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The little book with BIG resources!

How to Know if Your Child is at Risk.

We all know that our kids grow up fast, and it seems like childhood flashes by in the blink of an eye. It’s important that we make the most of the time we have with them when they are little and follow their development as they grow. That’s why well check-ups at the doctor and dental appointments are a great resource for making sure our kids are on track and healthy. Despite these appointments, sometimes kids with challenges or exceptionalities get lost in the shuffle because it is hard to catch everything in a short visit. As parents, it’s easy to forget to mention a concern to the doctor or we just aren’t sure what the risk factors are. That’s okay! We are doing the best we can to protect and care for our children.

child at risk

How to Know if Your Child is at Risk

So how do you know if your child is at risk? Maybe you have some concerns, but you aren’t sure if they are valid. Or maybe you just want to make sure that your child is developing normally. Either way, there are some different options, not in any particular order.

  1. Centers for Disease Control

The CDC has a developmental check list that you can look at by your child’s age online and in a printable form. They also have an app and a quick survey to see if your child may be at risk. The survey “Learn the signs. Act early.” materials are not a substitute for standardized, validated developmental screening tools. It is not a true evaluation of your child but it can get you started.

  1. Your Child’s Pediatrician

Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. Put together all of your concerns and discuss them with your child’s doctor. They can refer you to a local early childhood screening program if they agree with your concerns.

  1. You Child’s School

You can refer your child to your local public school special education department or infant and toddler services.

Early childhood special education programs: What can they do?

Each state and county has a screening process through the public-school district as part of a nationwide program called Child Find. Each district/county/state may set it up a little differently or even use a different title but the program is there to identify kids at risk. These screenings are geared for early childhood age children birth through age 5. The screening is free in our area and it helps to identify whether your child is on track or not. Following that screening, your child may be eligible for a developmental evaluation in one or more areas: social-emotional development, speech and language, fine and gross motor, self-help skills or pre-academics.

Alternatively, if your child passes then they may be eligible to be a peer model in a preschool classroom-depending on your district’s policy. For details about this process in your specific area, contact your local public school district’s special education department for kids ages 3-5 or your local Infant and Toddler Services program for age’s birth to three.

If my child qualifies for special education, does that label them for life?

The simple answer is yes, no and maybe. If your child receives special education services, that does not always mean they will require them for life or for the duration of their education. It really depends on your child and their specific needs. Getting your child help at an early age increases the chances that they won’t need services later on. It’s best not to be shy about asking for help, and act early for the benefit of your child! For any further questions contact your local school district or state department of education. You can also find some information online by state or by district.

From iFamily to Yours,


10 Ways to Balance Life, Work, and Kids’ Activities… Or Atleast How To Fake It

Having a busy schedule is part of life when you’re a mom.  Finding ways to balance life, work, and kids activities will help you keep the chaos to a minimum!  Connie shares a few tips with us on how she balances her crazy busy, wonderful life!

balance life

10 Ways to Balance Life, Work, and Kids’ Activities

…Or At Least How to Fake It

Life is busy.  Crazy busy.  I thought maybe life would slow down once I had kids (nope!). Then I thought it might slow down a little bit once the kids were in school (nope, again!).  The truth of the matter is, as far as my own crazy life, a lot of it is my own fault.  I want my kids to be active and involved in sports and activities if they want to be.  I want to play volleyball.  If my husband wants to bowl, I want my husband to bowl.  I want to be busy.  I want to enjoy life—all of it—time with friends, and family and activities.  Balancing it all—now that’s a challenge.

Currently, I work 5 different part time jobs.  Some are as little as 4-5 hours a week, some are every other week jobs, but all of them are jobs that I enjoy doing.  I do all of these during the day while my children are in school.  I play volleyball one night a week and coach my daughter’s t-ball team as well.

Currently, my son is playing both baseball and soccer.  This means he usually has two games per week of each sport and at least two practices.  Sometimes we miss practice for a game, but we make as much as we can. My daughter is playing t-ball and taking dance and tumbling classes.  Again, this means one night a week at the dance studio and usually two games a week. My husband works full time and bowls one night a week. Most weeks, we have at least one activity per evening, many times, two.  On especially rough weeks, we have three in one night and have to miss something.

