Tag Archives: children

Text4baby: free health texting for pregnant women and moms with infants

26 Jul

Text4baby is a free public health texting service that provides pregnant women and moms with babies under age one, three health and safety text messages each week timed to her due date or baby’s age. Text messages are developed by trusted experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and include information on topics such as labor signs and symptoms, prenatal care, developmental milestones, and more. Know someone who might be interested? Signing up is easy! All you have to do is text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 and you’ll begin receiving free health and safety messages to care for both you and your baby.


Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Check out the 2013-2014 Theatre for the Very Young Series at The Alliance

9 Jul

Parent’s of young children in Atlanta, take note.  We saw Waiting for Balloon last year and it was so good I can’t wait to take my boys back.  I am SO excited that there are now other productions in the Theatre for the Very Young series.  Check out what’s on board for the ’13/14 season below!

Atlanta’s nationally acclaimed Alliance Theatre and Rosemary Newcott, the Sally G. Tomlinson Artistic Director of Theatre for Youth & Families, are proud to announce the 2013/14 Season for Theatre for the Very Young.  Now in its third season, Theatre for the Very Young is an artistic experience for children ages 18 months – 5 years that overcomes age and developmental barriers, expanding the consciousness of the very young audience members.  Each production nurtures creative thinking, allowing the very young to experience art and culture on their terms.

“It’s thrilling to be offering the youngest members of our community a full season of our fully interactive, wholly original Theatre for the Very Young,” said Christopher Moses, Director of Educational Programs.  “This season will find us creating new work inspired by such diverse topics as Japanese culture to Woody Guthrie’s beloved children’s songs to Beckett.  As always, our Theatre for the Very Young program is committed to inviting these little ones into a true artistic experience and connecting them not only to the theatre but also to each other in a powerful and artful way.”

Beginning October 17, the season will open with an encore production of Waiting for Balloon, directed by Rosemary Newcott and written by folk artist TMarq, loosely based on the classic play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  Through delightful trial and error, exploration and interaction with the audience, two clowns piece together what makes a balloon a balloon and celebrate all that is discovered while we “wait!”  Waiting for Balloon is a joyous introduction to gentle clowning and the joy of creating puppets from found objects, designed by the creative mind of Puppeteer Michael Haverty.

The next two productions in the season are brand new productions created for very young audiences.  Little Raindrop Songs is a whimsically theatrical and imaginative journey through an anything-but-normal day, with original music by the Japanese ‘pajama-pop’ band Lullatone. The audience is led through a fully interactive world made completely of brightly colored paper which transforms dramatically into multiple settings.  Combining unexpected puppetry, a vibrantly colorful and transformative two-dimensional set design, whimsically comic performances, and the catchy pajama-pop of Lullatone, this fully interactive theatrical performance will connect with the very young and invite them into the wonder of the artistic experience.  Little Raindrop Songs is directed by Puppeteer Michael Haverty.

The final production in the season is Songs to Grow On, directed by Rosemary Newcott.  Inspired by the fun and inventive children’s songs of Woody GuthrieSongs to Grow On invites children on a one of a kind journey across the country in search of the sounds of America.  A tale of friendship, travel, and most of all the love of song, this unforgettable experience celebrates the joyful noise of harmony.   Developed in partnership with Bright from the Start: Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, this engaging show is fully aligned with GA’s pre-K content standards.

“Theatre hopes to enchant, connect and inspire an audience, and Theatre for The Very Young does all of these in such surprising and powerful ways,” said Rosemary Newcott.  “Watching the youngest of our community engage so completely and so joyfully in a theatrical experience reminds all of us the reasons we love this art form so much!  It takes us back to a time when we could allow ‘play’ experience to envelop us and invites the child of any age to know how powerful it feels to be part of the story.”




October 17 – 19, 21 – 26, November 2, 7-9

Written by TMarq

Directed by Rosemary Newcott
Two childlike hobo-clown characters are waiting near the railroad tracks for “balloon”. The problem is that neither of them knows exactly what “balloon” is. Through delightful trial and error, exploration and interaction with the audience, the two piece together what makes a balloon a balloon and celebrate all that is discovered while we wait! This is a joyous introduction to gentle clowning and the joy of creating puppets from found objects.



December 27 – 29, January 3 & 4, January 6 – 11, & 18

Directed by Michael Haverty
A whimsically theatrical and imaginative journey through an anything-but-normal day, created especially for the very young with original music by the Japanese ‘pajama-pop’ band Lullatone. The audience is led through a fully interactive world made completely of brightly colored paper which transforms dramatically into multiple settings – from the bedroom where we wake and get ready for the day, to the kitchen where we learn to eat a healthy breakfast, into the big world beyond where we experience sunshine, birds, bugs, and animals, a garden, a playground, and finally a big rainstorm which washes us inside for a bath and bedtime lullaby.  Combining unexpected puppetry, a vibrantly colorful and transformative two-dimensional set design, whimsically comic performances, and the catchy pajama-pop of Lullatone, this fully interactive theatrical performance will connect with the very young and invite them in to the wonder of the artistic experience.



