The Rockwood Files: My affair with Wal-Mart

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

If the most important people in your life are the ones you spend the most timwalmart_new_logo.pnge with, then Wal-Mart and I must be really, really close. Because I’m there all the time. If you add up all the hours I’ve poured into trips to the store, Wal-Mart and I are practically engaged. (Don’t tell my husband.)

Unlike some of those fanatical Wal-Mart haters, I rather like my Supercenter, especially since they remodeled it with cheerier colors and wider aisles. But I don’t like it so much that I want to spend half my life in the check-out lane. So why can’t I stay away?

Every week it happens the same way. I make one big shopping list, determined to get everything I need in one swoop. With my cart brimming full, I wrack my brain on the way to the check-out lane to be sure I’ve picked up absolutely everything we might need for the next couple of weeks. Once I’m home, I unload the groceries and then stand back and admire the full refrigerator and pantry. “No more trips to the store for at least 10 days or so,” I say to myself. Then it happens. Tom rounds the corner and says something completely maddening like “Did you remember to get bar soap?”

“Bar soap? Oh, no! Don’t tell me I just spent more than an hour of my life in the Supercenter and came home with no bar soap. I didn’t realize we were out. Why didn’t you call to remind me about bar soap?” I say.

Then he says something innocent like “I don’t know. I figured you’d remember it.”

Aaaargh! Curses on bar soap! I’d rather wash with that tiny leftover sliver of soap than have to make another trip to the store. So that’s what we do because I’m way too frustrated to go back. But for the next few days it haunts me. Every time I get in the minivan and start the engine, I can hear a small voice in the back of my mind whispering “Need bar soap. Need bar soap.”

So finally I cave under the pressure. Only three days after my big shopping trip, I’m back at the Supercenter for more.

Now in theory, the trip for bar soap should only be a “pop-in” visit. You know, pop in real quick, pick up some bar soap and zip through the speedy checkout lane in no time flat. But that only works in theory.

Experienced shoppers have learned the hard way that Wal-Mart is pop-in proof. As soon as you’re in there, things start popping into your basket – a loaf of bread here, a few bananas there, replacement razor blades, Jet Dry, Raisin Bran – and all of a sudden you’ve disqualified yourself from the speedy checkout lane. The pop-in trip turns into another 45-minute date. Once again, I’ve been drawn back by Wal-Mart’s magnetic pull, like a needy girlfriend who can’t stay away. The worst part is that the Supercenter expects me to pick up the tab every time I come. When you’re going steady with a major retailer, chivalry is certainly dead.

Sometimes I think the Supercenter stays open 24 hours a day because they need to work ‘round the clock in order to make sure every trip back to Wal-Mart is just a tad bit different than the trip before. They keep rearranging things, just to keep our relationship new and exciting. Just when I think I know exactly where the white vinegar is – boom – it vanishes from aisle four and reappears in aisle two. So the retail tango continues, and I spend a few more minutes cruising the aisles to find what’s on my list.

So what’s a girl to do? It’s not like I can quit Wal-Mart cold turkey. All I can hope for is to space out my visits a little more – you know, really make ‘em miss me while I’m gone. It’s not going to be easy, especially when I need paper towels and peanut butter and new pillowcases. But I’ve got to try, even when that little voice keeps reminding me that they’re there and they’re always open – always.

Movie Night Postponed to February 6th


We’ve decided to move our Girls’ Night Out (pizza party and a chick flick) to next Friday, February 6th – same time, same places. The road conditions in Benton County are not improving as quickly as we’d hoped, and we sure don’t want anyone to have an accident on the way to or from dinner and the movie. Also, some of the winners which we announced yesterday have already let us know they can’t attend because they still have no power at home and one mom even has a tree on her house! We don’t want any of you guys to miss a much-deserved Girls’ Night Out, especially after you’ve survived a week of being cooped up at home.