So how do I keep it all together?!

Create a visual

In order to keep my life straight, I sit down every Sunday and write out all of the things I have to do that week, starting with Monday.  I make a daily list, and then try to check items off as I get them done every day.  Having this visual helps me keep side tasks in mind as well.  For example, if Monday says Bailey—dance 530-615, Tumbling 615-645 and Mason—Baseball 6pm—this will remind me that I need to find someone to take Bailey to dance class so that we don’t miss Mason’s game and that I need to make sure Mason’s baseball uniform is washed and ready to go.

Get Some Help (When You Need It)

I often enlist the help of my mom if there are more activities going on than I can handle.  She will take my son to practice while I coach a t-ball game or take him to a baseball game while my husband bowls and I coach.  Friends will take my daughter to dance with them so that I can go watch my son’s baseball game.

Have a Plan for the Day 

Even if you don’t always stick to it.  I try to at least know what I have coming up that day and make a mental plan for how I am going to get everything done.  We usually have at least an hour of down time between picking the kids up from school and getting them to their activities.  I use this time to go over any school work they might have, talk about how their day went, get them a snack and just spend some time with them.  We use the time to decompress and just hang out.

Use Extra Time to Your Advantage

Yes, there are days where using time to my advantage means sitting down for 30 minutes and just taking a breather.  But that can also mean using a free moment to switch laundry or read a book to your kids or helping my son with his spelling list while my daughter is in dance class and we’re in the lobby watching.

Take Time for Yourself 

For me this means getting up before my family at 5am and hitting the gym.  I have to have time for myself in order to be a happy and sane mother and wife.  It took a long time for me to adjust to getting up before the sun, but now that I am used to it, I miss it when I sleep in.  I use the gym as my time to focus on me and my mental and physical health.

This also means playing volleyball one night a week.  Volleyball has been my favorite sport since birth I feel like and I love that I can still play it as an adult.  For you, me time might mean getting up early and reading a book and having a cup of coffee before the tiny humans need you to start getting them ready.  It might mean a massage or a manicure or a night out with your friends.  Whatever it means for you, make it a priority.  Schedule it.

Communicate 

I have to keep my husband updated on all of our activities.  We share a calendar so we know what is going on.  We are a team, we help each other out in whatever ways we can.  I don’t add anything to the calendar without making sure there isn’t a conflict.

Know When It’s Too Much 

There are times when I am overwhelmed.  When I feel like I can’t keep it all going or get it all done.  There are times when I am stretched too thin.  Those are the times when I reach out to friends for help or I try to slow things down a bit.  I try to work a little less at some of my more flexible jobs, or I put in some late night time on some baking I’ve committed to and sleep in the next morning instead of hitting the gym.

Plan Ahead 

When I know I have big commitments coming, whether it be an event I am helping host, or a baking gig that requires a lot of time, or a week that I know will be crazy at work, I try to plan ahead and get as much done as I can ahead of time.  I buy the ingredients for the cupcakes the week before I have to bake, I make some of the props/decorations for the Halloween party in September so that I know they are done and I am not rushing through last minute.

Try to Enjoy It 

Yes, being busy means being tired and little to no downtime and stress.  But it usually also means your kids are playing sports they enjoy and getting exercise and making friends, and you are getting to watch them do that.  It means that you have a job that you enjoy, maybe multiple jobs that you enjoy and that are helping provide for your family.  That you are taking care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your family.  It means you are living life.  Enjoy it!

Embrace the Crazy 

While I feel like I have a decent hold on things for the most part, there are days and sometimes weeks where I am just along for the ride.  Know that no one is perfect, no one has it all together, and that everyone messes up sometimes.  Learn to find the funny in the fails and move on.  You’re human, and you’re raising tiny humans who are soaking up everything you do.  Let them see that while you are their superhero parent, you are also a person who gets overwhelmed or who forgets a water bottle for soccer, or who feeds their kids chicken nuggets at 830 because they just now had time for dinner.  They’ll love you for it.

