g. 16) when they may expect the child to pay his share of the cell phone bill, or any minutes that go “over” the budgeted amount,” says Gallegos. You can look for opportunities to talk about money and choices with your kids throughout the week. Money and financial decisions can be sensitive subjects, but it’s important to take an active role in teaching your children good money management to help them prepare for the future.   Jan Udlock is a freelance writer and mom of five. She blogs at IMP3RfeCt Mom http:janudlock.com/blog/.

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Pa r t y Pl ace s 7 Things to Know Before You Throw a Party BY Kim Kerby

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hile a young child’s birthday party is meant to be a celebration for the child, it typically brings a great deal of stress to the parent planning the party, especially with the added possibility of things not going as planned. Melissa Tichy of New Albany has thrown over 40 birthday parties for her three daughters, and she has experienced her fair share of party mistakes. Here she shares her tips to help other mothers out. Lessons Learned: “When my 11-year-old had her first birthday party, we totally over-invited people. Try to invite a good mix of people who will get along instead of a bunch of strangers. As a hostess, you are more concerned about making strangers comfortable than you are about the party. To avoid over-inviting, we typically have a kid party and then a family party. It cuts down on the crowd, but it doubles the work.”

Common Mistakes: “Some people go over the top but the bottom line is kids like it simple. The number one mistake is doing too much. Sometimes moms have too high expectations. Kids are going to be kids. You can plan all you want, but kids won’t always be on their best behavior.” Best Advice: “Go with the flow.” Avoiding stress: “Plan ahead. Plan the party at least a month in advance. Set a date and mail out invitations with an RSVP deadline of a week before the party. Plan everything out that you can before the party week. There will always be things that you need to do that week. Also, have a back-up plan just in case.” Keeping Cost Down: “I’m a big do-it-yourselfer. I look online and read blogs for inspiration. (Her go-to blog: www.OneCharmingParty.com.) I’ll do the invites and decorations myself. I try to keep it simple.” Party Food: “Try to have stuff the kids and adults will like. Pizza is good and having it delivered is a big stress reliever. Ask the pizza place to cut the pizza into party slices for the kids.” Cake vs. Cupcakes: “Cupcakes with white icing. Kids can be messy and it’s just easier on you and the parents to avoid colored icing. You or the kids can always decorate them.” n

PARTY PLACES DIRECTORY BUSINESS/ADDRESS

PHONE NUMBER/WEBSITE

EVENT OR ACTIVITY FEATURES

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

502.253.9477

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

502.543.9588

Joe B. Hall Ave. Shepherdsville, KY 40165

www.amotherstouchjewelry.com Facebook.com/A-Mothers-TouchPersonalized-Jewelry-Gifts

www.gokartkountry.com Facebook.com/Kart 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!

Today’s Family readers have a chance to “Win A Party” from our Party Places advertisers. For details, see our: Website: www.todaysfamilymag.com • Blog: www.todaysfamilyeveryday.com • Facebook: www.facebook.com/todaysfamily D e c e m b e r / J a n u a r y

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How do you get to this page?

Go to www.todaysfamilyeveryday.com Why did you start this blog? Our magazine is only printed once every two months, and we wanted to be able to share more things with our readers/followers. We also wanted to provide a venue wherein there would be open discourse because we want to know what you’re thinking about and what matters to YOU.

What can you find on Today’s Family Every Day? This is a website where you can talk with other parents, find local things to do with your family, win prizes, and learn from experts. Here are our weekly topics: Monday — Editor’s Pick Tuesday — Family Matters Wednesday — Weekly Giveaway* Thursday — Post from the Pro Fridays — What’s Happening

What will I find here that I cannot find elsewhere? You will find posts written about topics that YOU want to read and about things that are local and relevant to everyday family life. We care about your family and want to help you stay connected to your community.