So we’re moving the pizza party and movie night to next Friday, February 6th. We’ll still meet at Mad Pizza’s party loft about 5:30 p.m. and then go over to the Pinnacle Hills Malco Theatre to see New In Town at 7:10 p.m. (Note to winners: If you can’t make the pizza party but are still coming to the movie with a friend, Shannon and I will meet you at the fountain just inside the theater to give you your free tickets. We’ll be there at 6:40 p.m. until showtime.)

Sorry for the inconvenience, ladies. But the movie popcorn will still taste just as good next week, and we’ll all be past the chaos of the ice storm by then. If you have any questions, e-mail us at If you missed the original post about Girls’ Night Out festivities, click HERE to see what we’ve got planned.

FREE performances of Stellaluna at WAC Today!

stellaluna_image1.jpgKimberly Clark (makers of Huggies diapers) and Walton Arts Center invite you to fight cabin fever by enjoying two FREE performances of the family show Stellaluna. Shows begin at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today and are free and open to the public.

No advance reservations are required. Beat the cold weather with this heartwarming musical adaptation of the lovable children’s book by Janell Cannon.

Stellaluna tells the story of a baby bat who falls out of her nest, right into a family of birds. Her world is literally turned upside down as she is required to act like a bird, not a bat. Anyone who has ever been asked to be something they’re not will appreciate Stellaluna’s challenges and opportunities.

Stellaluna is best suited for ages 5 to 8, but audiences of all ages are welcome. Don’t let the icy weather get you down. Let Walton Arts Center raise your spirits with entertainment for the entire family.

Concessions will be available in the lobby before and after performances. Special thanks to Kimberly Clark for their support of this free community event. For more information, visit

Hair: “Help Me Rhonda” on favorite hair product

Dear Rhonda,

What is your favorite all-time hair product and why?

Dear Reader,

moroccan-oil.jpgMy all-time favorite hair product would have to be Moroccan Oil. It is the most fabulous thing to hit the hair market since the CHI iron. This stuff is AMAZING!!! It smells wonderful, gives the hair GREAT shine and fullness and, if that isn’t enough, it’s really healthy for your hair. It protects your color and conditions your highlights also. It’s definitely worth the money. You can find it at Blue Door and Co. Salon in Bentonville. Come in and I’ll hook you up!

Rhonda Moulder is a mama to two beautiful daughters and is also a stylist at Blue Door & Co. in downtown Bentonville. E-mail her a hair question at or call for an appointment at the salon at 479-273-4433. Have a happy hair day.

Chick Flick, here we come: Winners of Girls Night Out announced!


NOTE: Movie Night was postponed to Friday, Feb. 6. See post by clicking HERE.

OK, with all this bad weather, we know you’re just as anxious as we are to get out of the house. Especially for a pizza party and a romantic movie starring Harry Connick, Jr., with a huge group of girls who love chick flicks as much as you do.

The movie, New In Town, will be showing at 7:10 p.m. Friday (Jan. 30) at the Pinnacle Hills Malco Theatre (part of the Pinnacle Promenade Mall). Each of our 20 winners in this giveaway will get a pair of tickets to the show – one for herself and one so she can bring along a friend.

Winners and their guests are also invited to meet us for dinner at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the party loft at Mad Pizza in Rogers, located in Tuscany Square just off the Pleasant Grove Road exit (and only about a mile or so from the Malco movie theatre at Pinnacle Promenade Mall).

Each ticket winner and her friend will get two pizza buffets (which includes salad bar, pizza and dessert) for the price of one buffet ($7.49 plus tax). Mad Pizza, a madly popular place that opened a little more than a year ago, makes awesome specialty pizzas. Click here to see their full menu.

steel-magnolias.jpgBONUS: While we’re enjoying pizza and chatting, the movie Steel Magnolias will be playing in the background, since that was the chick flick that earned the most votes in our first Girls Night Out movie night. Pretty Woman was a close second and The Notebook took third place, based on comments and e-mails from everyone.

If you can’t meet us for dinner (bummer), just meet Gwen and Shannon at the fountain inside the movie theatre to pick up your tickets. We should be there by 6:40 or so after dinner and we’ll have your tickets with us.

