The Rockwood Files: A tough decision

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Today Tom and I faced the moment we’ve both dreaded for weeks now. We took our sweet blonde dog, Holly, to the vet’s office, and we came home without her. She was 14 – or 98 in dog years – and she was like sunshine in a dog’s body. Part of me desperately wanted the vet to talk us out of it, to say there was something else we could try that would give her back the quality of life she deserved. But she didn’t. She said it was time, that she would make the same decision if it were her own sweet dog.

Still, the reassurance didn’t make it any less gut-wrenching as I sat next to her on the floor, holding her head in my lap as she licked Tom’s hand for the last time and we told her over and over again that she was a good girl. Right now I am equal parts devastated by what we have done and certain it was the right thing to do.

So to honor her and to give myself time to tend a broken heart, I’m reprinting the following column I wrote four years ago on a happier day. I hope it’ll make you smile and remind you to hug your dog.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw our dogs, Holly and E.J., lying on the deck in a patch of sunlight. Sprawled out alongside each other, the curve of their backs fit together like puzzle pieces. I tapped on the glass, and their sleepy heads jerked up as I opened the window. They scrambled toward me, knowing that if the kitchen window opened then surely a leftover was about to come flying out. I tossed them the leftover crusts of toast that 3-year-old Jack refused to eat at breakfast.

Holly jumped up to catch the airborne bread, landing with a thud and a grunt. E.J. let his piece bounce off his nose and then shuffled toward it, wondering if a dry piece of toast was really worth this much effort. Watching them move slowly and stiffly in the cool morning air made me silently admit something no dog lover wants to think about. They are getting older, slower, greyer. And no matter how much or how well we love them, dogs don’t live forever.

I walked outside to give them a long overdue scratch behind the ears. They welcomed me warmly and seemed to hold no grudge that I hadn’t had as much time for visits these past few years while I’ve been busy raising kids. They bumped against my legs, licked my hands and fidgeted excitedly at the sound of my voice. In dog years, Holly and E.J. are in their seventies – not ancient by any means but they definitely qualify for the senior citizen discount. A stray and a shelter adoptee, they’re both the most popular breed of dog there is, which is part Labrador, part who-knows. What they lack in pedigree they make up for in personality.

I stroked the thick golden hair on Holly’s back and came away holding a few tufts of it that seem to shed every time I touch her. She smiled her wide, toothy smile and wriggled into me, asking for more. Despite her age, she still has a puppy’s heart. Eleven years ago, just days after adopting her, we watched her sprint playfully around our living room. Then she would suddenly fall to the floor, close her eyes and her plump little body would rapidly heave up and down while she caught her breath. After a minute or two on the floor, she’d pop back up and continue her romp as if nothing had happened. Five minutes later, she’d collapse again. We were afraid she had a seizure disorder, but she was fine. She just loved playing so much that she’d do it until she literally dropped.

Eager for his turn, E.J. scooched Holly aside. He put his black head in my hands, and I brought my nose to his. I noticed all the silver hairs that have begun to frame his eyes, making him look like a distinguished old man. It’s a nice addition because E.J. has always been what I call “cosmetically challenged.” A stray found roaming on a golf course, E.J. had what must have been a terrible puppyhood. When we brought him home, he had only one ear (hence the name Earless Joe, or E.J. for short.) The other ear had been cruelly cut off by someone who will one day have a special spot in hell, if you ask me. The skin around his eyes was damaged, and, for the first six months we knew him, his tail stayed tucked firmly between his legs. With time and love, his tail found the courage to rise and eventually even wag.

But he still battles the demons of his past. When a repairman came to the house last week, E.J. glued himself to my legs and hid his scarred face behind my knees. I could feel him trembling, as this unfamiliar man stirred up memories of abuse. Even in his old age, E.J. is still shy, vulnerable and afraid. And I indulge him because he deserves a mama who will protect him.

I felt guilty sitting there with the dogs, knowing I owe them an apology. I swore nothing would change when we had kids and that the dogs would get just as much attention as before. But the past six years have seen the addition of one, two and now three kids into the house. And with each child, the dogs have accepted a number of downgrades – from sleeping in our bed to sleeping on an old blanket in the garage, from special doggie treats to scraps of toast and chicken nuggets left behind by the kids. And time – well, there’s just never enough of it. Yet they love us as much as they ever did – even more.

So I gave them an extra belly rub and they trotted off to intimidate squirrels and patrol the yard’s perimeter. And I went inside, hoping they’ll continue to be blessed with good health so we can continue to be blessed by them.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

On Your Mind: Do you spank?

By Allie Hennis, Director of Therapeutic Foster Care, Ozark Guidance

What’s the big deal about spanking anyway?

We tend to say to ourselves, “Well, I was spanked and I turned out okay didn’t I?”  However, have you ever stopped to think about what you may have learned from spankings? While you may have learned not to do that certain behavior that precipitated your spanking, I’ll bet you learned other things you were not aware of.