From iFamily to Yours,


How to Handle the Family Informant

What to do when your child becomes the family informant (aka tattletale)?  Gabrielle, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad, tells us how she’s handled this in her home… take a look!

family informant

How to Handle the Family Informant

My toddler has taken on a new role in our household.  Previously, her job duties included making messes in the middle of the living room, hiding mommy’s keys and losing one shoe out of every pair she owns.  She recently decided to take on a new role as the family informant.

This puts mommy in a precarious position.

On one hand, I appreciate it when she lets me know that her brother is sneaking cookies from the kitchen, or when her sister is playing games on my phone without permission.  But honestly, I don’t need to know every time one of the kids forgets to put their clothes in the hamper or doesn’t make their beds.  (They never do either of those things.  It would be easier for her to tell me when they actually accomplished one of them.)
There are times that I benefit from her reporting skills, but I do not want to encourage this behavior.  In school, my son is learning that there is a difference between tattling and relaying information.  The children are taught that the goal of tattling is to get another person in trouble.  The goal of relaying information is to keep people safe. Technically, nobody is in any real danger if my children toss the rest of their brussels sprouts in the garbage, but it’s a thing I like to know.

The concept is confusing for second graders.  It is certainly a challenge for my three-year old.

For now, when she gives me useful information, I try to take immediate action.  When she is obviously trying to get one of her siblings in trouble, I simply say thank you and try to turn her attention elsewhere.  It isn’t that difficult.  She’s three.  Her attention-span is about as long as my non-existent finger nails.

For now, I am considering her tattling as a way to expand her ever growing vocabulary… and as a constant reminder to put my snacks on higher shelves and to keep my phone in my pocket.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


Finding Your Tribe & Making Mommy Friends

Meeting new people or making mommy friends can be scary as a new mom or even just living in a new neighborhood. Connie, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad, shares some ways to find your tribe!  Take a look…

making mommy friends

Finding Your Tribe & Making Mommy Friends

So, I love the movie “I Love You Man”.  Honestly, I love just about anything Paul Rudd does, but that’s beside the point.  I know the movie is meant to be pure entertainment, but there is an underlying truth to it.  Making friends as an adult is not as easy as it was when we were kids.  As a kid, you walk up to someone at the park and say “let’s play!” and boom—a friendship is born.

When I had my son, I became a part of a whole new category of people.  Category: Mom.  I was one of the first among my group of friends to join this whole new scene and I had no idea what I was doing.  I needed to ask questions and vent and get advice from people who knew what they were doing.  But who was I going to ask?  Where do you meet mommy friends?

It’s a little bit of trial and error.

When I had my oldest, I was completely lost and overwhelmed.  I tried going to a breastfeeding support group at the hospital, and while everyone there was very friendly and supportive, it was just not the place for me.  Part of me just wanted to be a recluse-stay at home in my happy little bubble, just me and my boy.  But that got pretty lonely pretty quickly.

I got myself out and just started going places.  Running errands, going for a walk, etc.  Whatever got me out of the house and moving was helpful.  Babies are people magnets, and I found myself chatting with new people all the time. As my kids got a little older, we started heading to parks, and the zoo, and indoor playgrounds.   In the summer we basically lived at the pool.  Those places were crawling with moms and potential play dates.

I found a mommy and me class at the gym.  It was designed to be a baby play time, with the moms there to help with the kids and meet new moms.   I went back to the gym for my own workouts.  I met moms when I was dropping my son off at the daycare there.  When my kids got old enough to start preschool, that’s when I really came into my own and started making real connections with other moms.

Mason struggled with separation anxiety and those first couple weeks of drop offs were awful.  He would cling to my leg and cry and beg me not to leave him.  This always led to me crying the whole way out of the school.  One day another mom whose son was in Mason’s class stopped me and reassured me that she had been through the same thing with her son and that everything was going to be okay.  We have been friends ever since.

My kids started joining activities, and I met tons of parents that way.  Bailey is in dance, and the friends I have made there are some of my closest.  Both of my kids play sports, most of which I coach, and so I have gotten to know lots of parents that way as well.

I mentioned previously that I coach, and I volunteer when I can at my kids school.  PTA is a great way to get involved and to meet other parents in your schools attendance area.  There are lots of local moms groups on Facebook and MOPS groups that meet at churches around town as well.  I looked for events to take my kids to—festivals, kids club events from iFamilyKC, free classes at Gymboree, etc.