Can you give me an idea of the kinds of things I will learn or find out about? There are so many things that you will want to know living here in the Louisville area: things that are practical such as restaurants that have free kid’s meals, reviews of family fun places, experts that share ideas about anything from relationships with your kids to health care related things. Also, you will be the first to know about contests and special events that Today’s Family magazine is having.

What does it mean to “follow” the blog? Following is just a way to get on board and let us know that you’re a fan of our blog. Click on “Join this Site” on the right side of the blog to do so. You can also get each post sent right to your inbox by subscribing via email. It’s just that easy!

How else can I stay in touch? You can also follow on Twitter@todaysfamilynow. We’ll help you stay in-the-know all the time. Plus, you can Tweet us, too; we’d love to hear from you!

Miranda Popp

Miranda Popp is the editor of Today’s Family Every Day and Twitter@todaysfamilynow. If you have ideas for our blog, send a message to todaysfamilyeveryday@todayspublications.com. 32

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My 9-year-old child’s favorite camp is Camp Hi-HO. He loves it because he calls it his “relaxing do nothing” camp even though you are busy all day. He loves it because he gets to be outside all day while swimming, shooting water guns, playing with pets, or maybe just lying under a shade tree eating lunch. This great outdoors camp lets kids just be kids without too much structure and too many rules.   -Stacy Westray Tackett

Plan Your Summer Camps Now! Here are some camp experiences from local parents. Now is the time to plan summer camps for your children.

Camp Piomingo is a YMCA camp at Otter Creek Park about an hour away. They do your typical kid camps but also run a one-night family camp. It was $39/ person, kids under 5 free. We got our own cabin. Check-in was 5 p.m. Saturday. They provided dinner Saturday and breakfast and lunch Sunday. We did a campfire with songs and s’mores on Saturday night and a zip line, yard games, high ropes, archery, a 165-foot tunnel slide and climbing wall on Sunday and were allowed to stay as late as we wanted. It was a blast. I saw every age there, but kids under 5 may not be able to take part in every activity.

Bricks 4 Kidz has a local coordinator that offers awesome camps throughout the year that are both fun and educational. The mathematician in me just loves the patterns and geometric engineering that go into their workshops!

-Barb Hartman

My girls had a blast when they attended clown camp, a week-long summer camp where sisters Marla and Kathryn Moore learned the nuances of clowning around. They practiced pratfalls, jokes, making balloon animals and the proper application of greasepaint, as well as creating their individual clown identities. By the time camp was over, Marla (“Wazoo”) and Kathryn (“Wazzo”) were ready for the Big Ring! The intros to their “sister act” alternated between “I’m Wazzo and I’m Wazoo and we are happy to see you” and “I’m Wazoo and I’m Wazzo and we would like to say Hello.” They spent hours entertaining family and friends with their humorous antics. It was offered by JCPS Lifelong Learning and held at a high school in Louisville. -Ursula Robertson-Moore

Maeve (age 10) went to the Barker Country Farm in Ohio’s Amish country. She spent a week tending to animals, which included horses, chickens, rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs to name a few, mucking manure, and in general getting back to nature. The theme of the camp is a farm in the 1900s and although they got to sleep indoors, they didn’t do much else inside. At one point, she made the mistake of saying she was bored and was summarily dispatched to a field to catch one particular sheep. “You can’t catch a sheep, Mom,” she told me later. Long after the others had gone to bed Maeve was still afield and sheep-less.

My daughter, Megan, 11, attended an Arabic camp that was offered through JCPS and Los Monitos Language School. The camp, designed for middle and high school students, was a 3-week, intensive, conversational Arabic class. The camp was taught entirely in Arabic by teachers from Arabic-speaking countries. Megan got to go to a local Arabic grocery store/bakery to practice buying items in Arabic. The camp culminated in a family event where students got to introduce family and friends in Arabic and show off their skills. The best part? It was free!! Megan had a blast, made many friends, and is continuing her Arabic learning in monthly classes offered by Los Monitos. I would highly recommend it! -Kristina Jorgensen Harrigan M.Ed.

