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Keeping Marriage Strong When Bringing Baby Home

As new mothers, most of us have been there. The day we welcome our little ones to our families, we look over at our significant other and think, “Wow, I could never love him more than I do right now.”

Two weeks later, after our third round of middle-of-the-night nursing, we muster all our strength not to throw our breast pump at the snoring lump of husband in our bed.

Having a baby is hard on any couple, especially those experiencing parenthood for the first time. Between the sleeplessness and the financial stress, it’s no wonder that 60 percent of couples experience a drop in relationship quality within three years of a child’s birth.

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Fresh, Healthy and Cheap

I’m going to sound really old here, but my first memories of food co-ops go waaaay back to the ‘70s and ‘80s. The upside was healthy, nutritious (and, for us, exotic) foods like dried papaya and carob chips. The downside was pen-and-paper ordering, tallying and record-keeping. Those poor volunteers, including my mom, really toiled over their calculators at delivery time.

Nowadays, ordering is online and you don’t even have to break out a pen – unless you need to jot a reminder note about your pick-up date and time. The foods are still healthy and nutritious, but the focus has shifted to locally produced wares.

I walked through the sign-up process at Community Helpings Coop a few days ago, and it was so easy that I asked one of the organizers, Tracy Gruener, if I had missed something.

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Cancer Survivor and Mom Celebrates Two Big Milestones

Having a child changes your life. For Karen Higano, giving birth to her son, Connor, actually helped saved her life.

Five years ago, 39-year-old Higano had been in labor for 33 hours when her doctor recommended a Caesarian section. During the surgery, her obstetrician discovered four cysts on her left Fallopian tube. He thought nothing unusual, but removed the cysts and sent them to pathology to be on the safe side.

On the day she left the hospital with her newborn, Higano was hit with the news: ovarian cancer. “When I was diagnosed, I was shocked,” she said. “I knew about breast cancer because my mom was a survivor, but I really had never heard of ovarian cancer.”

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In Vogue, Not in Debt

With cooler weather around the corner, many moms begin thinking of cute fall clothes. However, our kids’ needs come first, leaving little left over for us to update our wardrobes.

So until daycare is free and groceries cost a smile, I needed to figure out how to freshen up my working mom’s attire without breaking out the credit card.

I could be like Marisa from New Dress a Day who uncovers $1 finds at thrift stores and transforms them into runway-worthy designs. But my sewing skills are nil. Really – I make my husband sew on buttons and hem pants.

Or, I could try the Six Items or Less plan, living off six pieces of clothing for one month. But that would necessitate doing laundry more than once a week.

To curb my dilemma, I turned to two St. Louis experts to help me on my quest for cuteness. With their advice and a little extra work on my part, I’m headed on the right track to an affordable wardrobe rework.

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Pounding the Pavement in the Right Shoes

Farewell, flip flops. Sayonara, sandals. Ciao, crocs. My son’s elementary school has a policy against all of them, along with any other footwear that gets in the way of running and playing. I used to think such policies were harsh, back in the days when my 7-year-old was first in preschool. Now that I’m older and wiser (and have seen the scientific studies to support the bans) I see where they’re coming from.

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Be a Part of Mom is Born!

You're invited to participate in the biggest virtual baby shower of the year! The moms at are throwing a baby shower on Wednesday for expectant mom Virginia Kerr of KMOV-TV, and you can watch and participate in the event as it's broadcast live online. The shower benefits the March of Dimes and celebrates the journey into motherhood for Kerr, the anchor of KMOV's early news show Awake.

The two-hour broadcast will focus on every women's transition into motherhood, and we all know that's one of, if not the biggest, milestone in our lives. You'll also hear great parenting tips from experienced moms and learn about new products that make the journey into motherhood easier and more fun. On top of all that, prizes have been donated by the shower sponsors for giveaway that you can win online. Prizes include

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Take a Walk on the Safe Side With Trailnet

When we were little, we’d listen to our parents and grandparents share how they “walked five miles to school in the snow and pouring rain." Today, our kids are shocked when they hear we walked three blocks to school every morning.

Whether school is too far from home in our ever-expanding suburbs, their parents are afraid of them heading to school on their own or, let’s face it, they just don’t want to, kids these days rarely walk or bike to school. However, 10 to 20 minutes of exercise twice a day can have a significant effect on a child’s well-being. According to the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research , middle-school girls can get an additional 13.7 minutes of exercise a day simply by walking to school.

Thankfully, Trailnet, the St. Louis nonprofit which promotes active living, has come to the rescue once again this school year through its participation in the Safe Routes to School national program.