It was all about just getting out there.  I was never going to meet anyone sitting at home.  And while it was hard at first, it definitely got easier.  No, I didn’t love every parent I met or every place I went, but I did eventually find my people.  And these are the people I count on to help me get through the tough stuff and laugh through the funny times.  They are the people I can call if I need help getting a kid to a practice or game or dance class.  The people I can text and ask if it’s too early for wine at noon on a Tuesday when it’s been a rough day.  They are the people who understand that parenting is work and while it is the best job we will ever have, it’s also the most frustrating and challenging.

From iFamily to Yours,


Celebrate Veterans Day and Remember with a Poppy at the National World War I Museum

Celebrate Veterans Day Kansas City

Remember with a Poppy

It’s a common sight on Veterans Day and Memorial Day: paper and cloth poppies being distributed by veteran’s organizations for donations. But you may be asking yourself how the tradition started. We need only look back to World War I for the origins of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician, served as a surgeon at a field hospital in Belgium during the war. Working in view of poppies blooming across the old battlefields and fresh graves, he wrote the Great War’s most famous poem, “In Flanders Fields,” as a testament those who lost their lives.

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

In 1918 near the end of the war, McCrae died of illness. Upon hearing of his death, American Moina Michael, an educator who look a leave of absence from the University of Georgia to volunteer with the YMCA in New York, vowed to always wear the red poppy, giving rise to the use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

She made the first sales of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy at a YMCA conference in November 1918. From that point forward, it was her mission to make the poppy the national memorial symbol and inspire the world to return to peace after the “war to end all wars.” Over time, wearing poppies became popular in many countries as a symbol of respect for those who served in World War I and the conflicts to follow.

This Veterans Day Weekend, you can join the National World War I Museum and Memorial in honoring all veterans, not just those from the First World War. All weekend, the Museum offers free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel, as well as half-price admission for the general public. Family-friendly activities include inspecting a Vietnam-era “Huey” Helicopter on the Museum grounds, Hands-On History activities where kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts, and free research stations which allow you to “Find Your Connection to WWI.”

Learn more at theworldwar.org/veteransday.

 


October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  It’s a time to bring awareness to pregnancy loss and grief.  Bridgette shares some tips from her own personal journey to find comfort and healing.

pregnancy and infant loss awareness month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is a month of many national days and is a month with many awareness’s. One of them being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. As a mom that has suffered through this, and at times still suffers from the aftermath of it, I still have my moments where it can be a struggle. Over on my personal blog, I have shared my story before and you can read it here.

While it’s nice to hear one’s story for a little comfort or support knowing you are not alone, it still takes time to heal and fully move on. After having a miscarriage during my second pregnancy, I have found ways to keep a positive outlook on our loss and heal from the pain of losing a child.

Talk about it

One thing that keeps me at peace is talking about it. When you go through something as painful as losing a child or anyone for that matter, keeping your emotions bottled up will never allow you to fully heal.

Acceptance

Accepting the fact that your precious baby won’t be in your arms hurts. But once you are able to accept that fact, you will be able to move on with your life. I know firsthand this is easier said than done. It took me a while to accept this fact and it even made me ponder the thought that I was done with wanting to have another child. I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally ready to take that chance again. Thankfully I was.

Faith

Whatever you believe in or whoever you believe in, faith is always important. Have faith that you will heal, have faith that it will get easier to move on, have faith that when the time is right you will be able to conceive, adopt or accept your life for the way it is. Having faith brings more than hope to your life, it shines a light at the end of any tunnel.

You are not alone

Remember your spouse through this time. They suffered a loss as well so even if they are not showing it, there is hurt there as well. My husband isn’t an emotional guy…. at all. But I could tell there was some disappointment and shock during the first week.  Checking on him and how he was handling it made me “forget” about my pain for a moment. As women, we are natural nurturers, so when I wasn’t focused on what I was feeling but my husband or daughters I was able to laugh. I think that was one of the things that helped me the most, laughing with my Thai every day.