Spanking can have hidden messages. Physical punishment can teach children that the use of force is a way to solve problems and conflicts. Children also learn that it is okay to use force if you are bigger; therefore, sending the message that it is okay to hit smaller children or use violence to get what you want. The truth of the matter is that research in child development indicates that spanking is rarely effective in stopping behavior over long periods of time.

So here are some suggestions for effective discipline and to help children to feel good about themselves:

  • Teach positive behaviors through your behaviors-children watch us more than they listen to us,
  • Provide positive consequences for behaviors you want your child to continue,
  • Use nonviolent methods to modify your child’s behavior such as time-out or withholding a reward, and
  • Most importantly, allow time for a positive and trusting relationship to develop with your child.

Remember that the word discipline means to teach.  By nature, children want to please adults; we just have to teach them how. Happy parenting!

For more information about mental health and wellness log onto the Ozark Guidance web site at www.ozarkguidance.org or call 750-2020.  If you would like a Mental Wellness Awareness lapel pin, call 695-1240 and ask to speak with Staci or Jane.

Mamas on Magic 107.9, now on Friday mornings!

We know moms are good at taking care of other people. But how good are you at taking care of yourself? This morning when we drop by Magic 107.9 to chat with radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland, we’ll talk about “Mama Maintenance 101.” It’s a special check-up, just for moms. We’ll start at the head and work our way down from there. Tune in between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to join the discussion.

We’ll talk about things like stress, thyroid conditions, heart attack symptoms in women, and we’ll review the most important tests for women to have to make sure we stay healthy for ourselves and our families.

Here’s a list of links to articles we’ll be discussing on the air today. Click on the title of each article to get more information.

 

Mamas @ Magic 107.9 on … Fridays now!

If you’re used to listening to the mamas on Magic 107.9 on Thursdays, we want to let you know that we now have a new radio day! We’ll be there on Fridays now, between 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., so tune in at that time. Click on the Magic 107.9 ad (located in the right-hand column) to listen live on your computer. If there’s a topic you’d like to hear discussed on the air, send a note to us at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

5 Minutes with a Mom: Lesya Morrison

Name: Lesya Morrison

Son’s name and age? Austin, 3

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA? I am originally from Magnolia, AR/Little Rock, AR.  I have lived in NWA for about 7 years now and absolutely love it here!!

Tell us about your job: I am a Designer at The Benchmark Group in Rogers, AR

What’s your favorite kind of music right now? I like a little bit of everything, but my fave right now is Adele.

Don’t you live in a musical family? My husband is a phenomenal drummer, and my son seems to be following in his footsteps (he got a drum set for Christmas!!).  It is definitely something that runs on my husband’s side of the family, I do not have a musical bone in my body!!

What’s one of the cutest stories you’re telling about your son right now? The story that sticks out would have to be from the night I got my Black Belt in Taekwondo, he cheered me on during the whole thing!!  When I got called up to receive my black belt all I could hear was “YAY Mommy!!  You did Hi-Ya!!”

What are your personal hobbies? My personal hobbies are Taekwondo, reading, selling Scentsy products, and anything that involves my family.

If you could have a second home anywhere in the world where would it be? I haven’t been very many places in my life, but out of the places I have seen, I would have to say Islamorada, FL.  That place is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Where was the last place you traveled? Islamorada, FL.  It was my first long trip with my son and we drove all the way.  ALL 24 HOURS (there and back)!! I have to say that he did better than anyone else in the car!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? I have always wanted to learn to dance, I am the biggest klutz!!! Learning some of the dances like you see on shows like Dancing with the Stars would be a lot of fun.

What’s something fun you’ve been doing lately? I recently started selling Scentsy products and love it!!  It is a lot of fun and I have met some amazing people along the way!

What three things do you always have with you? I always have my cell phone, debit card, and Cherry Chapstick!

How do you unwind at the end of the day? After Austin goes to sleep I like to sit and talk and watch some TV with my husband Shane, it is always nice to sit down and catch up with how our days went.

One word to sum me up … Happy

Military Mama: Happy Trails

By Jade Stone

Hopefully, if you are reading this, you at least have power and aren’t completely underwater! My prayers are certainly with those fighting that battle this week. Thank Heavens we are ok and don’t have water seeping in anywhere or we might have been out of luck. Jay left this past Friday for WLC School (Warrior Leadership) and I don’t know that much about sand bags!

Speaking of Jay, do you know anyone who just doesn’t have any luck when it comes to traveling? Well, that would be my dear Hubbie! I love to travel! I love the excitement of pulling out a roadmap and plotting our route, climbing on a plane and then figuring out the adventure of where the connecting flight is and even the nerve-racking ordeal of securing transportation to and from where-ever.

I know, people that do this every day don’t quite see it the same way but I don’t get to do this often so I really look forward to the trip! Well, I at least look forward to it when it’s me. But when it’s Jay, that’s a whole other story!

