Reston eVillage has a great compendium of after-school, weekend, and summer programs for youth in grades 5-12. Check it out here.
We can't walk by the PB kids store at a mall without my kids squealing to go in and play with stuff. I can't complain, I like to look at all the uber cute goods too. While I'm still working on creating cute bedrooms for little girls, it has crossed my mind that eventually they will be teens and will likely request some redecorating. So, naturally, I was pleased to discover the PB teens line. Finding lasting cute items that will make the transition from little girl to little woman is that much easier. While many of the items gratefully retain a sweet, innocent appeal...even I can appreciate some of the fun accessories like the zebra striped towels and vintage iron jewelry holders and surfboard/skateboard shelves and magazine racks.
I just wanted to introduce you all to my amazing friend Brandi. Brandi - who has a contagious smile and a super-adorable tiny daughter and her loving husband, a zillion friends, a great job, and the kind of personality that always makes you feel at home, welcome, and anxious to be friends with her. Brandi - the same, who suffered from depression as a teenager, jumped off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in a desperate effort to end her life, MIRACULOUSLY survived, and now shares her story to help others. She has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Today Show, and Oprah Winfrey as an advocate for depression awareness and continues to speak in local high schools and other opportunities. She is a prime example for a person who appeared to everyone have it all together but underneath was wrestling with a very real and difficult illness. This is an issue that affects a surprisingly large number of teenagers today, as well as adults of all ages. Her website is interesting, encouraging, and offers some great resources and continues to be updated. Please check it out.
I recently attended a parenting seminar where I received a bunch of resources. One thing that was
touched upon was the decline of "manners" in our society and the necessity of teaching and holding our children accountable for common courtesy. Among our hand-outs was a list of age-appropriate manners taken from the book You Can Raise a Well-Mannered Child by June Hines Moore. It's clearly not exhaustive, but I've included it below. However, let us remember that the goal is not to hold your kids to a long list of obligatory rules but rather to train our children to be considerate of others rather than self-serving individuals as a whole.
Here's a great opportunity! SCORE! (located in the Northpoint Village Center) is hosting a community-wide spelling bee. The spelling bee is completely free of charge and open to kids from K-10th grades. The winners have the chance to WIN UP TO $1500 in college savings bonds! Here's what you need to know:
Saturday, March 29th
Mott Community Center
12111 Braddock Rd
Fairfax, VA 20124
registration is free
call (703) 464-9300 or visit SCORE! at 1424 North Point Village Center before March 29th.
If you are unfamiliar with SCORE! Educational Centers you may find it a great resource. Their mission is to deliver academic progress in a fun learning environment to inspire kids grades Pre-K through 10th to love learning.
"As a mom of an almost-12-year-old daughter, I've been really bothered by the TV commercials for Gardasil (the vaccine being promoted for young girls to guard against Human Papillomavirus). Several states currently have bills trying to make this a mandatory vaccine for girls entering 6th grade (with, in most, if not all cases a parental opt-out). I know you often address medical issues, and specifically vaccine related ones. I've been doing some research on it myself and was wondering if you had looked into this at all or had any thoughts on the topic." Jessi
This is a great question and one that could be addressed from many angles. For my readers who don't know, Gardasil is a vaccine recommended to girls from 9-26 years of age for the prevention of HPV, a disease which is transmitted sexually, and which may cause cervical cancer or other cancers. It is the most common STD, over 50% of all sexually active people acquire HPV at some point in their lives. The really great thing about this vaccine is that it is a huge medical breakthrough in preventative medicine against cancer - and that is amazing and worth celebrating. The debatable issue is safety - as for now, it appears safe and lacks any evidence which really critically holds up against that. However, being very new, there is much more research that needs to be done. The downside to this vaccination is that the disease it addresses is totally preventable with abstinence or in the context of a faithful marriage, and perhaps that is the issue upon which more attention and education should be applied. As far as making the vaccine mandatory within schools, this may seem a new issue because of the targeted age....however, it is really quite in line with the already implemented practices of having elementary school children required to be vaccinated against certain infectious diseases such as measles. The general idea is that by implementing mass vaccinations some diseases can eventually be completely eradicated or made to be extremely rare throughout large populations. There are so many things we could talk about surrounding this topic, but I'll simply leave you all with a final story: I went to high school with a young woman who later fell in love and got married with the hopes of starting a family. Sadly, she experienced a rape and she was infected by HPV. Due to the cancer, her chance of ever having children was lost. Her cancer is terminal, and right now she is dying. She is just 30 years old.