Share your experience

According to hopexchange.com, anywhere from 900,000 to 1 million women suffer from a miscarriage each year. Sharing your experience with those that are recovering from a miscarriage or having a difficult time moving forward can not only help them heal, but help you as well. When I first opened up about my loss last year, I had a flood of messages and comments thanking me for sharing my story. It even encouraged a few others to speak up and raise awareness. Once again, feeling like I was helping someone too the focus off my pain.

Losing a child will always be something that takes time to heal. When you think about your future, you never plan to have a miscarriage or give birth to a child that has already passed. So, taking the time to spread awareness and open up about the pain you feel are just stepping stones to a full recovery. It has been 7 years since I lost my baby and honestly it took years to be able to talk about it without crying. From time to time, I still feel that pain again, but my heart has healed, my life continues and I love and appreciate having my 4 kids even more knowing that I have been blessed to be their mother for even 1 day.

For help with healing and encouragement, you can visit the Hope Exchange website for articles and support.

From iFamily to Yours,


To the Unknown Mom at Target; You Are Not Alone

We’ve all had that moment in the middle of Target with the child screaming at the top of their lungs.  This goes out to you, the unknown mom at target.

a letter to the unknown mom at target

 

To the Unknown Mom at Target:

I saw you last night, while I was cruising the aisles of my favorite local hangout.  I heard you the first two times you told your toddler that he could not have the candy.  I couldn’t hear you the third time, but I know there was a third time.  I imagine that is what sent your otherwise adorable child into a full-on tantrum.

I saw you trying to reason with him by looking into his eyes and appealing to his sense of logic.  You gently tried to explain that it was dinner time, and that he could have dessert after dinner.  I saw all this from two checkout lanes away.  You nearly had me convinced to put my candy bar back.  Your toddler, who was within an arm’s reach of you, was unfazed as he continued to scream like a banshee.

I watched as your cheeks turned red, and you tried, in vain, to stop that sandy-haired munchkin of yours from embarrassing you further. After just a couple of minutes, I saw you throw up your white flag of surrender and purchase the candy.

Please do not think we are judging you.  There’s not a mom on this side of heaven who hasn’t experienced what you went through last night.  Every single one of us has been publically humiliated by a toddler who sounded as if he was calling down fire from the skies.  We’ve all had to maneuver through the store with a kid who refused to take a nap, or the one so fixated on the toy that she left in the car that you decided it was easier just to go back to the car, causing you to abort your store mission all together.

We know you are embarrassed.  Because we were all embarrassed.   We know that your kid doesn’t always act like that, and we know that you don’t always cave.

But today we are grateful…Grateful that the candy saved our eardrums from any additional pounding.  That dollar was totally worth it. And Grateful that it was your kid today, not one of our own.

Hoping that tomorrow will be a better day for us all.

Sincerely,

Another Mom who has wished to be invisible.

Gabrielle


When It’s Your Turn To Be The Caregiver

What do you do when it’s your turn to be the caregiver to your parents?  Connie, from the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares what it means to care for your parents in times of need.

Caregiver

Taking Care of Your Parents in Times of Need

July is always my favorite month of the year because, during that particular month, summer is in full swing, fireworks are exploding, my birthday is the 5th, with my son and my mother’s following later in the month.  It’s something I look forward to every year.  This year was no exception.  I had birthday week plans, and 4th of July plans, and my son’s birthday plans, and ideas for my mother’s birthday as well.  There were tons of items left on my kids’ summer fun list that I had planned on getting checked off.  We were so ready for July.

What I wasn’t ready for was spending 8 days in the hospital when my mother got so sick she almost died.

I am one of those weirdos who has always been close with my mother.  Even in those moody, yucky, I hate everyone teenage years, she and I were best friends.  My friends loved her, many of them preferring to hang out at our house, rather than their own.  She always has my back, no matter what the situation.  And I always knew, no matter what, my mother would take care of me.  Not in the “I don’t want to grow up and deal with adult responsibilities” type of take care of me, but in the “I just need my mom right now” type of way.

She was there.