March 10 – 15, 22, 27 – 29

Directed by Rosemary Newcott
Inspired by the fun and inventive children’s songs of Woody Guthrie, Songs To Grow On invites children on a one of a kind journey across the country in search of the sounds of America.  A tale of friendship, travel, and most of all the love of song, this unforgettable experience celebrates the joyful noise of harmony.


The Alliance Theatre now offers a season ticket package for Theatre for the Very Young. 

TVY Build Your Own Season –

  • 2-play package: $20/person
  • 3-play package: $30/person

In addition to guaranteed seats, all TVY season ticket holders receive:

  • 15% off additional single tickets to all Alliance Theatre Productions
  • 10% off acting classes
  • $5 off return tickets to enjoy Theatre for the Very Young performances again

Tickets for single performances are $10.

Learn more about all these performances at www.alliancetheatre.org/tvy.  Tickets may be purchased online or by contacting Olivia Aston, 404.733.4702 or Olivia.aston@woodrufcenter.org.

Center for Puppetry Arts offers unique opportunity to support the Arts and have a fun, affordable birthday party!

16 Mar
 Book your child’s birthday party at the Center for Puppetry Arts and you’re sure to be enthralled by these hilarious tales of a cunning rabbit, his infamous friends, and their amusing attempts to stay out of a briar patch of trouble. Featuring live music with a range of Southern African American styles, this sprightly competition of the ego invites audiences to see who is the swiftest, the strongest, and the smartest of this gang of friends.

Party spaces are available on Saturdays and Sundays and include tickets to the Center for Puppetry Arts’ original production of Brer Rabbit & Friends, your very own birthday party room, and the all-important birthday throne!

Extras like the Create-A-Puppet Workshop (make your very own Brer Fox Hand Puppet), balloons, hand puppets, and invitations add to the fun!  Just bring your party supplies, decorations, and food. Or call our friends at Papa John’s at GA Tech for a special Center for Puppetry Arts discount.

Birthday Parties are a special privilege for Members at the Family level and above, but don’t worry, it’s easy to join! Just click here.

If you want more information about having your party at the Center, then please contact melissahayes@puppet.org or call 404.881.5109 for more information.

We’ve identified some great dates for birthday party specials!
Get $15 off the room rental on these dates!

Birthday Party Discount Dates
Sun, April 14, 2013 (1pm & 3pm show times)
Sun, May 26, 2013 (1pm & 3pm show times)

Offer not valid for previously booked parties. Regular birthday party rules apply. Subject to availability.

 www.puppet.org • 404.873.3391 • 1404 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309


Atlanta IEP Boot Camp

4 Mar


Does your child’s program meet all areas of their needs? Do you understand your rights and how to manage the IEP process?

Learn how to participate as part of the IEP Team. Join us for small group sessions to address individual questions and concerns of parents:

Session 1: March 17, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Topic: IEPs: Creating a program, not just a document, including evaluations, present levels of performance, placements and services, accommodations/supports, and testing

Session 2: March 24, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Topic: How to write measurable goals and objectives, progress monitoring and data collection; and how to design ESY to meet your child’s needs

Session 3: April 21, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Topic: Program Transitions, preparing for the next big move, managing your IEP team meeting and avoiding IEP pitfalls

Where: 1202 Springdale Road, Atlanta, GA 30306

Cost:$50/session; $125/ 3 sessions

Janet Haury, Special Education Attorney, On the Same Team

Jill Bender, Special Education Advocate

*RSVP required, limited space available: jillmbender@yahoo.com


7 Feb

…presented by the Atlanta Puppetry Guild and the Academy Theatre.

SAT, FEB 23, 2013 11am till 2pm
This is a “drop-in” event with continuous activities.Bring the whole family to this fun puppet variety show featuring the talents of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild!

In addition to puppet shows,  there will be concessions, carnival games and puppet craft activities for kids and parents alike.
There will also be merchandise for sale including one of a kind puppets!
Proceeds will go to the Atlanta Puppetry Guild to support scholarships and grants.
Don’t miss out on all the fun!
Kids $5 Adults $10

Loud and Clear

8 Nov

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately.  There’s just a lot going on and I don’t seem to be able to successfully tackle much of it.  For every one step forward, I find myself three steps (at least!) behind.  My (mostly self-induced) to-do list is unbearable and I just want to hibernate.  This weather doesn’t help.  There’s a reason we live in Atlanta, right? 

Thirty minutes ago, I walked outside to take Halloween decorations to the basement for storage until next year.  Just. check. one. thing. off. the. list.  On my way down the steps, I glanced further out into the yard and discovered that the babysitter had allowed my son to leave his shoes outside over the weekend and there they had remained during the past three rainy days.  Where were they?  Next to the uncovered sandbox, which was now filled with four inches of mucky rainwater, leaves, and pine straw.  I gruffly walked over to clean up the mess, fully prepared to do so and then promptly stomp back inside to write about how life really had thrown lemons at me.  This was evidence.  Rotten lemons, at that!