Without further ado, the winners and their picks are:

Tricia G., Sweet Home Alabama

Carolyn S., Baby Boom

Ashley P., Pretty Woman

Dena H., Steel Magnolias

Kathleen V., Pride & Prejudice

Michelle G., Love Actually

Danyelle M., My Girl, Steel Magnolias

Mere H., Fried Green Tomatoes, Beaches

Sara M., Only You, French Kiss

Jenny M., Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment

Trina, Chocolat

Ericka, The Notebook

Keelie T., The Notebook

Marisa, When Harry Met Sally

Deb E., When Harry Met Sally

Angela W., Pride & Prejudice

Elise, When Harry Met Sally, A Walk in the Clouds

Tiffany S., Fool’s Gold

Rhonda, Steel Magnolias

Jenny M., P.S. I Love You

If you didn’t win tickets — and you have some movie money burning a hole in your pocket — you’re welcome to join us for New In Town!

Thanks again to our friends at Malco Theatres, Mad Pizza and for helping us coordinate this awesome event. We can’t wait to see you at the movies!

Interior Design: Mantle Makeover!

By Teresa Huddleston owner of Huddleston Interior Designs

Since we’re in the middle of winter, now is the perfect time to give the focal point of the room – the fireplace and mantle – a fresh new makeover. You’ll enjoy a cozy fire even more if you love the look on and above your mantle. Let’s get started:

Does size matter? When it comes to mantles, it most certainly does. One of the most common mistakes I see with mantle decor is that the items on it are way too small. To avoid this, measure the height from the top of your mantle to the ceiling. The items you hang above your mantle or the items you set on the mantle should be in proportion to that number. (They should fill at least half of that vertical space.)

mirror.jpgMirror, mirror on the wall: Personally, I’m not a huge fan of hanging mirrors above mantles and here’s why – most of the time the mirror ends up reflecting a ceiling, a ceiling fan, a light fixture or nothing at all. That’s just not a pretty look. If you want a mirror above the mantle, try tilting it from the top so that the reflection is of something pretty or interesting.

First things first: Start with the item you want to use as the focal point above the mantle – an oil painting, a flat screen television, a tapestry, metal art, or a large professional photograph of your family. Whatever you choose, try not to cover either a painting or a large photograph with glass so you can avoid glare from ceiling lights. If you hang a large family photo above the mantle, don’t put lots of small framed photos on the mantle itself. It’s just too much and will detract from the focal point. If you’re putting a flat screen television above the mantle, consider leaving the mantle itself bare because items sitting on top of it often block the view or crowd the screen.

A few of my favorite things: So what should you look for when you makeover a mantle? Here’s a topiary-urn.jpgquick list of what I like to set on top of mantles: large finials (18 to 22 inches tall), topiaries (ball or cone style; greenery helps soften the look), leather-bound books, decorative boxes or urns. Be cautious about putting lots of picture frames on your mantle. Typically, they’re just too small for this spot, and the really large ones (like 8×10 or bigger with easel frames) are usually hard to set on top of a mantle that’s not very deep.

A bright idea: If you want lighting on your mantle, try to find some “up light” lamps. That means the bulb and fixture point up toward the ceiling so no one sees the exposed bulb.

asymmetrical-mantle.jpgWhat’s your style? In mantle design, you can go with a symmetrical design or an asymmetrical look. If you want symmetry, try putting the same item on each side of the mantle, like two up-lights or two topiaries. Personally, I like asymmetrical designs (shown right) because, for me, they create a little more interest in the room. Another option is to use a single (appropriately sized) item on your mantle because a stripped-down look can often create a sense of calm.

Need inspiration? Flip through a few design magazines to spark some ideas. Or walk through a few open model homes to see how the professionals have done it. And please don’t be too shy to call an interior designer to come over for a consultation. Cost for a consultation is typically very reasonable. And we LOVE this stuff, so designers can really help you achieve the look you want. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to play around with the design and try different looks out before you make anything permanent. Just be sure that the mantle decor fits with the look of the room so that the overall design feels cohesive.

