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
Posted: December 24, 2008 - 10:46 pm
Maybe I'm feeling a bit sentimental because it's now 10:30 and we have finally put our youngest to bed with the promise of a visit from St. Nicholas, just as my father did when I was little. Perhaps it is due to the fact that we are missing our oldest son, 14, as he struggles with disabilities in a residential school out of state. Whatever the reason, my post this Christmas Eve has nothing to do with places to go or things to see, and everything to do with You. Yes, You. And Me.
I had a bit of a revelation tonight driving home from the Christmas Play at Trinity Presbyterian, at which our 4 year-old performed admirably as a skunk in the Nativity (don't ask). Up until the last minute today, I had been Mom Who Could Make Perfect Christmas. Rushing, cleaning, wrapping, and creating the ultimate in holiday cheer and goodwill.
Posted: December 22, 2008 - 11:59 am
There is no doubt that car seats save lives. But, like many devices, they have been perfected perhaps a little too much. In this day and age of snap-and-go cars seat/stroller combos, infants are spending more and more time in one position. As a parent working full-time, I often left my daughter in her car seat because she was content to just sit and it allowed me to focus on work. She was also content sitting in the saucer, bouncy seat and swing. My arrangement with bringing baby to work and working from home went very well for the first year because my daughter was happy to just sit. I am coming to learn those actions may have contributed to her delay in gross motor skills.
Posted: December 18, 2008 - 8:00 am
I've seen the advertisement every year; "Attend the Chanuka Arts Festival at Egan Center". Promising an evening of food, music, and community spirit, the Lubavitch Jewish Center invites residents of Anchorage to experience their faith and their holiday. But I've never attended. With the exponential increase in local activities to celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas, our family calendar is usually pretty packed by the end of December. After a conversation with a very nice person at the Lubavitch Center and a bit of research, however, I believe we might be adding a stop downtown this weekend.
Posted: December 14, 2008 - 10:19 pm
My daughter finally took her first steps this week. She is 17-months-old and suffice it to say, I was getting quite worried that she would never walk. In fact, I had her assessed at 14 months just to make sure everything was “okay”. She was diagnosed with a delay in gross motor skills. Why? No one really has an answer other than kids go at their own pace and conquer developmental milestones when they are good and ready. We decided to put my daughter into physical therapy at 15 months and it has really helped her develop strength, gross motor skills and self confidence.
Luckily, I was no longer working full-time and had the time to work with my daughter to bring her up to speed. Many working parents don’t have that luxury and often have to rely on daycare providers to help developing kids reach those important milestones. Below are some pointers geared for busy parents to ensure their children are building critical skills:
Posted: December 11, 2008 - 11:10 am
It's still snowing. In fact, compared to last winter at this time, there is so much snow our family is hard-pressed keep up with it. Skiing, sledding, even a snowman when the temperatures warmed up a bit all signal to us that winter is settling in.
The fresh snowfall of the past few days will find us heading towards Campbell Creek Science Center's ample trail system for a little snowshoe sojourn this weekend. Sun is promised, as are warmer temperatures; what better way to spend an afternoon with the family?
Posted: December 8, 2008 - 2:00 pm
I just got back from the gym for the first time in a few weeks. I’ve been reluctant to go because of a condition I’ve developed during my pregnancy that may require me to go on full bed rest during my final months. I’ve been taking it easy this month partly because of the new development in my pregnancy, and partly because I simply enjoy taking it easy. Come on, how often do I have a good excuse to nap in the middle of the day.
The problem is I’ve fallen into a slump of resting and eating just a little too much. The result is that I’ve already gained 25 pounds and I still have three months to go in my pregnancy. The holidays and cold winter weather isn’t helping my situation. A similar scenario happened during my last pregnancy and I gained 50+ pounds.
Posted: December 3, 2008 - 8:04 pm
Okay, the holidays are officially here, and if you are like our family, relatives will soon be descending upon Alaska in search of the perfect Christmas vacation. Snow and all. Time to go in search of Alaskana adventures to please everyone.
