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Four Siblings Find a Home for the Holidays

Jeremy and LaShandra Cheuvront have a lot to be thankful for this season.

Last year, the St. Louis area couple celebrated the holidays with one another and their two dogs. This year, their house is much fuller – both with people and with love. Thanks to a partnership between Jefferson County Children’s Division and the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, the Cheuvronts are ringing in the holidays with their four children – 13-year-old Autumn, 12-year-old Amber, 9-year-old Angie and 7-year-old John – siblings they adopted in August. Siblings that for the past two Christmases had no permanent home.

In February, although they had never met them and knew little about them, the Cheuvronts welcomed the children into their home. Six months later, the siblings became permanent Cheuvronts through adoption – a wish come true for Jeremy and LaShandra Cheuvront.

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A Healthy Way to Kill Time

I love pulling out of the driveway headed for a long road trip – there’s such a lovely illusion of abandoning all my work and worries for the duration of the drive (in the case of our Thanksgiving trip, 14 hours). But I’m just as over-connected as the next mom, and I usually wind up checking my e-mails in the car. Or searching out apps for my Droid, something I never have time for in day-to-day life. I could easily have spent all 14 hours this way. Unfortunately, Nebraska is not particularly well supplied with 3G networks!

Before I lost coverage, I made a find that will come in handy when my kids are killing time back in St. Louis. Apps for Healthy Kids showcases winning entries in a U.S. Department of Agriculture contest to develop tools and games that teach kids about healthy eating and/or exercising.

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Bling for Tweens

Finding the perfect holiday gift can be tricky, especially when you’re shopping for a fashion-forward tween.

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Safety Tips for Novice Parents

At a baby shower for a first-time mom over the weekend, my fellow guests got onto the subject of product recalls. The mom-to-be mentioned that her sister-in-law had offered a used stroller, but that it had been recalled due to a problem with the hood and she wasn’t sure whether she should accept it or not. Since the sister-in-law had used it for a good many years without losing one of her fingers to the potentially faulty hood, she wasn’t all that worried about the recall. As it happens, she also has two kids, so she had the wisdom of experience on her side.

It’s not that first-time parents shouldn’t worry about potential dangers to their baby (or, in this case, themselves). But a study done last year found that they are not very good at spotting true risks to in a mock home setup – and they tend to think that their child is smart/coordinated/lucky enough to avoid risks in their own home. Consequently, their risk assessment for their child tends to be all out of whack.

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Hide or Confide a Growing Belly

My friend came to me recently with a dilemma: The opportunity for her dream job opened, but she was four months pregnant.

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Tis the Season to Eat

Cue the carols on the radio — it’s the holiday season. If you’ve been in a store in the past 10 days, you’ll know retailers are not letting us dig to the bottom of our kids’ Halloween bags for those last few Milk Duds before they start tempting us with candy canes and tinned popcorn.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot Thanksgiving. When the average person manages to cram away between 3,000 and 7,000 calories. In one day.

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Is TV Helping or Harming Our Kids

I love TV. In fact, I’ve written posts for this site declaring my love for reality TV junk and pretending I’m BFFs with Sue Sylvester and Pam Beesly-Halpert.

But I’m an adult and have come to grips with my weakness for Glee. When it comes to choosing appropriate shows for my impressionable kiddos, however, the waters become muddied. Am I selecting the right programs? Am I banished to mom purgatory for letting them watch at all so I can get a bathroom break?

A couple of months ago, my colleague, Sharon, wrote a great article on the controversy surrounding the Your Baby Can Read DVDs. Then lo and behold, last week, a national debate began pinning those against the system versus those who swear by its effectiveness. While many parents understand that TV can’t replace human interaction when it comes to teaching our children, they wonder if a middle ground exists.

Dr. Sophia Pierroutsakos, child development expert, associate professor of psychology at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and mother of an 8-year-old and 15-month-old, noted that researchers don’t fully know what the long-term consequences are for toddlers who watch TV, mainly because things like Your Baby Can Read and 24-hour kids’ networks are relatively new phenomena. However, she referred to studies that showed babies from 8 months to 17 months of age who watch TV an hour a day average a 17-point decline on a cognitive and language development scale. Children the same age who are read to every day see a 7-point increase over the average on that same scale.

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I Will Grow Up

Growing up is not exactly a pleasant experience for any of us. Except when it is. Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion, the last installment of his beloved Knuffle Bunny series, captures this double-sided reality perfectly. While comic in a way that is signature Willems, the story is also a touch sad and maybe best read sometime other than bedtime.

Knuffle Bunny Free opens on Trixie’s ever-expanding world. She, her parents and Knuffle Bunny are taking a trip to Holland to visit Trixie’s grandparents. As usual, Knuffle Bunny gets lost – only this time, he winds up much farther away than another neighborhood. He winds up in China.

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I Am Lame According to Toyota

Earlier this summer, I wrote a post about how I love the Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon commercials. I crave them like I do 30 Rock and Modern Family. I think they’re a riot, and they give me a hankerin’ for a minivan.  In fact, I draw hearts and NP + TS on Sienna pictures I rip out from magazines before I tape them in my locker.