Jay was told 3 months ago that we would be attending a school in Nebraska beginning April 22nd and would need to get more information about it before leaving. So, he called each week with no response and even tried to get help with the particulars during the last drill however, everyone was too busy to help. So Monday last week, we still do not have orders (so that he is excused from work), or travel and lodging info. Nor do we have any information about what he should pack or documents he needs to take.

After several panicky phone calls back and forth to his unit, he finally nails down a plane ticket but still knows nothing of what to take. So he begins packing his uniforms and PT clothes. I manage to get him to the airport around 10:45 for his 11:45 flight but then realize on the way home, he hasn’t been told where to go or how to get there when the plane lands. I spent the rest of the afternoon running down a point of contact for him only to find out that he was given the wrong information in terms of which airport to go to and that there is a huge packing list that in fact he should have been given.

At this point, I am fit to be tied. As soon as Jay lands in Minnesota for the short layover I give him the information I now have. Somehow, certainly through the grace of God and by no help from anyone else, we manage to get him routed to Omaha so that the Army base will then transport him to camp Ashland. I knew it was all too good to be true, to think he might actually make it there in one piece…well physically he did but the airline managed to lose his bag with all the uniforms in it so that now he has absolutely nothing.  So now, we are both pretty sure that since he is completely unprepared they will surely send him home.

Needless to say, the officers there were less than thrilled that his unit sent a soldier up without preparing him. But, out of the goodness of their hearts they opted to issue him what he needed to get through the school and by 10:00pm Delta managed to deliver his lost bag to the base. Whew, what a day! It seems I will, in fact, be able to rest easy…at least until the return home!

So, now it’s just Jess and me for another couple of weeks until Jay gets home and as long as the rain is done for a little while, we should be just fine!

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at akajadestone@yahoo.com. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.

Beauty Buzz: Foul-weather beauty tips

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor

I cannot believe it is still raining and since there doesn’t seem to be a break in the forecast anytime soon, I have decided to embrace our soggy fate and try some foul weather beauty techniques.

First, and probably obvious, is waterproof mascara. Unless you suffer from watery eyes like me, you may have shied away from waterproof mascara in the past, but it really can be a lifesaver, or at least a photo-op saver. I’ve tried just about every brand and have found that Maybelline, in any of their great lines, has fared the best. This is the perfect time to try it out also since you can use it when you go to the pool this summer, or visit the lake that is probably forming in your backyard at this point.

If you ever made your own paste as a kid using flour and water, you can probably guess that water and powder are not going to make an attractive combination on your face.

Swap your heavy foundation and powder for some tinted moisturizer and cream blush. If you don’t have either and you are optimistic that the rain will pass soon, try mixing your foundation and moisturizer in the palm of your hand to lighten it up.

Same idea with the blush—use an old makeup brush dipped lightly in moisturizer to dust on your powder blush in circular motions. Tip: you may need to use your fingertips to smooth out the edges since cream blush can be a little tricky at first.

Good luck, stay dry and I’ll see you on the Ark!

Have a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama? Andi welcomes your questions and feedback to Beauty Buzz. E-mail her at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

Giveaway: April Showers Giveaway!

 

All the rainy weather has inspired a new giveaway here on nwaMotherlode. It’s the “April Showers Bring May Flowers” giveaway, and we’ll begin this week with a shower-related giveaway. (Can you guess what might be coming next week?) The kind of showers we mamas know most about is the “baby shower” variety. We’ve been to tons of baby showers, and we still love ‘em. It’s always fun to celebrate a new baby. Whether it’s the mother’s first baby or fifth, she always needs at least a few things for the newest member of the family.

Our April Showers giveaway includes gift cards at some of our favorite places in Northwest Arkansas to shop for baby gifts — The Baby’s Room & Kids Quarters in Rogers, B LaRue in Bentonville and Rogers, and Two Chic in Fayetteville. We asked each of the store owners to tell us about some of their newest or most popular baby items as well as some brand new items that haven’t even hit shelves yet but are coming soon.

So if you’re pregnant or you’ll be attending any baby showers this year, pay attention to the list of products featured here so you’ll have ideas when you go shopping for a gift to take to the baby shower. Each of the stores featured here will be giving away a $50 gift card, so there will be THREE WINNERS for the April Showers giveaway.