I will admit that our family is a bit attracted to food. Not quantity, mind you, but the unique specialities that are present in whatever state we happen to be living. I guess it comes from our government, somewhat transient lifestyle. At any rate, my husband began his "food tour" the first Christmas we spent in Alaska, and it has become a tradition ever since. We start the day with a hearty breakfast and head out to enjoy all the goodies the greater Anchorage area has to offer, ending with a treasure-trove of gifts for Outside relatives and friends. My in-laws are spending the holidays with us this year, and we plan to take them on the Kirkland Food Network Tour. Enjoy!
Posted: December 1, 2008 - 3:03 pm
My husband and I are taking measures to cut costs. Factors that lead to the decision include rising energy costs and our decision for me to leave the work force to be home full-time with our 17-month-old and soon-to-be newborn.
My post today is a continuation from last week's entry about our decision to enter the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Home Energy Rebate program. In an effort to boost our energy rating from the current 1+ rating, we have replaced our windows, plan to blow insulation in the attic, and hope to replace the boiler and water heater.
Posted: November 26, 2008 - 6:26 pm
How did it get to be the holidays already? It seems as if I just packed away the Halloween costumes, and here we are searaching for lights and decorations.
Like it or not, December is almost here, and with it comes the frenzied pace of shopping, wrapping, and a plethora of other activities that only happen at Christmas. Our family's advice? Slow down and kick off the holidays with some beautiful music, courtesy of our own Air Force.
In their annual Sounds of the Season concert to thank citizens of Anchorage for continued support, the Air Force Band of the Pacific performs December 3rd and 4th at the Performing Arts Center downtown, with shows beginning at 7 p.m. both days. Not just garden variety holiday tunes, the concert is modeled after the World War II Stage Door Canteens, at which a host, usually a well-known comedian, would entertain the audience in between acts. This show is no different.
Posted: November 24, 2008 - 9:26 pm
My husband and I made the decision that it would be best for me to stop working full-time so I could be home with our 1-year-old daughter and soon-to-be newborn. The benefits of staying home far outweigh working right now, but the decision comes with much sacrifice. Living on a single income is a challenge to say the least. After I resigned from my job, I took on all duties of running the household, including doing all of the finances. I am on a constant mission to cut costs. In June, we decided to pursue the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Home Energy Rebate Program. The first step, get on the waiting list - the very long waiting list - for a home energy rating. We got onto the list in June and finally, Alaska Energy Analysis, LLC came by the house today (yes, a six month wait).
Posted: November 19, 2008 - 10:00 pm
Who doesn't remember the first time they tried to build something? For me, it was in Girl Scouts and I was about 8. We were making bird feeders for our parents for Christmas, and I wanted it to be just right. With the leader helping, I pounded nails, glued and painted until the masterpiece was complete; and, I am proud to say, 34 years later the thing still hangs in a plum tree in my parents' yard.
With the gift-giving season here, there is no time like now to teach kids all about the best kind of giving; something made by yourself. Not sure what to make? No problem. These days, craft stores sell pre-cut kits for everything from birdhouses to picture frames. Just glue, paint, and wha-la, self-created gift. Both my children love to build things, we gave them both big tubs of wood scraps with which to explore the finer art of construction, kid-style.
Posted: November 17, 2008 - 11:14 am
As working parents, we all seem to get locked into our routines. It is often hard to look outside of ourselves and realize we are part of a global community. Mandy Casurella put that into perspective with her guest post this week. Mandy and her husband are preparing to move from Anchorage to Madagascar through an organization called World Venture. Mandy, a professional counselor, and her husband, a medical doctor, plan to use their skills to promote physical, mental, and spiritual health in Madagascar. They've already visited the region. Mandy writes about it in her own words:
Posted: November 13, 2008 - 8:09 am
Yay! There is finally snow on the ground, and soon the skis will be taken from their summer hiding place and readied for another winter of outdoor fun.
The Anchorage Daily News did a great piece last Sunday about our area's Nordic ski programs. We, like many skiing families, are a mixed group of Alpine and Nordic preferences. However, since we have a preschooler whose snow time is still limited, downhill has taken a back seat to cross-country, simply because we wanted an experience that would include all of us moving in the same general direction at one time, rather than being scattered across a mountain.
