ParentPoints

This blog is for all parents; those in the traditional workforce, those who work from home, and those who work at home. Join our conversations about balancing the needs of family with the demands of work, discovering resources and activities around Alaska, and opening a dialogue about the perks and challenges of parenthood. One of our three contributors emphasizes teen and family issues. We welcome your comments but please keep them on point and civil. Avoid personal attacks and the use of profanity.

Cleaning out the closets - 3/1/2012 9:24 am

Lotteries, tours and a fair - 1/16/2012 9:02 pm

Local MOM approved restaurant added to the list - 8/17/2011 1:47 pm

Gratitude in the princess aisle - 11/24/2010 1:29 pm

Time is of the Essence - 10/13/2010 8:23 pm

Memorable Moments - 8/19/2010 2:34 pm

Alaska businesses go above and beyond - 3/21/2010 3:17 pm

Fight child abduction by taking action - 1/29/2010 4:55 pm

Preparing for Baby No. 2

I'm late with my post this week, but I have a good excuse. Our second baby comes very early in the morning on Wednesday, March 4.

We're busy cleaning, organizing and choosing names (yes, still trying to agree on names). My posts will likely be sporadic and short over the next month or so, as I recover and adjust to a new phase of parenthood.

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Join the "Fur-Rocious" Running Crowd

Never too Young to Run: Get in costume and participate in the Frostbite Footrace this Saturday!Never too Young to Run: Get in costume and participate in the Frostbite Footrace this Saturday!It's here; 2009 Fur Rendezvous kicks off another great festival of fun this weekend with the famous (or infamous) Frostbite Footrace.

The Fur Rondy folks, in cooperation with Anchorage Parks and Recreation, would like anyone and everyone to participate in their annual 5k or 2.5k races. Costumes, of course, are encouraged but entirely optional if you can't think of anything.

Our family sees this as the perfect opportunity to get some additional mileage out of our son's skunk costume; look for the small woodland creature to be trotting alongside mom and dad Saturday morning.

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Good Daycare is Hard to Find

Interested in improving or increasing child care in Alaska? If you are a working parent with kids in daycare, the answer is likely “yes”. I’ve often heard parents say they feel guilty dropping their children off, but have not choice. Well, now there is an opportunity to take action. Child Care Connection is coordinating an effort to bring parents together to advocate for increased and improved child care.

Join parents in Alaska for a statewide videoconference discussion this Thursday, February 26 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Commons 107. Childcare is available during the meeting as well. RSVP to Jessie Menkens at Child Care Connection by calling (907) 563-2913 or email jmenkens@childcareconnection.org.

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Little Chefs, Big Fun

My children, like most kids, have always liked to make things. Especially things that taste good. Over the years I have become quite the food critic, sampling everything from green cookies to undercooked cupcakes.

Days like today, when rain and snow is spitting outside the window and moods can be low, prompt my youngest and I to get out the mixing bowls and start baking.

I am a committed (certainly in my husband's mind anyway) vintage cookbook collector. One of my prized picks from a thrift store years ago is a 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook just for children. While the local bookstores have special sections dedicated to kids and cooking, I haven't yet found anything that beats Retro-Betty.

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The Gift of Solitude

Valentine's Day was on Saturday, but I still haven't celebrated. That's because my husband treated me to a couple of nights at a Bed & Breakfast - by myself. My initial reaction was stress. How can I be away from a computer for two days when I am trying to transition projects and wrap business up before the baby comes in March? Then, one of my a prior blog posts came to mind:

Airline flight attendants tell passengers that, in an emergency, to put their oxygen masks on first before helping their children. Why? Parents need to take care of themselves before they can take care of their kids. This is a good model to follow, especially for working parents.

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Sweet Options for Valentine's Day

By now, you all know how much my family values the outdoor experiences we share together. For us, nothing spells L-O-V-E like a day spent skiing Anchorage's trails or simply walking the dog through the neighborhood. The activity isn't as important as the simple act of being together.

Valentine's day falls on Saturday this year, and a number of events are perfect for taking your sweetie, and the young sweeties, out for a lovely day of fun.