Dear Readers, please feel free to comment with your own thoughts or feelings.
I am an organized person - I feel better when everything is in a designated place, typed, arranged, filed, planned, alphabetized, categorized....you get the picture. Then came motherhood - and let me say that I've had to let go of a lot of my expectations for remaining organized and neat at all times. Now, some hybrid form of organized chaos now fills our days. Nevertheless, I do find that a little bit of effort in planning ahead can go a long way toward maintaining a mother's sanity...and helping her to feel like she is making and employing good decisions for her family instead of simply being pulled along by the massive weight at the other end of the leash. I'm still trying to figure out how you find the time to plan for things that you already are having trouble finding time to do.....but nonetheless, I do manage to plan some things - like my dinner menu for each week, though planning other things that I'd like to like a regular routine for my housework, I cannot seem to pull off. Anyway, I found this site - Planning with Kids, and I think it's great. So whether you are a Type A personality who is just constantly looking for more ideas and better ways to plan or whether you are looking for some help to just survive another day of this adventure with kids - or if you are just looking for ways to make family life more simple and fun..it might be worth checking it out.
Gaze upon this new product and tell me you are not appalled! It's a powdery energy drink mix called "Blow" which promises "pure uncut energy" (equal to 3 cups of coffee), has the look of cocaine and appeals to teens. (not to mention the practically pornographic website) Um, who's brilliant idea was this? and why aren't they fired?
Yikes! what an issue...but it's on my mind, so I'm going to say something. I don't know where you stand - but just so you know where I'm coming from: I find no redeeming quality about porn at all, it is easily damaging to every relationship and unholy. That being said, it is also easily accessed by children. Ben wrote a pertinent post here about protecting his young sons from porn and an elementary-age incident of accidentally coming across some while playing outside. As a result of this post, he garnered several comments from others who had similar accidental experiences. Having young daughters, I hadn't really given much thought to this yet...but Ben's post got me thinking. When I was also in elementary school, a friend and I came across a stack of magazines while rummaging through one of her parent's drawers. While visiting a distant family member at age 13, I noticed that there was a Playboy magazine in the stack in the bathroom, and when I was a teenager, I noticed that a local convenience store displayed porn magazines for sale in full view and I discovered that the boy I was dating also had a personal stash. Every one of those instances was totally unintentional. But now, if a child is lucky enough to never happen across a piece of printed porn, they are still just a very few clicks away from it on the web - and the incidence of accidentally accessing porn on the internet is very high. The average age for first internet porn exposure is 11 years old, the median age for a person's first use of pornography is between 11-14 years (for boys and girls!). It seems a very important issue to talk to our children about and I wonder if you have considered those conversations or if you have had them and what your thoughts about that are.
I have a teenage sister who begged my parents for a cell phone forever...finally she got her wish. I know she's not the only preteen/teen who wants to yield their own little supreme gadget of social connection, but as a parent, I also know what moms and dads are thinking... a mixed bag between the good, the questionable, and the irresponsible. So, do you give in to the pleas? Maybe, with the help of Kajeet. Kajeet is a pay-as-you-go service with no activation cost, no long-term contract, no cancellation fees, and no overage fees. It has all the bells and whistles that your kids want and all the control that you want. The only extra cost you may end up paying is the doctor's bill when your kid gets carpal tunnel syndrome from all of the frenzied texting!