Posted: November 10, 2008 - 2:35 pm
My birthday is on Saturday. My husband asked me what I wanted to do. I sat there in silence because I really didn't know. During our "pre-baby" days, we would go out to dinner and catch a movie. Those days are over for awhile. Now that we have a toddler, a night out is a little more complicated. I could ask for new Dansko's, fun silver earrings, or a gift certificate to the spa. Frankly, what I really want is a few hours to myself.
What a luxury it will be to go somewhere, sit quietly and have a cup of coffee (decaf right now because we have another little one on the way). I freelance from home, so every spare second is divided between maintaining the house and freelance work. I miss just going somewhere by myself.
Posted: November 5, 2008 - 8:32 pm
My son has been asking for weeks to go to the "Running and Jumping Place". Our favorite wintertime spot for running amok, Arctic Gym provides kids a safe place to leap, jump, slide, twist, and just about anything else they can think of.
Located in between Benson and 36th on Arctic Boulevard, Arctic Gymnastics
is part of the large and successful Arctic Gymnastics club, producers of top alaskan gymnasts. But for all their attention to the sport, Arctic Gym's staff realize the importance of providing little bodies with some indoor wiggle time.
Posted: November 3, 2008 - 9:37 am
I am branching out this week and have asked a guest blogger to share her story about her experience with balancing career and family. Her name is Tiffany Ryan, who coordinates Youth Vote 2008 events. Thanks Tiffany for providing this post, especially on the day before the election! Tiffany Ryan in her own words:
I am the mom of a 12-month-old boy, Noah. I was the Executive Director of a non-profit when I became pregnant and thought that I could easily work from home when the baby was born; I mean, how hard would it be to work when all newborn babies do is sleep? I was realistic enough to know that I would need to do some work at night when my husband got home. I thought I had it all figured out – that is, until Noah arrived. I quickly realized that I couldn’t arrange my meetings around his unpredictable schedule. There were meetings I knew that it would not be appropriate for me to bring my child, and travel outside of Anchorage that required my husband to take time off of work. I decided to quit my job and take on contract work.
Posted: October 30, 2008 - 11:00 am
Here we are, a mere five days away from Alaska's most interesting election, to say the least. Grown-ups everywhere will be glued to their televisions and/or computers Tuesday, and my husband and I are no different.
In the spirit of the political process, and like the candidates, our family is hosting an election-night party to make the wait a little more enjoyable. Most school-aged children have been learning about the election process and have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Teenagers as well have been involved in their own mock elections and hopefully have taken advantage of the opportunities to learn about our local, state and national issues and candidates. Giving them some hands-on, fun actitivities during the long, long night of polling, counting and deciding will make the whole thing seem a little more real. And fun.
Posted: October 26, 2008 - 9:15 pm
I have a lot going on right now. I’m six months pregnant, have a 16-month-old toddler that demands every ounce of my attention, and a heavy freelance project load. I know there isn’t a lot of pity for my situation as thousands of parents experience the conflict between balancing family and work. I went online in an attempt to find some tips on balance and came across some helpful information that I wanted to share this week: Ten Ways to Balance Work and Family
Posted: October 22, 2008 - 7:44 pm
It's time to bundle up your superheroes and princesses this Saturday for an evening of spooky (and not-so-spooky) fun at Russian Jack Springs Park, near DeBarr and Boniface.
Sure, you could take the kids to other Halloween-themed parties around the city, and they would most certainly come away with loads of treats and goodies. But if you want to get back to some good old fashioned tricks, head to the Lydia Selkregg Chalet and have some fun everyone will enjoy. Even the older kids.
Posted: October 19, 2008 - 9:00 pm
It is getting colder, energy bills are costing more and the holidays are coming. Alaska families are trying to figure out how to make it all work. My family is no exception. We decided to become proactive and brainstorm solutions that will help cut costs. I want to share the pros and cons of our efforts so far.
In the interest of energy efficiency, we decided to invest our Permanent Funds and the extra $1,200 in replacing all of the windows. My husband replaced the roof this summer and a new boiler is on the horizon. The new roof has already made a huge difference in the warmth of our home. We're hoping the windows and new boiler will help also reduce overall expenses. I'll keep you posted on the progress.