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Yoga for the Wild One

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine mentioned her daughter’s daycare offered yoga lessons. Knowing I’ve done yoga for years, she asked me if I ever considered yoga for my 4-year-old.

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What Are They Thinking?

Most of the parenting how-to books I read focus on the preschool and early elementary ages, but occasionally, to find out what I’ve gotten myself in for, I pick up something about older kids. Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens sounds like one I’ll definitely want to read. 

I heard about it in an NPR segment that also contained a lot of fascinating science about how tweens’ and teens’ brains are rewiring themselves. The tremendous growth in brain cells and neurotransmitters of early childhood tapers off, and in adolescents the numbers are getting smaller. Yes, their brains are shrinking – sort of. They’re also becoming much better at integrating information from multiple sources and thinking deeply about a topic. A third change is that the parts of the brain that recognize emotions mature more quickly than the parts that regulate emotions.

You can see how all of this is a recipe for trouble.

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Parenting Lessons From the Jersey Shore

I admit it. I love TV. 

Worse, I love reality TV.

Now, I don’t plan my life around any reality shows, except My Life on the D-List, but on lazy Sunday afternoons when the kids are napping and I have five loads of laundry to fold, a little Jerseylicious brightens my day.

Throughout my journeys to the Jersey Shore, Orange County and Miami, I always leave with a little reminder of something I need to talk with my kids about. So here are four lessons I’ve gleaned from reality TV that I wish to share with the Little Ps:

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Five Tips for Shaping Up Your Kids' Food Choices

So we got home from vacation today, and I had to face up to the fact that I’m going to have to retrain my kids from a diet of Powerade and Fruit Loops back to milk and actual fruit.

Daunting. But I picked up some great tips during a phone conversation last week with Melissa Halas-Liang, a California-based nutrition coach and founder of SuperKids Nutrition. We started corresponding a few months ago about the impact health advocates are having on TV food advertising aimed at kids. In our call, she was pretty blunt in her assessment: “Obviously it’s not making a difference.”

So we spoke instead about three main problems when it comes to overweight kids: 1) the wrong food choices, 2) outside influences (like those ads), and 3) lack of exercise.

Just hearing that made me feel better, because despite our crappy diet during the past 10 days, we burned off way more calories than usual at the beach, the mini-golf course, the German cultural festival where the boys danced and in swimming pools at our hotels. The boys barely had time to watch TV or absorb any junk food ads other than the occasional billboard as we drove.

My task is really to address the first problem on the list. Halas-Liang gave me five good ways to do that.

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School Stress - The Mommy Edition

In just a few weeks, my 4-year-old’s preschool starts once again. As her excitement runs wild, my anxiety is jogging right alongside it.

Between work schedules, daycare, preschool, soccer, tumbling, family events and, on a very rare occasion, a social life, our home turns upside down the day school starts. Trying to stay on top of everything can be overwhelming for any parent, so instead of burying my stress under a king-sized Kit-Kat, I turned to two experts to help solve my most pressing organization dilemmas.

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Oh Dear, Oh Dear - Here Comes Ramona

Imaginative, mischievous children are among some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature.  There is the brave Madeline, the capricious Eloise, the hilariously mouthy Junie B. Jones - no shortage of strong young girls full of ideas and energy, with big hearts and the confidence to come into their own. But the girl who will always stay with me, who made her appearance in the 1950’s but was just as reachable to me in the 1980’s and to kids today, is stubborn, pesty Ramona Quimby.

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Grieve Out Loud – Support in a Time of Loss

Wendy Warren was 24 ½ weeks pregnant with her second child when she was placed on bedrest at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. 11 ½ weeks later, her son, Elijah, was born, but because of Potter’s Syndrome, a birth defect in which the kidneys fail to develop, the Warrens only had a few precious hours with their child before he passed away.

Each year, thousands of parents across the U.S. leave the maternity ward without a child in their arms to face a world of sadness and isolation. Yet, for individuals like Warren, they’ve also discovered a world of hope and support via the Internet.

“After Elijah was born and then shortly passed away, the women that I found online were the only ones I could turn to,” she said. “No one else in my life had any idea what I was going through.  I could share my feelings freely, and these women knew exactly how I was feeling.”

During Warren’s time at St. John’s and through her relationships on the web, a connection was made with another mother going through a similar loss. A connection that in time would help other grieving parents around the world.