Lastly, don’t get so focused on your mantle that you forget all about the fireplace itself. It may be in need of a nice fireplace screen to finish off the look. Once you’ve got your look in place, sit back, start the fire and sip your hot cocoa, knowing you’ve given your mantle the makeover it deserved.

Teresa Huddleston is an interior designer and owner of Huddleston Interior Designs.To contact her about a consultation or any project you’d like to tackle in your home, call her at 479-871-4116 or e-mail her at

Why you should always check your child’s homework…

I’m not a fan of forwards, but this one was downright hilarious.

Supposedly (you never know if these are real or not) a first-grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment:


After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child’s illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Girls Night Out at the Movies: Win free tickets!


Edited to add: We’ll randomly choose the winners for this giveaway at 3 p.m. today (Wednesday, Jan. 28) and then post the winning names by 4 p.m. at the top of the home page. We want you to have enough time to snag a sitter or break the news to your husband that he’ll have the kids Friday night while you get the heck out of dodge! Good luck!

Know what you need? You need a Girls Night Out – dinner with a friend, great conversation, and a fun “chick flick” to top off the night. If that sounds good to you, we have the perfect giveaway. We’re taking 50 Northwest Arkansas women to the movies this Friday! And the movie tickets are on us!

We’ll be going to opening night of the romantic comedy New In Town, starring Harry Connick, Jr (swoon) and our favorite girl-next-door actress, Renee Zellweger. The movie will be showing at the Pinnacle Hills Malco Theatre (part of the Pinnacle Promenade Mall). Each of our 20 winners in this giveaway will get a pair of tickets to the show – one for herself and one so she can bring along a friend. And, hey, if you happen to be new in town yourself, this could be a great way to meet some like-minded mamas!

HOW TO ENTER: All you have to do to throw your name in our online hat is post a comment below (by clicking the word “comment”) or send us an e-mail at When you comment or e-mail, be sure to tell us what your favorite “chick flick” of all time is. (I’m having a hard time deciding between Pretty Woman and Sixteen Candles.) You can vote for more than one if you just can’t decide.

We’ll choose our winners at random and each winner will get two tickets to see the show. But we can’t send you and your friend to the movies on an empty stomach. So we’ve arranged a little pizza party for our Girls Night Out in the party loft at Mad Pizza in Rogers, located in Tuscany Square just off the Pleasant Grove Road exit (and only about a mile or so from the Malco movie theatre at Pinnacle Promenade Mall.)

Each ticket winner and her friend will get two pizza buffets (which includes salad bar, pizza and dessert) for the price of one buffet ($7.49 plus tax). We chose Mad Pizza because they’re one of the newest, hottest pizza places going right now. They opened a little more than a year ago, and they’ve been packing in the pizza lovers ever since. I love the specialty pizzas they make, like Margherita pizza, Chicken Honey Mustard pizza, Mexican pizza, Mad Italian, Mad Chicken Ranch, and the list goes on. Don’t even get me started on the cinnamon sticks. Love, love, love ‘em. (Click here to see their full menu.)

Now it’s time to start collecting those comments and e-mails. Don’t forget to tell us your favorite chick flick of all time. And remember that if you help spread the word about this website and/or the giveaway, we’ll enter your name into the drawing for every friend you tell. Tell 10 friends and you’ll get 11 chances to win. That’s how it works. Just be sure to put us ( on the CC line so we can give you proper credit.

If you’ve never heard of the movie New In Town, click on this link to watch a movie preview. Click here:

Thanks to our friends at Malco Theatres, Mad Pizza and for helping us coordinate our huge Girls Night Out event. Can’t wait to see you all at the movies!

Good Gossip: A Guilt-Free Dish


If you’re in the mood for a little gossip, you’re in luck. We’ve got plenty. And ours is even tastier because we filter out the nasty rumors and just give you the good stuff, no guilt necessary. If you have a little “good gossip” to share about a friend, colleague or relative who has had some good news recently, feel free to e-mail us at Now, on with the gossip.