-Stephanie White

My kids’ favorite summer camp was TARC Camp. They learned how to ride TARC while visiting places that not even a native of Louisville might have been to lately. Alexandria and Westray balked at the idea of going to this camp, but to this day they talk about how much fun they had visiting the Cathedral, the Louisville Zoo, Central Park, Fountain in the Cherokee Loop, and even eating lunch downtown. Attending this TARC camp was amazing for them because they realized that Louisville does have public transportation and they could pretty much go wherever they needed to go on a TARC Bus!

-Stacy Westray Tackett

-Barb Hartman

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DIRECTORY

Children’s parties

Bubble Truck Bubble Truck and Bubble Bus offering unique bubble parties. Create memories that will last a life time. We bring the party to you. Our parties are very interactive. Your guests will be making bubbles over 30 feet long. 502.442.5917 after 5pm www.bubbletruck.com

Maternity/Baby

CAMPS

Maternity/Baby

Clark Memorial Hospital Family Birth Place

Louisville Science Center

Women First of Louisville, PLLC

The Family Birth Place offers expectant parents a personalized birth experience. With spacious labor and delivery suites, in-room waiting areas, and garden tubs, the Family Birth Place has the ambience of a luxury hotel. Providing quality care to mom and baby is of utmost importance, that’s why the Family Birth Place promotes Kangaroo Care, the practice of a mother holding her baby skin-to-skin, and Quiet Time. Clark Memorial is also the only hospital in the area to have two Certified Nurse Midwives on staff and an on-site Breastfeeding Center staffed by a Certified Lactation Consultant. Childbirth Classes – Prepared Childbirth, Lamaze, Breastfeeding, Brothers and Sisters To Be, Infant CPR and Safety, and Doula Night. A complete class schedule is on our website. Breastfeeding Center – Breastfeeding supplies including bras, pads, and pumps for purchase. Breast pump rental, free weight checks for baby, and individual consultations. Hours: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Phone: 812.283.2901

Whether it’s learning to engineer with LEGOs, investigating the genetic origins of superpowers, or unearthing mummy myths and secrets, your little scientist will never be bored when you register for School’s Out Science Camp. Half day camps available for grades Pre-K – K, full day camps available for grades K – 8. Visit LouisvilleScience.org/events or call for program descriptions, dates, and to register. Winter Camps: Dec. 19-23 & 27-30, Jan. 16, Feb. 13, Cost: Grades Pre-K – K: $20/day Member, $25/day Non-Member, Grades K – 6: $40/day Member, $45/day Non-Member Spring Break & Summer Camps: Mar. 26-30, Apr. 9-13, & June 4 – Aug. 10 Cost: Grades Pre-K – K: $90/wk. Member, $105/wk. Non-Member Grades K – 6: $175/wk. Member, $200/wk. Non-Member; Grades 6-8 (Summer only): $275/wk. Member, $300/wk. Non-Member 727 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 502-561-6100, ext.6111 • 800-591-2203 LouisvilleScience.org Facebook.com/louisvillesciencecenter

Baptist East Medical Pavilion • 3900 Kresge Way, Suite 30 (40207) • 502.891.8700 • www.wfoflou.com

Clark Memorial Hospital Family Birth Place 1220 Missouri Ave., Jeffersonville, IN 47130 • 812.283.6631 • www.clarkmemorial.org

Babyology Breastfeeding Resource Center & Boutique We rent and sell a full line of breast pumps, maternity/nursing bras 32B to 50L, nursing covers, baby carriers, and a lot of unique mommy/baby gift items. We also offer lactation consults by IBCLCs, latch checks, and more. Plus, we offer FREE weight checks and Gift Registry on-line. Classes — Free Mom’s support group, Lamaze, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Introducing Solids, and many other classes. Complete listing of classes on our website: www.babyology.com. Baby Showers — For facility rental and planning info, contact Vicki Sanders at vicki@babyology.com or 502.721.7727. Hours M-F 9a-7p & Sat. 9a-6p. 3934 Dutchmans Ln., Louisville, KY 40207 • 502.721.7727 • www.babyology.com

