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Stop, Drop and Roll


At Elle's preschool today, one of the dads who is a fireman came to speak to the class. Parents were invited to stick around for his little presentation so we did as I thought Reid might like it to see all the gear. I didn't realize it was also a wake up call for me and my lack of safety education for Elle. As a four-year-old she is fully capable of following a safety plan. So, I thought it might be a good reminder for other parents too. Just a little refresher course since it's been a while for most of us.

First, teach your children what to do should they catch fire. We all remember this, right? Stop, drop and roll! 

Second, set up a plan with your child in case a fire happens. How do they get out and where do you all meet up? When describing this, it's important to talk about how to navigate a house on fire. The fireman today told the kids to put their hand close to the door to see if the knob was hot. If it was, back away as the fire is outside of their door. (Before a fire, you should best determine and discuss alternative ways to get out if their door isn't an option.) If their dooknob isn't hot, they should open the door, stay low to the ground, get out of the house and meet at the meeting spot.

Third, remember to explain the fire alarms, how they work and what they mean. Also, show them pictures of actual firemen in gear so they know not to be afraid when they see one. It's surprisingly kind of scary! 

Any other tips to share? I'm sure I've missed some!



Goody Bag Alternative: Art Jars

Art supplies instead of a goody bag!

For each of Nic’s birthdays, I’ve done a “non-goody bag” favor. Goody bags can be fun, but I prefer something a little different. Usually, my favors are a bit crafty, and for Nic’s 5th birthday, it was no different.

The boys and I made “art jars,” for each party goer. These were mason jars stuffed with craft supplies for Nic’s favorite activity, project-making. Here’s what we used: 

  • Mason jars
  • Feathers
  • Beads
  • Dyed pasta
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Old fashioned clothes pins
  • Googly eyes
  • Layard string
  • Pom poms
  • Glue sticks or tiny Elmer’s Glue (I actually didn’t put these in, but wish I had!)
  • Gift tag
  • Ribbon for tying on gift tags

The art supplies make these favors so colorful!

If you can get a good deal on the mason jars, these are really inexpensive favors, and they look terrific! Scope out dollar stores for great deals on craft supplies.

Mason jar favors, the finished product,

These were really fun and easy to put together with the boys. 

Nic loved getting involved in making the favor for his party.

Pro Tip: Keep the mason jars in the boxes they come in. Do this for two reasons.


  1. When filling the jars with kids, a bunch of supplies end up between the jars. Having the box there makes clean up way easier.
  2. The boxes make the jars super easy to transport if you are having an off-site party. 


The kids and parents all seems thrilled with the jars at Nic's party. I'm already coming up with ideas for more mason jar favors. What would you put inside?


The Cutting of the Hair


We recently celebrated my son’s second birthday (more on turning two later) and we decided it was time to cut his locks. It was an exciting and emotional day. I didn’t just say goodbye to his beautiful, long silky, chocolate brown hair. I was saying goodbye to my baby and hello to my toddler. So...

Hello big boy!!

P.S. We looked into donating his hair but it needed to be a few inches longer.

Minutes before his first haircut




And Now You’re Five

Dear Nic,A huge, genuine smile on your birthday morning.

You willingly shared your birthday balloons this morning. You built a complicated Lego kit almost completely on your own. You coaxed your little cousin into smiling for the camera. We bought you an ant farm and trust you will not try to remove the lid (and enjoy listening to your hypothesis about what the ants will do next). You are such a big boy.

Five seems like a pretty big milestone for a kid, and a pretty important anniversary of parenthood. We’ve survived FIVE years of testing each other’s limits (daily, if not hourly). It’s been a bumpy road. The first 18 months was sleep deprived, but full of sunshine otherwise. You entered the terrible twos a bit early and continued into about six months of the terrifying threes. But at three-and-a-half, I noticed a shift in you. You slowed down a bit, gained more self-control, learned to really focus on the things you enjoy.

When you’re there, in that state of concentration or doing your personal best at something you enjoy, my heart sings. This is the little boy that I know you are and the man I’m confident you’ll be when you grow up.

I’ll be honest though, you’re not always in that place. And when you’re not, it’s hard. Hard on both of us. In the next year, I promise to be more patient—to look at things from your perspective before having a big reaction. I know you’re working hard and that it’s exhausting. The good news is that your hard work is paying off and I see it. Your daddy sees it too. And so do your teachers.

You have so much potential Nic. I can picture you at 10, at 15, at 20, and it’s amazing. I’m excited to see who you become, but also glad I get to watch you become it, day by day, year after year.

I love you. Always. No matter what.



Nurturing the Nurturers

Recently, I wrote about playgroups and how my local mothers’ club played such an important part in my transition to motherhood. What had set me to thinking about playgroups was a fantastic summit for local parent leaders that I had just attended.

The highlight of the summit for me was the keynote speaker, Kate Hoepke. She was a new mom in the mid-eighties and found solace in a small, local mothers’ group in Southern California. When her husband took a new job and they moved cross-country, she founded a new club along with a friend. She even wrote a book called Nurturing the Nurturers on how to found and run a mothers’ club. Another cross country move, this time to the San Francisco area, resulted in her helping to found over 40 Bay Area mothers’ clubs. FORTY CLUBS, including the one I belong to. It’s absolutely astonishing to think about the number of lives she’s reached through helping these clubs become a reality. How many moms got advice on pediatricians or preschools? How many babies learned to share with playgroup friends? How many moms felt less alone?

I was fortunate to get the chance to talk with Kate after her keynote. I’ll admit that I teared up when I thanked her for her work. It was obvious from her speech that she had made a lot of sacrifices to help build community for mothers, and I was grateful for the opportunity to offer my sincere thanks.

One of my oldest friends has started organizing "Babies and Brews" meet ups for new moms, dads and babies in Boston. Kate's work with mothers' clubs started casually and out of a personal desire for companionship. I can't help but wonder what kind of impact my friend may have on her larger community if she keeps these events going—and what potential lies in all of us when we set our heart to something. 

Kate Hoepke’s full keynote is above. Her introduction starts at 7:40.

This is part two in a short series on mothers’ clubs. Part one is here and part three will focus on how technology is changing mothers’ clubs and how they are working together to find efficiencies. 

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