She was there for our 2 am chats when I cried with my head in her lap over my latest break up, there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, there to coach and then watch every volleyball game I played until I landed a college scholarship.  My mom would bring me soup to work when I wasn’t feeling well.  She came to the hospital immediately when I was there waiting on a scan of my swollen leg when I was pregnant.

Whatever direction life took me I could always go confidently, knowing she was going to be there to help me get through it.

I feel like I returned the favor.  When my grandmother passed away after a long battle with ovarian cancer I was there with my mom .  I flew with her to Virginia when my uncle died.  I had seen my mother when she was weak and vulnerable emotionally and we got through it together.  But I had never been faced with my mother needing me to take care of her physically.  I had never had to help make medical decisions, or be there to talk her through the latest round of tests, or help her talk to the multiple specialists who paraded through her hospital room that week.

My mother almost died.

I still have a hard time admitting that to myself.  Looking back on it now, it still makes me shudder.  My strong, funny, young, vibrant mother almost died.  And my entire world was rocked.  If we hadn’t gotten to the hospital when we did, this would be an entirely different post.

I found myself dealing with every emotion I had.  Mad because she didn’t tell me how bad she felt before we went to the hospital and scared to death of losing her.  So much so that I was shaking.  I was confused by what was happening and the multiple diagnoses that kept coming in.  I was stressed because I had two kids at home that I was supposed to be taking care of, but I knew she needed me there.

And I was overwhelmed.  I was completely overwhelmed by her needing me.

She needed me there to keep her calm, she needed me there to help her keep track of all the treatments and issues and tests, she needed me there to comfort her and tell her everything was going to be okay.  The person who had always helped me deal with life when it got overwhelming was now the person who was causing me to feel overwhelmed.  It was time for me to take over that caregiver role and do what she needed me to do.

I became the parent.

I took care of her.  Holding her hand.  Sleeping on the loudest, most uncomfortable cot on the planet because nights were the hardest for her.  Swallowing every fear, every worry, every doubt and I put on a brave face.  Because I knew, if the roles were reversed she would do it for me.   I vented to my husband and fell apart in the car or in my brief breaks from the hospital, counted on my friends to help me with the kids and to be there if I needed anything.  Always reminding myself that the time spent with her at the hospital was extra time we got to spend together.  We managed to laugh through the chaos and rejoice in the small victories and improvements.

Once she left the hospital, my mother came and lived with us for 5 weeks.  She needed some extra help to get through the day.  She needed me and my little family to keep her motivated and focused on getting better.

Usually, as an adult, your parent moving in sounds like a nightmare.

For us it was such a blessing. 

My kids loved waking up knowing that Grandma was there.  She cooked some of my favorite meals for us when she was feeling good enough to be up and around.  She would make sure the kids stayed quiet and entertained so that my husband and I could sleep in.  And I got to watch her get better.  I got to see her get stronger and healthier and happier every day.  I got to slowly switch back to just being her daughter and not constantly worrying about every ache and pain she had.  And she got to see that she is stronger than she gives herself credit for.

As awful as that time in the hospital was, and as overwhelmed as I felt, I wouldn’t change it.  She taught me everything I know, and I got to show her just a fraction of the strength and care she has shown me in my life.  I hope to not have to face another illness with her for a long time, but getting through this one showed me that I can do it and I like to think it showed her that she can too.  It made me appreciate her even more and caused us to become closer than ever.  I still panic just a bit when she calls sometimes, and we’re still adjusting to time without her here, but I’m excited for the new normal with my healthier, stronger mom.

From iFamily to Yours,


Giving Back In The Wake Of A Tragedy

Tales of destruction from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have dominated the news cycle over the past couple of weeks.  Our hearts are broken as we hear stories of those who have lost homes and loved ones in the path of these violent storms.  But there is a secondary group of stories that inevitably comes out of these tragedies.  The stories of the hometown heroes who risk life and limb to save their neighbors.  These stories capture our hearts, and renew hope in the human spirit.  Gabrielle, from the iFamily Mom and Dad Squad is here to show us why giving back is so important.

give back

Giving Back in the Wake of Tragedy

While my family and I cannot afford to go to coastal regions and help with the clean-up efforts, there are things we can do here in our own hometown to be a blessing to our friends and neighbors who are down on their luck.  Here are few ideas you might want to try.