EDUCATION/PRESCHOOL

Harvey Browne Preschool Our preschool is nationally accredited (NAEYC) and serves children 2 1/2 through kindergarten in a loving, developmentally appropriate environment. Visit our school and see how each child is valued and empowered to reach their potential. 311 Browns Lane, Louisville, KY 40207 • 502.895.2577 • www.harveybrownepreschool.org

St. James Catholic School Come soar above with St. James Elementary and Monsignor Horrigan Pre-School/Pre-K Programs! We encourage and support the development of every child by enhancing a positive self-image through education.

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Family Finds A Mother’s Touch

Come see our special Holiday selections and gifts! Specializing in Mother’s, Grandmother’s, Children’s, Spirit and Themed jewelry. Established in 1999, A Mother’s Touch has the largest selection of charms, engravables, jewelry repair and personalized gifts for any occasion, including Posh Mommy, and featuring Trollbeads & Chamilia.

1818 Edenside Avenue • 502.454.0330, Ext. 11 • www.stjamesbluejays.com Reach more than 99,000 readers. Advertising rates as low as $ 50. For more information call 502.327.8855 or email advertising@todayspublications.com

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Women taking care of women. At Women First of Louisville, professional women in all stages of life, career and motherhood take care of other women who are balancing the same issues. So we’ve built our medical practice by focusing on women first, in everything we do. We offer comprehensive care for women with many innovative technologies and even surgeries available right in the office. Our services include digital mammography, osteoporosis screening, OB/GYN ultrasounds, genetic and preconception counseling, high risk obstetrics, lactation counseling, urinary incontinence testing /surgery, sterilization, minimally-invasive GYN surgeries, menopause counseling and hormonal therapy management. We make it easy, too, with our on-line patient portal so you can pre-register and schedule appointments, pay your bill on-line, and renew prescriptions — all though our website www.wfoflou.com. We know you take care of a lot. At Women First, we take care of you. Find out more about us on-line or call and set up a new patient appointment.

Wonderful Wooden Toys

Handcrafted Heirloom Toys Free Shipping High Quality Excellent Prices Toy Blocks Rocking Horses Game Boards

12312 B Shelbyville Road

Call Us

www.amotherstouchjewelry.com

812-734-5485

502.253.9477

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CALENDAR of events

Christmas at the Galt House Hotel Presents: KaLightosope Christmas

A Christmas Carol

The classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, brought to life with visual splendor and the warmth of holiday music. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Showtimes and ticket prices vary.

The Galt House Hotel celebrates the return of the KaLightoscope attraction, and this year it has been expanded to include 11 themed areas with each display featuring special Christmas scenes. WHEN~ Now

through January 2, Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. & Sundays & Holidays: 12 p.m.-8 p.m. WHERE~ Galt House Hotel COST~ $ 9.99 Children (5-12 years); $15.99 Adults (Monday-Friday); $17.99 Adults (Saturday & Sunday); children ages 4 and under enter free CONTACT~ www.KaLightoscope.com or 502.584.7777.

WHEN~ December 6-23 WHERE~ Actor’s Theatre of Louisville CONTACT~ Box Office: 502.584.1205,

www. actorstheatre.org or email boxoffice@actorstheatre.org

Santa’s Safari at the Louisville Zoo

Be a part of Santa’s workshop where elves help families create a wonderful holiday craft that can be enjoyed for years to come. Afterwards begin your journey through the Zoo’s heated buildings, where you’ll be able to experience one-on-one interaction with Zoo animals and Zoo educators. No visit is complete without Mrs. Claus’ famous cookies, a visit from Frosty the Snowman, and a complementary photo with Santa.