Celebrity Dish

jennifer_garner1_300_400.jpgJennifer Garner and Ben Affleck welcomed a new baby girl on Jan. 6th. Her name is Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck. (Source: People Magazine, February 2, 2009 issue)

Jennifer Hudson will make an emotional return to the public eye when she sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl. She will also perform at the Grammy ceremony in February, where she is up for three awards. (Source: OK Weekly, February 2, 2009 issue)

Stars flocked to the Inauguration festivities. Celebrities in attendance included Bono, Beyonce, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Will.I.Am, Pete Seeger, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Anne Hathaway, Cheryl Crow, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mariah Carey, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Hayden Panettiere and many more.

kellyclarksoncover.jpgKelly Clarkson likes to blog, too! We laughed when we read what she wrote about the photo on her new album: “They have definitely photoshopped the crap out of me, but I don’t care. Ha-ha! Whoever she is, she looks great!” (Source: People Magazine, February 2, 2009 issue)

Taylor Swift will be a guest star on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She plays a teen whose family manages a seedy motel. (Source: People Magazine, February 2, 2009 issue)

Alison Sweeney, who plays Sami on Days of Our Lives and is the host of The Biggest Loser, gave birth to a daughter, Megan Hope, on Jan. 12th. Megan joins big brother Ben, who is 3.

Britney Spears is moving to a new home in the quiet city of Calabasas, Calif., outside of Los Angeles. Her new Circus tour kicks off March 3rd in New Orleans. (Source: People Magazine, February 2, 2009 issue)

All Akimbo: A big raw nerve

By Kim Blakely, pregnant blogging mama

This time last year, I was fresh from the doctor’s appointment where my doctor recommended that I have surgery to address my infertility issues.

For the two weeks after I heard those dreaded words, I wished for a miracle – a positive pregnancy test that would keep me out of the operating room. Instead, my period arrived and I called to set up a laparoscopy. I spent the next two weeks trying to convince myself that pushing through my fears of sedation etc. were key to getting pregnant … and then I waited another seven months to get to where I am now.

Today I had another doctor’s appointment where my doctor laughed with us about choosing a name for our daughter.

(For the record, my husband has made some “interesting” suggestions, most of which I have nixed right off the bat. To be fair, most of you would have done the same. Mojo would like to call her Turkey Blaze. Alrighty. Moving right along …)

You would think that after 2 ½ years of trying for a baby, we would have at least a short list of names to choose from, but, honestly, I was never sure enough there would be another baby to name that I could stand to consider it.

birthday_clipart_party.gifI still can’t believe this is happening. It’s utterly surreal.

Also on the topic of things surreal, my baby turned 4 last weekend. I know this is terribly cliché, but seriously – where does the time go?

Until this year, we’ve just had small family celebrations for his birthdays.

As I watched him tear around after his friends from school at his first party including guests of his choosing, I got a little teary as I remembered the toddler who never wanted to stray far from his mama’s side. Now he was running full-force, utterly oblivious to my presence.

I couldn’t feel too melancholy, though, because the look on his face was pure gold. He was delighted to be a part of all the action, to have buddies and be free and … I guess just to be 4. To see him having so much fun made my heart soar.

Maybe it’s the hormones, but being a mom makes me feel incredibly mortal. Someone asked me once if I felt different after becoming a mom, and I couldn’t really come up with the words to answer that question with any real substance. I told her that being a mom made me see the world differently, but I really couldn’t come up with a way just then to explain that I felt like a big raw nerve. That loving someone so much made me feel more vulnerable than I could fathom, and that looking at the world through his eyes allowed me relive my childhood while at the same time forcing me to see how the passage of time is changing me – would continue changing me. I don’t mean that in a morbid “life is ending” kind of way. More like a now-I-get-why-so-many-people-want-this kind of way.

I can’t wait to meet our daughter, and I can’t wait for Mojo to meet his little Turkey Blaze. I can’t wait to see them interact, those two little people I can’t imagine loving more than I already do.