Then Toyota rolled out the campaign for the Highlander featuring some snarky little smart aleck, and I hit the brakes on my Toyota girl crush.

Now, I love the Highlander. My dad, Big Al, drives one, and I think it’s fabulous.

What I don’t like is a snide, too-hip-for-the-room elementary schooler talking smack about his parents.

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Refusing to Switch the Skinny Jeans for Mom Jeans

At the end of summer, my friend and I were discussing our fashion needs for fall and mentioned our mutual desire to pick up some skinny jeans. While I didn’t think the skinny jeans/flats combo worked on my body, I was excited to pair them with some knee-high boots I had stuffed away in the closet. All was right in Mommy Land.

However, a couple of days later, my friend went on Facebook and questioned her decision to purchase said skinny jeans. That’s when the floodgates opened and all hell broke loose in Mommy Land. By the responses she received, you would expect my friend to be parading down the street in a Lady Gaga meat dress. Almost all of our fellow mommies rallied against the purchase of the skinny jeans and noted how silly they look on women our age.

Yikes! My friend and I both flew into a tizzy (yes, I said tizzy) which fueled our nonstop skinny jean debate – “Should we buy them? Will we look dumb? Maybe I’ll just purchase a cheap pair from Old Navy and see how they work.”

I know, I know. Stressing over a stupid pair of jeans – it’s ridiculous. But it got me thinking – why can’t a mom still follow fashion trends, within reason, after the baby arrives?

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How Sick Is Too Sick for School

The first rounds of seasonal colds struck our household last week. I try not to be a worrier when it comes to colds, but one son is prone to ear infections and the other to asthma-like breathing problems, so we are no strangers at the doctor’s office.

This time, although our nurse practitioner confirmed that my 7-year-old had indeed brought home a viral cold, there was no ear infection, and she was ambivalent about whether he should stay home from school the rest of the day. That response seemed a little peculiar until I looked into it, and it turns out the medical community is pretty much in agreement that kids are going to get colds, so if they are energetic enough to follow through with the normal school day, a sniffle or a cough need not keep them home.

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Little Picassos in Training

I recently read that Pablo Picasso created one of his most well-known pieces of artwork, The Picador, when he was only 8 years old. He began exhibiting his art at just 15.  While most of us don’t have a child prodigy on our hands, it’s never too early to introduce little ones to art.

One great place to start is the Foundry Art Center in St. Charles. On the third Saturday of the month, little Picassos can get their paintbrushes wet at the Center’s Mini-Masters Preschool Art Classes. Each hour-long program uses stories, instructions and hands-on activities to teach children about art. Every class is different, so kids can show up just for one or take them all. No experience is necessary and all materials are provided. This class is best suited for 3-to-5 year olds. Classes will be held on Saturday, November 20, December 18, January 15 and February 19 from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The cost is $8 per class or $39 for 5 classes for Foundry members and $10 per class or $46 for 5 classes for non-members. Class size is limited, so visit the Foundry’s website or call them at (636) 255-0270 to register.

Celebrate the arts as a family at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ Kids ArtStart program. Held at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the first Saturday of the month, Kids ArtStart is a series of free family events focused on art, dancing, singing, music and theater.

Check out the lineup for the next few months:

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Beating the Sack Lunch Blues

My 7-year-old brings his lunch to school. Every. Single. Day.  Which wouldn’t be so bad except for two things: 1. He’s vegetarian. 2. His school is a tree-nut-free zone. This puts some serious crimps into my protein options. And he apparently treats his lunch like a beanbag – the day I sent a banana, it came home so disgustingly mushy that I promptly tossed the bag into the washing machine. His excuse? “Michael sat on my lunch.” Hmmm.

At the start of the school year I’m gung ho about packing lunches, but two months in, my enthusiasm is long gone. So I sent out a request for help in spicing up my repertoire via e-mail to Leah Hammel, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer at Studio Element in Clayton.

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New Crisis Hotline Is Already Helping Local Teens

The new St. Louis County Youth Connection Helpline – which just started answering the phones on Oct. 7 – is already impacting teens’ lives. It’s a noteworthy start for a unique project.

“We went live a couple of weeks ago, and already we’ve gotten several crisis calls,” said Julie Russell, director of programs and performance at the St. Louis County Children's Service Fund, which pays for the Helpline. “There’s been a lot of need for shelter services for youth and teens.”

Those calling the Helpline at 314-628-2929 or 877-928-2929 may not realize it, but they are getting in touch with a very innovative service. Russell explained that four factors make the Helpline the first of its kind in the country:

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Things to Do

Splash & Play at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center
Monday, June 24, 2024
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Monday, July 1, 2024

Kids ages 0-5 can splash and play in the leisure pool at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center during Splash & Play sessions. Splash & Play is held every Monday and Wednesday in the summer through August 7. Older children, ages 6-1, are welcome when they are accompanied by an adult and a child age 0-5.

 

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