Holidays Around the World

In conjunction with Light Up Louisville, the Frazier Museum will host this celebration of holiday tradiMrs. Claus passes out cookies at Santa’s Safari tions found throughout Louisville’s diverse commuat the Louisville Zoo. WHEN~ December 10-11 & 17-18 @ 10 a.m., 12 p.m., & 2 p.m. nities. It ranges from trees decorated as they would WHERE~ Louisville Zoo be in countries that observe the Christmas holiday, to cultural trees and displays COST~ $12/members; $17.50/non-members; age 2 and under: $5/members; showcasing holidays observed throughout the year in other countries. $7.50/non-members WHEN~ Now through January 2 CONTACT~ 502.459.2181 or www.louisvillezoo.org/santa WHERE~ Frazier International History Museum COST~ $9.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6 for children 5-17 Oldham County MOMS Club CONTACT~ 502.753.5663 If you need a support group that understands your needs as a mother, then check them out. MOMS Clubs are the first, largest and fastest growing support group specifically for mothers. Meetings are usually held the second Monday of every month. Best Christmas Pageant Ever The Herdmans are the worst kids in the whole history of the world; they lie, steal WHEN~ December 12 & January 9 at 9:45- 11:45 a.m. and cheat. Now they have bullied their way into the churches’ annual Christmas WHERE~ St. James Episcopal Church, 401 LaGrange Road in Pewee Valley, KY pageant! Slated to be the “worst pageant ever,” the whole town has gathered in CONTACT~ http://momsclubofoc.com/default.aspx or oldhamcountymomsclub@ anticipation, waiting to see the Herdmans ruin Christmas. Will the pageant be a gmail.com disaster as everyone is expecting, or will the spirit of the season change the hearts and minds of the Herdman family? WHEN~ Now through December 19 WHERE~ Kentucky Center for the Arts COST~ $12.75. Recommended for grades 3 and up. CONTACT~ Box Office: 1.800.775.7777 or www.kentuckycenter.org

Dare to Care at the Louisville Zoo

For the third year, the Louisville Zoo is partnering with Dare to Care to offer halfprice zoo admission. To participate, visitors need to bring one canned good per person and present it at the Zoo’s ticket window. This offer is valid for regular adult or child admission. Items needed for the Dare to Care Food Bank are canned meats, canned vegetables and fruits, soups, peanut butter, rice, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, and cold and hot boxed cereal. Along with this discount comes the opportunity to see Qannik, the polar bear cub that was found orphaned in Alaska and who now calls Glacier Run home. The best times to see her are from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m.

Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters are guaranteed to keep both parents and kids laughing through the whole show. You will be amazed both by their humor and their athletic ability. WHEN~ January 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. WHERE~ KFC Yum! Center COST~ $22-$65 CONTACT~ 1.800.745.3000 or www.ticketmaster.com

Harlem Globetrotters

WHEN~ Now through February 29 during regular Zoo hours WHERE~ Louisville Zoo CONTACT~ www.louisvillezoo.org or www.daretocare.org

Sanders Family Christmas

Join the Sanders Family Singers as they celebrate the holidays with festive holiday songs, vintage hymns, and yuletide stories. Songs featured: Angels We Have Heard On High, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and many more. WHEN~ December 1-31 WHERE~ Derby Dinner Playhouse CONTACT~ 812.288.8281 or www.derbydinner.com

A Velveteen Rabbit Christmas

Christmas presents come to life as a very special toy learns what is real and is changed forever in this enchanting new holiday musical based on the classic book. WHEN~ December 10, 17, 23 WHERE~ Derby Dinner Playhouse CONTACT~ 812.288.8281 or www.derbydinner.com

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a new mother’s

STORY FINAL PART in a Series —

In this story series throughout the year, Louisville freelance writer Laura Clark, 28, has shared her experience as a first-time mother.

M

By Laura Clark

y son Carter is almost one. We still start and end each day in much the same way as when he was a newborn — breastfeeding — but other than that so much has changed.