Stephanie Adler at The Baby’s Room & Kids Quarters in Rogers knows A LOT about baby stuff. In addition to running the area’s largest baby store, she is also pregnant with her third child and is due in a little more than a month! So she has definitely checked out the latest and greatest baby items on the market. Here are a few that she suggested as great gifts for baby showers:

  • CoCaLo Couture Diaper Bags
  • CoCaLo Couture Mommy Apron
  • My Breast Friend nursing pillow
  • Coming soon: Life Nest positioner

Beth Cook owns B LaRue and has recently expanded her store to two new locations. There’s a location in Village on the Creeks (Suite 1) and one in downtown Bentonville (120 S. Main). The store at Village on the Creeks has tons of cute baby gifts, including Sassy by Earth Brights toys, Piggy Paint and Boon products that make moms’ lives easier. They also monogram all kinds of stuff, including blankets, burp cloths, bibs and shoes. (And there’s plenty of fun stuff for mamas in Sleep Sheep by Cloud bthere, too!) Here are a few of B LaRue’s best-selling baby gifts:

  • Haba toys
  • Oh Plah! teething bracelets
  • Sleep Sheep
  • Bummas cloths

Sharon Boone owns the unique boutique Two Chic in Fayetteville. Not only do they have everything for maternity and nursing needs, they also have a great selection of baby gifts and even jewelry (for the mama)!  BeBe, the manager at Two Chic, said the store has items on hand for before and after baby, even down to the maternity clothes. Two Chic carries a line of clothing called Lilac that can be worn before and after pregnancy. Genius. BeBe said these are some of the hot sellers at Two Chic:

  • Baby Bling pacifiers (by Abbey Hill Creations)
  • Trumpette Socks
  • Hooter Hiders
  • Kalencom diaper bags

HOW  TO ENTER: To throw your name in the hat to win one of these THREE gift cards, just click on the orange comment button below and tell us your favorite gift to bring to a baby shower. Do you go for practical or the ooh-ahh factor? A little bit of both? If you recently had a baby, tell us about something you absolutely adored receiving!

You can also email your comments to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: If you’d like to increase your odds of winning, simply send an email to your friends/family about this giveaway and help us spread the word about our April shower! We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your e-mail so we’ll know about it.

Good luck!

New on nwaMotherlode: Monthly calendar of events!

Not too late! End of April Events!

Ozark Race for the Cure

13th Annual NWA Arkansas affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. 10K/5K/Family Fun Walk. Also Bark for the Cure, Kids for the Cure and Teens for the Cure.

Date: Saturday, April 30

Time: 7:30am

Location: Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall (Rogers)

More Info: www.komenozark.org

Springfest

Springfest is a non-profit event formed by the Dickson Street Merchants, Local Business Owners, and Local Community Members to celebrate the history, culture, and flavor of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Date: Saturday, April 30

Time: 9am

Location: Dickson Street (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.fayettevillespringfest.com

May!

First Fridays – Bentonville

Activities, food and live music for the whole family! Held on the Bentonville square March through November.

Date: Fridays

Time: 11:30am

Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More Info: www.downtownbentonville.org

Fayetteville Farmers’ Market

For the last 37 years, the downtown square market has offered the finest in locally produced vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants, meats, baked goods, honey, eggs, jams, crafts, and  fine art from the NWA area. Each market day is a feast for the eyes, ears and palate, with a riot of color, aromas, and sounds — street performers, tourists, and the residents of Northwest Arkansas visiting with over 60 vendors around the beautiful square gardens.

Date: Saturdays

Time: 7am – 2pm

Location: Downtown Square (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.fayettevillefarmersmarket.org

The Fayetteville Farmers’ Market at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (+ Mill District)

BGO market is open every Sunday morning, rain or shine, May through Oct. 30th, 2011. There are 15-30 vendors offering fresh, local produce, cut flowers, meat, eggs, baked goods and handcrafts in this spacious market. Every Sunday morning the farmers literally “circle the wagons” next to the trail like an old wagon train. The Mill District Market opens Thursday, May 5th,  525 S. School at MLK Blvd., Fayetteville. This market is open every Thursday afternoon, rain or shine, May-Oct. 27th,  2011. The Mill District Market is held in the parking lot next to the Greenhouse Grille.  5-15 vendors offer fresh local produce, & cut flowers.

Date: Sundays, May through October (Mill District Thursdays)

Time: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (Mill District 4-7 p.m.)

Location: BGO (Mill District, MLK Blvd.)

More Info: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market

Step into Spring Concert

The ACO Chorale’s spring concert offers fun and music for the whole family! From Broadway to Bach, from sacred to contemporary, you will love it!

Date: Sunday, May 1

Time: 3pm

Location: Arts Center of the Ozarks (Springdale)

More Info: www.artscenteroftheozarks.org

Little Sprouts

Join the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for a short nature-based activity, weather permitting. Activities include a story, game or a take-home craft. Theme for this week – Getting to Know Our Garden.

Date: Wednesday, May 4

Time: 10am

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets – Kids over 13 are $5, Ages 5-13 are $2.50 and Kiddos under 5 are free. www.bgozarks.org

Faith and Family Night – Arvest Ballpark

Join the Naturals, KLRC, and Sam’s Furniture for a pre-game concert and stay after the game for fireworks!

Date: Friday, May 6

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

More Info: For ticket info, www.nwanaturals.com

Rotary Derby Day – Open Avenues

Enjoy mint juleps, appetizers from NWA chefs, a fashionable hat parade and live music by Shulertown and vote for your favorite horse. Proceeds help support Open Avenues (formerly the Adult Development Center) in Rogers.