Our family will be heading to the Campbell Creek Science Center, located at 68th and Elmore Road, where we'll indulge ourselves in the annual event Winter Trails Day. Open to anyone interested in winter recreation, the event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will offer snowshoes, classic and skate skis to borrow, ski wax demonstrations, snow shelter building classes, and of course, hot chocolate. Last year we had to drag our youngest away from the snowshoe trail's dips and curves; he was intent on finding all of the interpretive signs.

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Steve MacDonald; A True Leader

As we all know, Steve MacDonald is no longer with Channel 2 News. It's yet another indication of how ugly the industry has become due to the desperate need to stay afloat during these challenging economic times.

It's time to let it all go because it doesn't matter. When all is said and done, we will not be measured by our careers, or who we know, or how much money we have. Rather, our footprint will be marked by how we live everyday, our relationships, our friends, family and how we treat others. Steve MacDonald has already left a lasting footprint and has had a positive impact on many lives.

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Black History Month Correction

Sorry, readers, I stated an incorrect date for the Anchorage Museum's AT&T Family Day. Discovered while trying to plan our weekend, I apologize to anyone who, like us, lives by their calendar...

Anyway, the Black History Month activities are on schedule for Sunday, February 8th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Anchorage Museum. Enjoy!

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Think You Know African American History?

Think again.

While many, if not most of us learned that Black History Month, celebrated throughout the month of February, meant only that we observed the works of Dr. King and Rosa Parks, I have news for you.
There is more; much more, and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is opening their doors this weekend for families to explore just that.

I will admit that before I lived in the South, Black History Month meant the above. We read the story about Rosa and the Back of the Bus, colored pictures of Martin Luther King, and maybe watched a video of the 'I Have a Dream' speech. But for kids growing up in the Northwest and Alaska, especially, we had little to connect the African American culture to our own lives. The Museum, as part of AT&T's Family Free Day, is celebrating Black History Month in creative, passionate ways that teach all of us how African Americans contributed in a big way to the success of the West.

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Comforted by Jo Jo Potatoes

I have four more weeks to go for my second pregnancy and must admit that I will be glad when the baby comes. This pregnancy has been much more challenging than the first. I developed a high-risk condition and have been on partial rest since November. My body has since corrected the condition, and I’ve been taken off rest for the last month. I’m elated the pregnancy is healthy, but I’m a little down about the weight gain.

According to the current recommendations, women of normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, underweight women should gain 28 to 40, overweight women should gain 15 to 25 and obese women should gain no more than 15. I fit into the 25-35 weight gain category, however, I’ve gained 46 pounds (I like to think I’m an over-achiever).

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Step Out With Stroller Strides

I was sure after the birth of my first child, some fifteen years ago, that no one could possibly share my feelings regarding new-motherhood. Tired, cranky, and certainly not at all impressed about my body's appearance, I resisted going out of the house for anything but necessities. I needed an outlet before both my brain and my body shut down from inactivity. I should have gone to Stroller Strides.

With the country engaged in the campaign towards physical fitness, it is no surprise that franchises like Stroller Strides have become popular. Geared towards mothers (and fathers, although so far no dads have stepped up to participate in AK) with very young children, Stroller Strides aims to return new parents to their pre-pregnancy/birth fitness level, or help them start an entirely new exercise program. Can we all say "Hallelujah"?

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Boilers, Sugar and Sprinkles

I discovered a family-friendly business that I want to share this week but first and update on efforts to make our home more energy efficient. I’ve blogged quite a bit about entering the
AHFC Home Energy Rebate Program. We’re doing it in an effort to save money in the long run. So far, we replaced our roof, windows, blew insulation in the attic and are now installing a new boiler. We have no heat or water for two days, so the family is bundling up and staying close to fireplace. Our second energy rating is in early February, I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes. Now, more about the family-friendly business.

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Jamming on the Ice

Ice Fishing: Hoping for the Big One...Ice Fishing: Hoping for the Big One...I must say that our family has experienced many Alaska-themed activities since moving here three years ago, but ice fishing has not, until now, been one of them.

Perhaps it took three years to become accustomed to the temperatures. Perhaps we, like some of you, were simply not properly acquainted with the sport of jigging for half-awake fish in the middle of the winter out on an icy lake with other people doing the same.