I think the passage of time is stunning because it seems impossible so much can happen in a single year. Babies develop and grow at an amazing rate. As a mother, I think I’ve spent the last year sprinting to catch up with the changes Carter has ignited in and around me. Giving birth had some funny side effects: I rediscovered my core as a person and was forced to recognize the brutal honesty of life, so my beliefs and convictions have evolved. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sign a medical release form for that phenomenon. There is an African saying that birth hurts so badly because it is your soul ripping in two. I was unprepared for the twin emotions of joy and sadness that come with the overwhelming love of a mother for her child. But I have let that love guide me this first year. I didn’t realize there were all these parenting theories out there until I began making choices that were bucking the status quo. And being a bit egocentric, I was confused at first by the reaction of friends and family to our parenting choices. But once I understood where others were coming from, even if I didn’t agree, I was less on the defensive. I promised myself I would never admonish a new parent with what they had to do. I believe new mothers and fathers need nothing but support as they embark on arguably the greatest journey this life has to offer. (Full disclosure: I sent my pregnant cousin my recommended reading list. That’s about as subtle as I get.) Parents are not supposed to do it all on their own. I am not a supermom, and I don’t want to be. Our culture has changed so rapidly in the last 100 years. We are further from support 38

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networks like family, and even if they are close, they’re working and going and simply not available. This is coming from a mama who timed her laundry-hanging for when the sweet neighbor would be coming home from work. He loved Carter, and I loved talking to someone who was not in diapers. Having a child has allowed me to tap into the gentler side of my nature. I honestly spent so many years playing by the tough-guy rules in the worlds of college achievement and career competitiveness that the real me was buried beneath layers of cynical, independent armor. No more. Having Carter made me ask myself, ‘Who does he need me to be?’ His father and I are his first and most important teachers. Not to be uber weighty, but yes, this does start from the moment of that first scream. I have made mistakes. I am not a perfect parent. I forgive myself. Maybe by the third kid I’ll be more on my game. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Carter is loved, and he knows it. He’s secure in our relationship and so unafraid of exploring and socializing. My heart broke a little when he first crawled away from me, but that is only a glimpse of the future. It seems parenthood is a long process of letting go. I never forget that fact. This is my final column. I’d like to think that my first year as a mother was a good one. It was, most of the time. Hopefully, I wrote enough about the great times. Sorry if that wasn’t the case, because in hindsight, choosing to share my experience as a first-time mother was a little bit like the dare my girlfriends and I took to streak down College Hill: the idea of it was actually better than doing it. You may end up hunkered down behind a bush cursing your get-away driver. For better or worse, I have been honest about my experiences this past year. Before Carter was born, I wondered what I would have to write about. Isn’t being a stay-at-home mom kind of dull? (People still treat me like it is. I can talk about more than boobs and babies – I promise.) At least this column will be an excuse to get out and about, I thought at the time. Little did I know that even if I had spent the last year in my house on 1.4 acres, I could have written a book. The plot would be something like this: Aging idealist gives birth to beautiful boy who nurses constantly, thus mama’s rear end adheres to rocking chair allowing her to contemplate the question of where motherhood fits in the feminist backlash since she can’t eat or sleep or bathe properly. Who the #@& would read that? Sometimes the only way to survive is to take each day one at a time. Or each hour. Sometimes you must cry or take a walk or call your own mother and vent. Sometimes you have to gaze at the baby and know you are perfect for each other. Sometimes you have to remind your husband that you still love him. Mostly, you have to forgive yourself over and over. I learned to change my expectations quicker than I could change a diaper. Thus I arrive at the one-year mark with my sanity intact – barely. Can you really be made crazy by cumulative weeks without proper sleep? Yes. If an evening well spent includes nursing the baby and a beer on the front porch, you might be a redneck. And the amount of makeup you wear will increase in direct proportion to your exhaustion. There are so many things I never thought I would do as a mama. I never thought I would get that mom haircut. You know the one where you tell the hairstylist that you no longer have the time to dry your hair — or brush it — so please perform a miracle. t o d a y ’ s