Date: May 7th

Time: 3 to 6 p.m.

Location: Open Avenues at 2202 N. 24th St., Rogers

More Info: www.rogersderbyday.com

Kids Workshop – Home Depot

On the first Saturday of each month, the FREE Home Depot Kids Workshops offer useful projects like building toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as window birdhouses, bughouses or a Declaration of Independence frame kit.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 9am – Noon

Location: Your local Home Depot (Fayetteville or Rogers)

More Info: Great for ages 5-12. www.homedepot.com or CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Washington Elementary Annual Tour of Homes

Washington Elementary’s 8th Annual Tour of Homes. Tickets are $20 before the event and $25 the day of the event. Tickets can be purchasd at French Metro Antiques, Downtown Bank of Fayetteville, The Gift House, ClubHaus Fitness, Nightbird Books and Washington’s school office.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: Noon-5 p.m.

Location: Self-guided tour. Visit homes in any order.

For more information: Fayetteville Public Schools site

Root Run

10th Annual 5K and Family Fun Run. Proceeds to help provide teachers grants, help pay for literacy aids, playground improvements and much more.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 8am

Location: Root Elementary School (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.rootrun.com

Buddy Bass Kids Fishing Event

In conjunction with the annual Buddy Bass Fishing tournament — no fishing license required to participate. Free lunch, t-shirts and prizes!

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 9am – 1pm

Location: Prairie Creek Pavilion (Rogers)

More Info: For kids ages 4 – 15. Click here to register.

HRF Battle for Hope

10K/5K/Family Fun Walk to benefit Hope Cancer Resources, providing compassionate, professional cancer support and education in the Northwest Arkansas region today and tomorrow.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 8am

Location: Old Tiger Stadium (Bentonville)

More Info: www.heathersraceforhope.com

Locally Unique – Art Show and Sale

Handcrafted items created by local artists. Find gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation and more!

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 10am – 4pm

Location: Walton Arts Center – Nadine Baum Studios (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.nwaccc.org

Autism Involves Me

2nd Annual 5K and Family Fun Walk to raise awareness and support for NWA families living with autism every day. Hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Autism Support Group.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 8 – 11:30am

Location: Grace Point Church (Bentonville)

More Info: www.aimwalk.org

Teal in the Park Night – Arvest Ballpark

The Arkansas Naturals will be wearing teal game jerseys to help promote mental wellness. During the pregame ceremony, Ozark Guidance will release 500 monarch butterflies to commemorate Mental Health Month.

Date: Saturday, May 7 (Butterflies will be released in a pre-game ceremony at 6:45)

Time: 7pm

Location: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

More Info: For ticket info, www.nwanaturals.com or visit Ozark Guidance to sponsor a butterfly or donate

YMCA Healthy Kids Day

Fun-filled day for kids and families of all ages! Food, prizes and a showcase of healthy and active lifestyles.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 10am – 2pm

Location: NWA YMCA (Rogers)

More Info: www.ymca.net

March for Babies

March for Babies – in conjunction with March of Dimes – raises support and funds for programs in NWA that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. 3 mile charity walk.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Time: 10am

Location: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

More Info: www.marchforbabies.org

Parents’ Night Out

Fundraiser to support Fayetteville Mothers of Preschoolers , which aims to help moms with children younger than school age with relationships and resources.

Date: Friday, May 13 & Saturday, May 14

Time: 6-9pm

Location: Trinity United Methodist Church (Fayetteville)

More Info: Rates – $15 for one child, $20 for two children and $25 for three or more children. Reservations are required and should be made by May 9. www.fayettevillemops.yolasite.com

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem’s PJ Party

Children’s Theater and Music. Put the kids in their pajamas and get ready for kiddo-friendly music, dancing and even milk and cookies!

Date: Friday, May 13

Time: 7pm

Location: Walton Arts Center – Starr Theater (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets – $5. www.waltonartscenter.org

NWA Mini Grand Prix

A full day of mini-racing, food and games for the whole family! Charitable event benefiting local children’s charities. Sponsored by Saatchi & Saatchi X.

Date: Saturday, May 14

Time: 10am

Location: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

More Info: www.thecareinitiative.com

Swimmy, Frederick and Inch by Inch

Children’s Theater and Music. Puppet adaptation of children’s classics, “Swimmy,” “Frederick” and “Inch by Inch.”

Date: Saturday, May 14

Time: 10am

Location: Walton Arts Center – Baum Walker Hall (Fayetteville)

More Info: Best for ages 3-8. Tickets – $8-16. www.waltonartscenter.org

Trail Mix Concert Tour

NWA families are welcome to walk or bike around the trail while five different artists perform on stages powered by pedal or solar power.

Date: Saturday, May 14

Time: 3 – 6pm

Location: Lake Fayetteville Nature Trail (Fayetteville)

More Info: www.waltonartscenter.org/artosphere/trailmix.aspx

Open Avenues Spring Fling – Rogers

Play in the golf tournament on Friday the 20th and then party at the Luau on Saturday the 21st!