At the invitation of our friends, we made our first attempt at ice fishing last weekend at the Eagle River Lion's Club Derby on Mirror Lake. With cheery people, baited poles, and sunny skies (not to mention a roaring fire), we found ice-fishing to be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, except the little ones preferred stomping in slushy puddles to watching bait bounce up and down. This weekend it is Anchorage's turn to put on a Fishin' Jamboree that goes back quite a few years; 21 in fact.

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Families cut back on day care as costs rise

I found a couple of great articles during my weekly reading to share to share this week. They all have to do with how the economy is impacting working parents and efforts to balance family with finances:

Families Cut Back on Daycare

Household Role Reversals

Economy Impacts Parenting

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Let 'Em Bounce Off the Walls

Like Winnie the Pooh's Tigger, kids seem to be made sometimes of rubber and springs, head to toe. Bouncing and leaping are inherent kid movements that sometimes need an outlet. Anchorage's own Bouncin' Bears indoor play area hits the spot when the weather is downright frightful, as it has been for weeks now.

Bouncin' Bears , owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Kristy and Steve Simpson, is a perfect match for kids and parents who want a little different indoor play experience than say, Arctic Gym. Why? Filled with bouncy things like castles, monster trucks, and a boat, not to mention the huge green "air pillow" that intrigued us parents, BB satisfies the urge to run, bounce, and jump with mom and dad in a clean, safe, and well-run establishment.

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Shoeless and happy

I would imagine many are feeling a bit of a financial pinch right about now. Post holiday credit card bills are rolling in, the cold snap has sent heating bills soaring, and ENSTAR is raising rates – ouch!

It took me five months to make the decision to leave the work force and finances were a major factor in the decision. In fact, that financial fear was a major motivation to stay with my job (and the fact that I truly enjoyed going into the office every day). My heart was with my daughter, but my practical side was loyal to that steady paycheck. My heart won. I decided to acknowledge the fear and go for it.

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Travel the History of Alaskan Flight

A Flight Through History: Owen, 4, finds a floatplane most interesting at the Alaska Aviation Heritage MuseumA Flight Through History: Owen, 4, finds a floatplane most interesting at the Alaska Aviation Heritage MuseumStill cold? Yep, we are too, and there appears to be no relief in sight for this current deep freeze. In the spirit of enthusiastically getting out of the house, I vote to take the kids to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum this weekend.

Set along the shores of Lake Hood, a stone's throw from Ted Stevens International, the Aviation Heritage Museum boasts four hangars and outdoor exhibits (although we passed on those) that will provide enough entertainment for the entire family. It also might offer a bit of insight into the importance of air travel to Alaska's very survival; without the courageous flights of many men (and women), Alaska might not be where it is today.

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Reflections

The Little Lion: My daughter at a Halloween party. It was at this party that I realized how fortunate I am to be able to spend so much quality time with my little girl. These moments make the tough decision to leave my job worth it.The Little Lion: My daughter at a Halloween party. It was at this party that I realized how fortunate I am to be able to spend so much quality time with my little girl. These moments make the tough decision to leave my job worth it.The New Year is always an opportunity to reflect and to look forward. Last year at this time I was working a full-time job and had my daughter in daycare. It was then that I began to wonder if the lifestyle was the best route for my family. I pondered that question for several months and ended up giving my notice at work in May 2008.

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Statehood Celebration Kicks Off 2009

Welcome to 2009, and day five or six of the Deep Freeze, which came just in time to prevent much time outside on the Christmas kick-sled.

My post this New Year's Day was supposed to be about a time-honored tradition in my family; the annual New Year hike and picnic. In our little country town outside of Seattle, neighborhood families would trek a few miles to a local lake and enjoy a fireside sausage roast and ice-skate. We looked forward to this little jaunt every year; it gave us something active to do post-Christmas, and the company couldn't be beat.

As the temperatures began to drop this past week, my hopes for a Kirkland family hike began to diminish. Yes, it could be done, but the amount of enjoyment would certainly be less with a four-year-old. So, we shrugged it off and, like parents do, we found something else to do. Which brings us to downtown Anchorage.

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Financial health in the New Year

Finances are on my mind because I’ve spent the better part of my free time sorting every receipt from our 2008 purchases for tax purposes. Since many families make financial resolutions for the New Year, I thought it was fitting to share a good financial article this week:

Budget Advice

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