Motherlode mamas make the television news

By Gwen and Shannon, nwaMotherlode mamas

For two women accustomed to reporting the news, it was quite a mental leap for us to actually be the news. Yes, the tables were turned and we were feeling quite nervous about taking our place on the hot seat. Here’s the torturous time-line about how we went from behind-the-scenes website junkies to making it to the 10 o’clock news:

Friday, 3:35 p.m.: Gwen’s driving carpool home from Bellview Elementary with a minivan full of kids. The cell phone rings and it’s Carley Gordon from KNWA asking if she can come to Gwen’s house to interview her and Shannon on Sunday for a story that evening. OH MY GOSH! Gwen tries to sound cool and collected on the phone but her internal organs are already shaking from all the nervous energy welling up inside her.

stopwatch2.jpgFriday, 3:38 p.m.: Gwen manages to set up the interview, then hangs up the phone. She calls Shannon to tell her the great/horrifying news.

3:38 1/2 p.m.: SQUEEEEE!!!!

3:39: Simultaneously: “What are we gonna wear?!” Clock is ticking.

4:15 p.m.: Gwen and Shannon are still excitedly discussing the interview. They finally hang up when kids start whining and tearing at their clothing. But not before they set up a date to go shopping on Saturday.

11:30 a.m. Saturday: The mamas descend upon Pinnacle Promenade. They’d heard it was best to stay away from anything red, black, white or crazy-patterned, so with Robocop focus, they search for solids in other best colors. Dismissing any hint of modesty, they shuck clothes off and on with wild abandon.

1 p.m.: Shannon finally scores after the fourth store, but Gwen is still in wardrobe limbo.

2 p.m.: Still no outfit for Gwen. Gwen notes that if she were not so desperate for a “just right” outfit, there would be 200 of them around every corner of every store. Cruel irony!

2:08 p.m.: Gwen knows she must rush home NOW or her husband will kill her. Her son, Adam, has a basketball game and dad’s the coach. He needs extra hands to help with the two younger kids.

2:10 p.m.: Shannon checks with her husband and he and daughter are happily buying a new fish at World’s Underwater. She decides there’s time for a quick manicure.

2:22 p.m.: Gwen considers taking her younger two and heading back out to scavenge, but decides that’s not what she wants to do. It’s Adam’s game day and she doesn’t want to miss it.

3:18 p.m.: Gwen thanks God she didn’t decide to skip the game to shop for an outfit because her boy just scored his FIRST BASKET during a game! She screams and jumps and claps like a total idiot in the bleachers but does not care because she is so proud and excited!!

4:45 p.m.: After the big game, Gwen rushes in to Belk for one last try at finding an outfit. She snags a blue sweater, dark jeans and a necklace (on sale for 5 bucks!). All that’s left to do is go home and worry a little more.


8:30 a.m. Sunday: Shannon spends more time on her hair and makeup than she did on her wedding day. She sees her husband’s nose hair trimmers and wonders if she needs to use them. What the heck. She wonders if it’s too late for botox.

11:08 a.m.: Shannon arrives at Gwen’s house. Gwen is in a cleaning frenzy. The place smells like a mixture of Pledge and coffee. Both think they might require upset stomach aids. Gwen notes that surely this can’t be harder than childbirth. Can it?

carley2.JPG11:48 a.m.: The KNWA truck pulls up outside. There’s enough nervous energy in the room to launch a shuttle. Gwen opens the door and the two immediately relax after meeting Carley and the camera guy, Steven. They tense back up when they realize they’ll be interviewed separately, like two perps. They prefer discussing the website together, telepathically helping each other out if the other one has a brain blip.

12:02 p.m.: Gwen goes first. She feels like she held her breath for the duration of the event but somehow survived it.

12:12: p.m.: It’s Shannon’s turn. She flubs a few times so KNWA will have fodder for their blooper reel.


12:49 p.m.: The KNWA truck drives away and the two moms collapse. They discuss a celebratory lunch. Until …

12:57 p.m.: Gwen’s husband busts in the garage door with a pale 4-year-old who just fell victim to the dreaded stomach bug in the restroom of a nearby pizza restaurant. Traumatized husband is nearly as pale as the kid.

12:58 p.m.: Shannon and Gwen realize their hour in the limelight is over, and it’s time to get back to their 24-hour job: mothering.