Date: May 20-21

Time: Golf Tournament is on Friday; Luau is on Saturday

Location: 2202 N. 24th St., Rogers

More Info: www.openavenues.org

Speedy Skunk Run & Little Stinker Fun Run

10K/5K/1M Walk/Fun Run to benefit Compassion House.

Date: Saturday, May 21

Time: 8am

Location: Prairie Grove Battlefield Park (Prairie Grove)

More Info: www.speedyskunkrun.com

Block Street Block Party

Keep Fayetteville Funky! The party will kick off with a ribbon cutting to recognize the recently completed street renovations on Block Avenue. After that, the street will be blocked off to make room for a diverse lineup of art, music, and other activities. Also in the works are a tie-die booth, a flash mob, hula hooping, puppet shows, African dancers, a Parisian market, face painting for kids, trunk shows, and a Tibetan prayer-flag workshop.

Date: Sunday, May 22

Time: 1 – 8pm

Location: Block Street (Downtown Fayetteville)

More Info: www.facebook.com/blockstreetbusinesses

TPO’s Kindur (Icelandic Sheep)

Children’s Theater and Music. TPO, Italy’s leading children’s theater company will help the audience discover the extraordinary environmental landscape, myths and legends of Iceland.

Date: Saturday, May 28

Time: 10am, 11:30am and 2pm

Location: Walton Arts Center – Baum Walker Hall (Fayetteville)

More Info: Best for ages 4 & up. Tickets – $6. www.waltonartscenter.org

Please let us know if you have any events you’d like to see on nwaMotherlode’s brand new calendar! Email information to calendar@nwaMotherlode.com.

Devotion in Motion: Dr. Luther’s Easter prayer

6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

7 “But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Mark 16:6,7  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

My favorite preacher of all time is Dr. Martin Luther. If you were paying attention in school, you’ll remember that he started the Reformation back in Germany over 500 years ago.

At first glance, that such an ancient author is my favorite constant companion sounds incredible boring. But the writings of Brother Martin fill my heart with spiritual light and unspeakable joy, because his writings are so very real; He is humble and yet profound, deep and yet earthy and humorous. Though he lived so long ago, he understands the blessings and struggles of the Christian life—which are the same now as back then. (Believe it or not, Susan and Spencer have begun to share my love of this pastor after stumbling upon my books—after thinking me to be somewhat of a crackpot for so many years. I’m expecting Seth to jump on the bandwagon next.)

Throughout my adult life, the volumes of Luther have always been on my nightstand, and are my nightly devotional reading before I turn out the light. Susan always says, “You love Martin Luther more than you could every possibly love me.” I always give her the same answer: “Not more, honey.  Just different.” You see, in my estimation, no one understands and expresses the beauty of our faith better than Martin Luther.

Every Easter I find myself at a loss for words—I just don’t have words good enough to express what I feel about what God did for us on that happy resurrection morning. Since I can’t find the words that I need, I’m borrowing them from Martin Luther’s prayer on Easter Sunday, 1533. I hope that his words make you as happy as they make me.  (The formatting and emphasis is mine.)

Almighty God,

Who through the death of Thy Son hast destroyed sin and death,

And through His resurrection hast restored innocence and eternal life

That we, being delivered from the power of the devil,

May live in Thy kingdom,

Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart

And steadfast in this faith, ever praise and thank Thee,

Through Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grant, dear Lord God,

That the blessed Day of Thy holy advent may come soon,

So that we may be redeemed

From this bad, wicked world

(The devil’s dominion)

And freed from the terrible plague that we must suffer

From without and within

(From wicked people and our own conscience.)

Do Thou dispatch this old maggot sack

That we may finally get a different body,

Which is not full of sin,

Inclined to unchasteness and to everything evil

(As this present one is)

But one that is redeemed from all bodily and spiritual misery

And made like unto Thy glorious body, dear Lord Jesus Christ,

That we may at last come to our glorious redemption.

Amen.

(From our house to your house, have a wonderful Easter. Take time to feel the joy. Jesus Christ is risen, indeed! Allelujah!)

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the children of the congregation will be hunting eggs at Mr. Pic’s house after the  potluck dinner—as they do every Easter Sunday.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to jcash@scott.k12.ms.us.

The Rockwood Files: The demise of decency

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

What I’m about to say is going to make me sound ancient and utterly un-hip. But here goes: When it comes to fashion, decency is nearly dead. It’s just a couple of shorty-shorts away from a total flat-line.

I know fashion is subjective and one person’s idea of “sexy” might be another person’s idea of “vulgar”. And fashion will always try to push boundaries. I get it. What bothers me, both as a woman and a mother, is how often we’re seeing fashion jump the boundaries altogether and end up in the ditch.