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Back-to-School Physicals

With the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s the season for students to get physicals. My kids think of these visits as a time to get poked and prodded, and they’re not big fans. But I’ve found that the Q&A with our pediatrician is invaluable.

Many families schedule these exams with their own family doctors, but there’s also the option of going to an urgent-care clinic for physicals. And once you have the appointment, you should think about just what you want the doctor to check for. Like, say, cholesterol.

Really? For elementary kids?

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Bring A Touch of Tea Home

Over the past couple of years, the phrase “tea party” has taken on a political connotation. But back in the day, a tea party was synonymous with white gloves and petit fours, or in my case, Cabbage Patch Kids, teacups full of tap water and Little Debbie’s Devil Squares® cut into fourths.

In an overstimulating world packed with iPhones, Wiis and DVRs, occasionally it’s nice to escape to a simpler time, especially if pastries are involved. That's where Carol Richardson of A Touch of Tea comes in.

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Have You Seen What Your Kids Will Want to Be Eating?

I’m a newspaper and magazine junkie. I’ve cut back, but I still subscribe to more than I can realistically read, especially in the summer when the boys are underfoot. So when an article about food ads targeting kids  caught my eye recently, it wasn’t a huge surprise that the paper in question arrived last week … sigh. The story ran in the Post, but was written by Jessie Schiewe of the Los Angeles Times, and cited a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago that analyzed trends in advertising aimed at kids.

Researchers used Nielsen ratings from 2003, 2005 and 2007 to compare what products showed up most often in ads on kids’ shows. Turns out that the foods featured in ads are less sugary but more fatty – cereals, candy bars, soda and cookies have been replaced by fast food, diet soda and bottled water.

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HBO Focuses on Homelessness

Every night in the United States, children fall asleep in a home that’s not their own. Instead, their bed may be in a homeless shelter, in a car or, in some cases, the bushes.

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Things to Do

Sandcastle Beach at The Magic House

With the help of ten truckloads of sand, The Magic House's backyard will be transformed once again into a beachfront park for the popular Sandcastle Beach exhibit. Sandcastle Beach opens May 26 with a Kick Off to Summer event that includes ice cream, the Bubble Bus and a dance party!

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Omnimax Movies at the Saint Louis Science Center

Catch a movie or two at the Saint Louis Science Center's OMNIMAX Theater, where films are shown featuring the IMAX with Laser. This state-of-the-art theater provides the sharpest images, unmatched sound quality and 40% greater color range than traditional theaters. The five-story, 80-foot-diameter dome will fill your entire field of vision providing a truly immersive experience. Opening May 24: The Little Mermaid: The IMAX Experience.

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Sea Lion Shows at the Saint Louis Zoo

See the Zoo's California sea lions perform acrobatic and athletic feats, including Olympic-style dives on a high-diving platform, flipper walks, frisbee tosses and plenty of surprises. While on stage with the sea lions, the Zoo's trainers explain sea lion behavior and positive-reinforcement training, in addition to the need for conserving the sea lion's ocean habitat.

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New Events and Family Favorites Mark Purina Farms' 2023 Season

Bark ‘N Bloom is the kick-off to Purina Farm’s 2023 season and the introduction to its newly renovated Visitors Center, which is home to fun-filled exhibits and programs from April through October. Also unveiling this season is Chickentopia.

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Life Lessons Learned at Overnight Camp

With the perfect blend of adventure and responsibility, camp life teaches kids valuable lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. If you send your child to overnight camp, here are some life lessons they are likely to learn.

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The Zoo's New 'Destination Discovery' will feature Animal Adventures at Every Turn

The dynamic 2.8-acre area is designed with the youngest guests in mind, emphasizing close-up encounters with animals in an immersive and hands-on learning environment for guests of all abilities. “Guests, young and young at heart, will have the opportunity to explore the underground tunnels dug by prairie dogs, splash alongside flamingos, and walk through an aviary. Guests will learn all about animals being part of families and communities just like us.” 

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10 Reasons Your Teen Might Love to be a Camp Counselor

Day or sleepaway summer camp is the perfect place for teens to transition to the world of the employed. The paycheck is nice, but being a summer camp counselor has other rewards, too.

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Drawn In: The New Animated, Literacy-Boosting Series that's Made in STL

Tyler, Nevaeh, Jadyn, and Grace – the fearless foursome of the new animated series “Drawn In” – have captured the imagination of viewers in St. Louis and ignited their love of learning with every new adventure. The show was conceived, created, and produced in St. Louis, and the majority of voice talent is based in the metro area. You can catch it on Nine PBS.

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