10 p.m.: The Motherlode mamas, in their own respective living rooms, cringe as they see — and hear — themselves on television (which, by the way, really does seem to add 10 pounds). After the minute-thirty segment ends, they immediately jump on the phone to discuss the subtle nuances of the content and their delivery. They agree they’re happy with how Carley and Steven managed to get so much information into such a short piece.

10:30 p.m.: Time to decompress.


Doc Talk: Doctors Answer Moms’ Frequently Asked Questions


morganm2.jpgToday marks the second installment of a new weekly feature on “Doc Talk” is a video podcasting Q&A feature that allows us to take you with us on a virtual doctor’s visit. We’ll ask the questions moms want to know, and doctors from Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas will provide the answers. Just click on the “video podcast” icon below and a window will open prompting you to click the “play” arrow. We hope you’ll find the new feature informative and helpful. Just be sure to talk with your own doctor before following any advice you read online.

Q: How do you perform the Heimlich on a choking toddler? video12.jpg

A: (Click the icon at right to see Megan Morgan’s answer to this question.)

Megan Morgan, pictured above, is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Mercy Physicians Plaza in Rogers, just off Interstate 540. To hear more about Megan’s training and background, click on her photo to watch her video podcast bio. To contact her office, call 479-464-7171.

logo_mercy.gif does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Lucky Bella Vista mom wins tickets to see Stellaluna performance!

stellaluna_image12.jpgRobyn Jamison, mother of three in Bella Vista, is the thrilled winner of four tickets to see the musical adaptation of the lovable children’s book, Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon. She’ll also receive a gift certificate to Jose’s Mexican Restaurant on Dickson Street.

“Laurie’s going to be so mad that she told me about this and I won!” she joked.

Robyn, an Arkansas native who’s lived in NWA for nine years, said she first checked out after friend Laurie Marshall sent her a link about the Stellaluna giveaway. The stay-at-home mom of two sons, ages 11 and 3, and a 7-month-old daughter, then sent on the information to a group of friends in her Mothers of Preschoolers group (locate a group in your city at

Robyn, formerly a proposal writer at the University of Arkansas, was very complimentary of nwaMotherlode, saying it’s easy to navigate and “is very well done.”

“For those of us who get a lot of our news online, this is a nice way to receive that information,” she said. “When you’re home [with kids] like I am, it’s easy to feel isolated.”

We’re glad we can help you feel connected to other moms just like you, Robyn! Gwen and I definitely want this to be a place where moms can interact, have a laugh and learn a little something new along the way.

Robyn said she expects to attend the play with her husband, Mark, a “computer geek” who works at IBM, and their two youngest children.

Just a reminder: tickets range in price from $10-16 and can be purchased by calling the Walton Arts Center Box Office at 479-443-5600 or visiting

Devotion in Motion: “The Day the Wheels Came Off”

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, the Country Preacher Dad

When you teach middle school kids, some days they act so goofy you just want to throw in the towel. But other times they do something so wonderful that you remember it for the rest of your life. This is the story of one of those very good times.

One morning, about 15 years ago, I was standing hall duty with my dear friend and mentor, Mrs. Marian Sistrunk. Our early morning visiting was interrupted by Eric, a young student who was born with Down Syndrome. Instead of being his usual neat and happy self, his hair was disheveled and he was sobbing uncontrollably. Marian said, “Eric, my goodness! What in the world is wrong!”

Between sobs and gasping for breath, Eric explained. “Two,” he said. He held up two fingers. “One, Wheatie.” He held up his index finger.

eric-closeup.jpgAfter some repetition and some thinking, Marian and I pieced together what Eric was trying to tell us. Two boys had teased him on the school bus. They had hit him and roughed him up and made him cry. One of the boys was called “Wheatie”.

A few minutes later, from across the hall, I could hear Mrs. Sistrunk lecturing her class of 5th graders. She said, “Boys and girls, Eric is a very special person at our school and we all love him. He never hurts anyone, and he is always good. Under no circumstances will anyone ever mistreat Eric!”