In the past couple of months, I’ve taken a few out-of-state trips that gave me the chance to hit two huge shopping malls. These mega-sized malls not only help you get a pulse on current trends, it’s also the perfect place to people-watch. I walked into one store I’d never been into before and quickly realized I was at least a decade too old to be there. The style was definitely aimed at a teenage audience. As I made a U-turn to leave, a pair of shorts caught my eye and I stopped to stare. I picked them up to make sure they actually were shorts because they were so tiny, so barely there, they seemed more like white denim panties fraying along the edges.

I saw at least a handful of girls – most in their teens and twenties – wearing shorts like that, pairing them with a tank top and platform, dominatrix high heels. And these girls weren’t prowling around a nightclub. They were in the mall food court. I saw one at the movie theater for a 7 o’clock show with her date. Every time I spot one, I’m a little stunned because these are the kinds of clothes people used to see only on women working street corners in bad parts of town. Whether they’d ever admit it or not, lots of today’s fashion designers are churning out what can only be called “hooker chic”.

Before I get called a preachy old prude, let me say that I like clothes that fit. There’s nothing wrong with clothes that flatter a woman’s figure and make a man’s eyes get just a little bit wider when she crosses the room. But there’s a line between sexy and skanky. On one side of that line, you’re alluring. On the other, you’re just plain offensive.

Why haven’t women noticed how lopsided this trend is? Boys’ and men’s clothes aren’t all about the size or outline of their various body parts. Men would never go for that. But somehow, women have let fashion designers tell us that tawdry is trendy and smutty is sexy. No matter what label is on it or what celebrity wears it, tawdry and smutty are still exactly that. Always will be.

What scares me most is what this trend may mean for girls so anxious to wear the “in” thing – as almost all normal teenage girls are. A young woman who just wants the end-of-date kiss can end up in a dangerous position if she’s with a guy who’s convinced – by the booty-grazing shorts and the mostly sheer shirt – that she must want a lot more than that because she has dressed the part. Assault is never okay for any reason and is certainly never the fault of the woman, no matter how she has dressed. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we let girls grow up believing appearance and presentation could never put you more at risk of violence.

Whether it’s an Italian business suit or a skimpy tube top, clothes send messages. People listen.

Parents and women need to use our purchasing power to convince the fashion industry that elegance and grace still have a place on the rack and that “hooker chic” is officially out.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

Inside His Head: BF is overwhelmed by my kids

Dear Dads,

I have two children (7 girl and 5 boy) and I’m dating a man that I could imagine marrying. He’s kind and considerate, but he sometimes seems overwhelmed by my kids. Is this a red flag or should I give it more time?

GRAY: Heck, I know a lot of people who are overwhelmed by one child, and it’s actually their own. Going from zero to two, both at an age demanding attention, might be enough to give any sane person second thoughts.

Are your children always an afterthought to him or does he continually make plans that include them? Do you think he simply tolerates them so he can spend time with you or is it clear he’s in love with your family too? Watch to see if he’s getting better or worse with your kids. If he’s increasingly intolerant, well, maybe it’s time to have second thoughts about wedding bells, but if there’s always a little bit more of a connection and more of an anticipation then I’d put fears aside.

It’s easy to forget how relatively easy we have it when it comes to learning how to care for children. At first we simply have to change diapers, feed them and learn how to live without sleeping, but as babies grow up the problems grow up too. Anyone without kids, regardless of how frequently they may have been around other people’s children, just doesn’t know all the things we’ve learned over the years. Give him time, but he may always be a little overwhelmed. I’ve got a five-year-old and I still feel overwhelmed occasionally.

And don’t discount how your children view him. I’m often surprised by how keen an eye kids can have. It could be your best answer may lie with them and how they feel. Listen to your heart and theirs. Cliche though that may be, it often yields the correct answer.

MAVERICK: If the guy doesn’t have kids of his own, or isn’t one of 10 siblings, I would be more concerned if he was too chummy with your children.

Kids are tough for a lot of guys to handle in general, add to this that they’re kids of a woman that he has feelings for, that he might end up as their step-dad one day, and it gets complicated and overwhelming for most of us.

He likely needs to just get used to your kids and learn the ropes regarding their age levels and interests. This isn’t something most guy even vaguely have a plan for. We’re likely more mentally prepared for our girlfriend to be a time-traveling robot from the future or an assassin named after a poisonous snake, who’s out to get a guy named Bill. We’re not women. We simply don’t spend any time thinking about this sort of situation until we’re thrown into it. Then we sink or swim.

The only red flags I could see is if the reason he’s feeling “overwhelmed” is less to do with your kids and more to do with how you parent.

If he clearly is bugged by say, their lack of discipline, or if they talk back to you, or how they treat others, or if you seem overindulgent, this could be a pretty clear indication you’ll have really conflicting parenting styles and that is indeed a red flag.

Ratchet down the pressure. Just hang out together in casual situations. Don’t force him into road trips or ask him to plan a birthday party and you soon should be able to more clearly judge how he’s gonna mix with your family.

Bottom line is he must mix and mix well. If you have ANY reservations after plenty of exposure, save yourself and your kids and him some grief and heartache and send him on his way.