Volunteering at a local food pantry

Local pantries are always look for groups to help them serve.  They are also looking for volunteers to help them clean and organize their pantries.  Even the little ones can help.  When my daughter was about four, she was given the job of passing out salt and pepper in the dining room of one of the local shelters.  She felt like she had the most important job in the world, and it gave the residents a good chuckle to see her tiny little hands handing them their condiments.

Ronald McDonald House

This charity houses families whose loved ones are being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital.  These families are often strapped for cash as they have to cover medical costs and transportation.  Many of these families are from out-of-state.  As such, the Ronald McDonald House is usually looking for groups who are willing to cook and serve families who are temporarily housed in their facilities.  This can be costly, as several families are housed in each unit.  Each volunteer group is responsible for providing the meal, as well as preparing the meal and cleaning up after.  It is best to do this activity with a larger group.  I recommend joining with a social or church group when taking on this endeavor.

Donating Toys to a Women’s Shelter

Women who leave abusive homes often leave home with nothing but their children and the clothes on their backs.  The children, who are already facing a traumatic situation, have little to comfort them.  This is when your child’s barely and rarely touched toys come in handy.  That old teddy bear that’s been sitting on the bookshelf untouched for the last six months could provide a hug to some child in desperate need of unconditional love.

Shirley Chisholm, a personal hero of mine, said, “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.”  Teaching our children to serve others will undoubtedly impact them.  Serving with our children will undoubtedly impact the world, even if it is just a small corner of it.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle

 


Ways You Can Help Texas Recover From Hurricane Harvey

The devastating news of Hurricane Harvey down in Texas has hit close to home for many of us.  Being so far away can leave us feeling helpless and wondering what we could be doing to help.  Bridgette, from the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad, is a Texas Native.  She’s here with some suggestions on ways to give and support the victims of Hurricane Harvey!

#texasstrong

Here Are Some WaysThat KC Can Be #TexasStrong

 

As someone that considers herself both a Kansas Citian and Texan, this post is extremely difficult for me to write. Last week, family and friends of my family and possibly yours have been hit hard by the result of Hurricane Harvey. What started out as a mere “tropical storm” quickly escalated to a category 4 hurricane. This unfortunate event has displaced many, many people. Young, old, rich, poor, black or white.. people have been stranded, displaced and worst of all separated from their families or lost loved ones.

Being here in Kansas City and not close to my family and friends during this time has really been hard to process and unsettling. But thankfully there are several organizations around the city that are accepting donations to send to all of the victims in Houston and surrounding cities.

This week you can do what you can by sending items that are in great need. Remember, these people have had their homes destroyed and possibly only have the clothes on their back. Here are a few items that are in great need:

Kids:

Diapers

Wipes

Formula

Rash Cream

Baby Shampoo/ Powder

Clothes

Shoes

Socks/ underwear

Coats

Adults:

Clothes

Shoes

Socks

Coats

Under garments

Care:

Toothpaste/ Toothbrush

Shampoo & conditioner

Deodorant

Feminine Hygiene products

Combs/ brushes

Blankets

Towels/ wash rags

Soap

Pillows and more..

 

Not sure where to donate?  Try considering these options.

Red Cross:

You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief or visit them online at https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey for proceeds to go strictly to Harvey Victims

 

VFW

You can join with the VFW and show your support by making a $10 donation to the VFW’s relief efforts by texting the keyword “NEEDS” to 27722, or mail in your donation of any amount to: VFW Quartermaster General, 406 W 34th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. All funds raised will be distributed to veterans, military personnel and their families of affected by Hurricane Harvey

 

These metro business have also joined the cause and are accepting donations at the locations listed below:

180v Barber Salon

1805 vine st Kansas City MO, 64108

Tues-Sat 9am-7pm

 

4th Down Grill

6607 Parallel Pkwy Kansas city KS 66106

Tues-Sat 9am-7pm

 

The Powder Room Makeup & skincare studio

8600 w 95th street suite 104-5

Overland Park Ks

Mon-Sat 2:30-6pm

 

Let’s stand together and show our support from afar by helping those in need.

From iFamily to Yours,