Then I witnessed something I’ve never seen before or since. News of Eric’s mistreatment traveled down the hall, and a tide of righteous indignation traveled with it from classroom to classroom. The students were furious. The thing was torn. The fertilizer had slapped the whirling blades. The wheels had come off. The children were knitted together by anger to fight a holy crusade. The innocent had been wronged, the guilty were going to pay, and Eric was never going to be mistreated again.

And that, my friends, is exactly what happened. Little kids spoke with the offenders and told them that everybody loved Eric at Lake Middle School, and that he was not to be mistreated. Older children pointed out to the bullies just how lame it is to pick on someone who can’t defend himself. A group of boys in the 8th grade (the kind who are already 6 feet and 185 pounds) had a friendly meeting with Wheatie and suggested that, if the duo ever wanted to beat up somebody again, to come and pick on them. And that fixed it. The two never bothered Eric again. What is better, as far as I know, nobody ever bothered Eric again.

The prophet Isaiah gives us some tall orders in today’s text. “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Dear mamas, remember this week that Christianity is a religion of peace, but it is not always peaceful.

Sometimes doing God’s will involves fighting—especially when we are fighting for those who cannot help themselves. Look around this week. See who needs your help. Then “fight the good fight of the faith” on their behalf!

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Susan always brings our birthday cakes, made by Eric’s mama). You should write him at

The Rockwood Files: Sibling Rivalry Turns Civilized

By Gwen Rockwood, syndicated columnist and mother of 3

Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I wonder if, instead of the usual jeans and t-shirt “mom uniform” I put on to make breakfast, it should be a black and white striped referee shirt. Because on boxinggloves.jpgsome days, as soon as the first cup of juice is poured, the arguments begin. When there are three siblings – ages 7, 4, and 2 crowding around the table – there’s always some bickering to contend with. There are times I find myself yelling “Do not sit on your brother’s head!” way too often in the course of a week.

But lately I’ve noticed a change – an encouraging one. Sure, there are still a few knock-down-drag-out fights to break up now and then. But more and more often, the kids are not only avoiding a fight, they’re playing together – real, honest-to-goodness sibling interaction punctuated by giggles, laughter and the phrase “Wanna play again?”

It’s music to a mother’s ears, to see that the kids she loves so much are beginning to show signs of loving each other, too. The day goes along smoother now that they’re mature enough to work things out on their own – negotiate, compromise and even comfort one another.

As I write these words on a Tuesday morning, my 4 and 2-year-olds are playing peacefully in the floor together and I’m working and glancing over at the round-the-clock television coverage of the inauguration in Washington, D.C. It seems our house is not the only place where cooperation is the theme of the day. For the first time in a long while, it feels like people in the nation’s capital – and people all over the country – are realizing we’re all on the same team. Despite the inevitable disagreements over how to do things, people seem to be coming home to the idea that we’re all in this thing together.

It’s amazing, really. The change of power that is so often violent and bloody in some countries is completely different in our own. Not only is it civil, it’s also grand, reverent and downright cordial. It seems to set the tone for how we hope the next four years will go.

But experience and reality tell us there will most certainly be some fights – like the one popping up right now between my preschooler and toddler. (They both want the same Kung Fu Panda book, and things are starting to get a little ugly.) Disagreements aren’t all bad, though. Families and this country are defined, in part, by our ability to have vigorous debates and yet still work together for the common good.

Perhaps part of our President’s job is to be the parental figure in the midst of brothers and sisters squabbling about what they want – to be the calm, steady voice that says “Enough! Go find a way to work things out.” When passions run high about the myriad of national and global issues we face, we need someone full of conviction and compassion who can see past the arguments to the progress waiting on the other side. Someone who’s less interested in backing a certain side or group of people and more interested in the well-being of the family as a whole. I sure hope President Obama is that person. We need that right now. And I pray that the legislators, leaders and citizens around him will stay in the spirit of maturity, cooperation and hope that permeates Inauguration Day.

Here’s to the next four years – to high hopes that my family and yours live in health and harmony and that this nation of ours finds its way back to better days. Godspeed.

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