Techno Mama: Email tips for the modern girl

By Sarah Martin Hood

Sadly, handwritten letters are a dying art. Email is king. Or, around here, QUEEN. Email is how we schedule playdates and appointments with the pediatrician. It’s how we get reminders from daycare about upcoming fundraisers or vacation days. A lot of Mamas are literally carrying email around in their pockets these days — and most consider it a quick, efficient tool.

But are you getting the most out of your email account? Here are a few quick tips to get you pointed toward a more fruitful relationship with your inbox:

  • Use folders (or labels or files or stars or whatever your email service calls them). I have used Gmail for years and only recently started using the “labels” feature. IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. I have no idea why I resisted for so long, but I wish I’d started doing this ages ago. I use my inbox as a “to do” list, and I used to leave emails in there until I’d acted on them. But they would pile up and I’d just get irritated with myself for getting behind. So now I’ve started filing things with a system of “Urgent”, “Later”, “FYI”, etc. It has really helped. I have a whole folder of “Stuff I Want to Read”. And I’m actually reading the articles in there! Before, they might have sat unread for months!
  • Use mailing lists. Are there groups of people you email repeatedly? Your family? Other parents on the soccer team? Your small group at church? Make a list of these people so you don’t have to type in each address each time. This will save you tons of time. And there’s even a new tool out there that can help. Fiesta.cc is a website that will help you manage the lists.

Check out their website for more info, but you can see how simple it is — 3 steps. The service is free, you don’t have to sign up for anything, and as the official site explains:

Create a list called family@fiesta.cc for your entire family, or soccer@fiesta.cc for your soccer team… List names don’t have to be unique: fiesta.cc uses your email address to figure out which list to send to. That means you and your friend can each have your own list called family@fiesta.cc, and fiesta.cc will never get them confused.

  • Read the book. I’m big on this. I have instruction manuals for every last thing in my house – big and small, electronics to baby equipment. AND I’ve read most of them. My Dad instilled this in me as a kid, “read the book when you get a new toy or gadget — you will be shocked at everything it can do!” So do some reading about your particular email service. Try Googling “Gmail tips” or “Yahoo email tricks”. You will be shocked at what’s out there.
  • Check your spam folder before you click “Empty”. Spam filters are good – sometimes too good. Always take a quick glance through your spam folder before you hit “delete all”. You never know what might be caught in there. I’ve found everything from online shopping receipts to emails from my family in there — you’d hate to miss out on something because your email is trying to protect you!

Happy emailing!

Sarah would love to hear from you with questions or feedback regarding gadgets, technology, or blogging. You can also stop by Sarah’s personal blog, Musings of Mother Hood to say hello or follow her on Twitter @sarahmcow. To read previous installments of Techno Mama, click here!

Mamas on Magic 107.9 Thursday mornings

It’s that time of year, mamas. Kids and college students are busy preparing for end-of-school tests and final exams. Our own kids, who are in elementary school, just finished a week’s worth of standardized testing.

If your kid tends to get uptight about taking tests, we’ll help tackle that issue when we stop by Magic 107.9 Thursday morning to chat with hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland about test anxiety.

Tune in between 7:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. to take our “pop quiz” on the best ways to combat test anxiety as well as specific things to do the day before and the day of the test. Click on the graphic at right to listen to the radio live on your computer.

Click on each title below to read more on each article:

 

 

 

Life with Ladybug: The seesaw of motherhood

As Ladybug and I were sitting on the stage in the Barnes & Noble children’s section, she asked if we could buy the book we were looking at together. The cheap side of me was all, “Let’s just read the good parts here and we won’t have to buy it”.

We did a few of the fun ideas like sit back to back with your mom and each of you describe what the other is wearing. Mama won that round!

But Ladybug still wanted to bring it home with us to “do more things!”. I finally recognized it for the compliment it was and shelled out the $10.95 for the American Girl book called “Just Mom and Me: The tear-out, punch-out, fill-out book of fun for girls and their moms”.

In a few years she might not care take a quiz about my favorite pizza toppings or come up with “secret signs” that only the two of us know. And the section about “Music we agree on”? Ha!

So, yes, I bought the book.

After we got the book home, the first activity we tried was “at-home spa”. We mixed up some “sugar scrub” (3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons baby oil) then stuck our feet in warm water. After they had soaked for a bit, we scrubbed each others’ feet. She’s a pretty good foot masseuse.

To put it into language she could understand, I told her I’d rather have a foot rub than a chocolate ice cream cone. She was aghast, but rubbed harder. Then we stuck our tootsies in the bathtub and rinsed. (FYI: Hours later, my hands and feet are still baby soft.)

We giggled, we enjoyed each others’ company, we bonded. Buying that book was pure genius. As we pondered together which mom and me activity to do next, I admit to feeling pretty good about the motherin’ thang.

And then we got into a fight about whether or not she could have a Swiss Roll right before dinner. The End.

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