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PHOTO: CHET WHITE

I didn’t plan on sharing a bed with the baby or scorning schedules. Maybe I’m just lazy. I wouldn’t pump because that is just more work that I didn’t need. I won’t pretend my son needs to be in his own room and own bed like parenting stops at 7:30 p.m. His cries still cause a visceral reaction that I can’t ignore. Parenting is so much about adapting that it would be laughable if it weren’t so difficult. And tiring. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see only lines and shadows where my face used to be. When I see other moms walking babies during the day, I think they are so put together and pretty that they must be nannies. Yeah, yeah, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I was surprised to find that my attitude toward my body is w w w . t o d a y s f a m i l y m a g . c o m

better than ever in part because I recognize its awesome power to provide for my baby. Plus I have cleavage. And better posture because my back demands it. But Carter is taking his first steps, so our carrying days may be dwindling. He is so much fun, so affectionate, and curious. Nothing prepared me for how delightful motherhood would be. This first year has been worth every gray hair about to sprout. Each day I am humbled and buoyed by the awesomeness of life. And so this column has humbled me, too. There do not seem to be words to adequately describe motherhood. I have only skimmed the surface of the joys and agonies that come with being a mama. You simply must experience them for yourself. D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 39


By carrie vittitoe • Photos by Melissa Donald

INSI D E THE

Playgroup

A Busy Year for Boy Babies: Shauna Damin was friends with Holli Scantland, Shawn Herrick, and Jennifer Montgomery before kids came into the picture. Their common experience delivering boys in 2005 helped bond them together. The “official” playgroup began in June 2006 when Shauna invited everyone, including Jennifer’s cousin Stacie Lester, to her home for a playdate.

Branching Out, Yet Coming Back Together: Despite living in different neighborhoods and having different work situations, the playgroup moms have made an effort to meet weekly for the past five years. The boys attend different schools, but Shauna Damin says “they have been together so long they are like brothers.” It’s a Family Affair: The dads of the group get along as well as the moms and boys. Shauna says, “Whenever we see an opportunity and a time for the families to get together, we work to make it happen.” Among other things, the families have all attended each boy’s birthday party since the playgroup began. Beyond the Local Scene: The playgroup has done some outof-town playdates, such as visiting Holiday World, the Newport Aquarium, and Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville. In December 2010, the group made its second visit to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis where the boys took photos with Santa, went mock ice skating in their socks, and had an indoor snowball fight. The Playdate that Ended at the ER (AKA their Worst Playdate): While at Puzzles Fun Dome in the bouncers, Jack Scantland was doing dive rolls. In order not to hit another child, he pulled out of a roll early, causing him to land on his neck. Jack’s mom Holli remembers, “I couldn’t get him to stop crying, which 40 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 2

is unusual when there is fun to be had, and he couldn’t lower his chin to his chest without it hurting.” Although x-rays showed nothing was broken, it was a scary situation for Holli and Jack and worrisome for their friends who were waiting for news.

Their Best Playdate: In October 2007, the group went trickor-treating at the Summit. Cooperative and cutely-costumed toddlers, beautiful weather, and dinner on the terrace with dads all combined to make a most memorable and fun gathering. Grown-Ups Just Want to Have Fun,Too: The moms have had their share of adventures together without the kids in tow, including outlet mall shopping in Indiana and having an overnighter at the Marriott downtown to see Katy Perry in concert. Two or three times a year, even the dads do something fun on their own, like bourbon tastings. Through Thick and Thin: The playgroup families have stood by each other through many of life’s challenges. For five years they have supported Cole’s Classic (now called Kosair Classic), a golf scramble, dinner and silent auction that has raised $200,000 to support children who, like Cole, were born with life-threatening issues and need the help of Kosair Charities. Last year, the families rallied around the Montgomery family when Jennifer’s husband was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for cancer.

An All-Boy, All-the-Time Playgroup: Six-year-olds Cole Herrick, Drew Damin, Harrison Lester, Jackson Montgomery, and Jack Scantland, and three-year-old Trent Damin. t o d a y ’ s

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