Except, about 25 or so buckets of cold, stale, rainwater later, I found myself in a completely different place.  This mundane, uncomfortable, and presumably time-wasting task had revealed something to me that was becoming more clear with each and every scoop.  

I am so blessed, I thought.  My baby is so exhausting.  But also? He is the happiest, sweetest little boy ever.  And?  He’s sleeping peacefully inside while I scoop this water.  And?  He’s for the most part healthy and developing well.  My older son has some challenges that have been coming more to a head recently.  But?  He has more zest for life than nearly anyone I’ve ever met.  And?  He’s got the best teachers ever.  And, by a miraculous twist of luck, fate, or God’s grace, he’s in an environment that suits him so well for most of the day. I can be sure he’s learning, and growing, and even loved there.  Even more-so, I have a safe, dry home over my head.  

You see, instead of a silly, plastic sandbox filled with a few toys, I am so aware that I could be digging through a flooded home searching for salvageable belongings.  Instead of returning inside to a peaceful home with soft music playing and a white noise machine whirring from my toddler’s room, I could be mourning the loss of life of a loved one.  God spoke gently, but strongly, to me today through that yucky sandbox.  “Be grateful,” I heard, ever so firmly, but kindly.  “Even this task, this time, is a gift.  I am with you and you have so very much.”

Parents Palooza: A Fun-filled Weekend for Atlanta area Parents and Kids

29 Oct
Parents Palooza is two fun-filled family days for parents and their kids.  Learn the latest parenting tools & tips in the Parenting Conference Area and explore the Expo to find the products, services, resources, and information you need and want for your families.  ​Meet the companies that want to work for you!  The wealth of help for parents is surrounded by entertainment of every kind for your kids (and Moms & Dads).  Come out for 2 Days of Fun and Family!

FREE Parenting Workshops in Midtown Weds. evening and Thurs. morning!

8 Oct
that will change your family!
Kirk has developed 12 NEW STRATEGIES to stop the yelling, stress and power struggles once and for all.

The workshops are FREE, open to the community and there is no need to register.

Here’s a sample of what you will experience:

Celebrate Calm Stop Defiance Live Event in Fairfax County, VA
Celebrate Calm: Stop Defiance
Live Event Video
Kirk and Casey will be in person to show you:
  • How to get kids to be responsible…without yelling or lecturing.
  • 10 new ways to stop defiance, meltdowns and power struggles.
  • Casey will share 10 lessons kids want parents to know–powerful.
  • Discipline a strong-willed child while building a close relationship.

Wednesday, October 10        6:30pm – 8:30pm in Redeemer’s Sanctuary

~Childcare for Redeemer members ONLY who regularly attend Wednesdays at Redeemer

 Thursday, October 11            9:30am – 11:30am in Redeemer’s Sanctuary

 ~Childcare for all attendees who RSVP to Amber by October noon on Tues., October 9.

*Children age 9 and up are welcome to attend with their parents and teenagers are encouraged to do so.

Amber Koter-Puline
Parenting and Marriage Ministries

Directions and Parking 


Redeemer is located at 731 Peachtree Street, NE, in Atlanta, GA, between 3rd and 4th Streets, three blocks east of the I-75/I-85 expressway through the center of Atlanta. We are one block north of the Fox Theatre on the opposite side of Peachtree Street.

Free parking is available in our 4th Street parking lot at all times, and will also be available for the Wednesday evening Celebrate Calm workshop in the parking deck behind (to the east of) the Bank of America building, a short one-half block walk away. Enter the parking deck on 3rd Street, traveling east from Peachtree Street.  BRING YOUR TICKET WITH YOU TO HAVE IT VALIDATED BY A REDEEMER STAFF MEMBER!  

We can also be reached from the MARTA rail system. Take a northbound or southbound train to the N3 station at North Avenue, then exit the station at the north end, turn right on 3rd Street, go one block to Peachtree Street, and you’ll see Redeemer on the left.
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Having More Kids? When everyone says “You’ll know…”, but you don’t.

5 Sep

When I was growing up I always said I wanted to have three children.  Maybe it was because I am one of three myself.


~Meet my siblings~

Maybe it was because all three of my parents were technically one of three in their families (my stepmother lost a teenage brother when she was 13).  Or, later on because my husband is also one of three.  It seemed like everyone around me had three kids.

I pictured myself with a little girl, I think mostly because of the clothes.  I’ve always loved fashion and dressing someone else is so much more fun than (and easy than, right?) yourself.

After I had my PPD baby (which happened much later in life than expected on my 31st birthday due to some unexplained infertility the first few years of marriage), I was certain I was DONE.   I was so ill physically and emotionally from a traumatic birth and postpartum period that I couldn’t imagine having anymore kids.

~Meet L1~

Thank God, I didn’t go ahead with having my tubes tied, as I had begged my OB to do back then.  Because, of course, I got well and eventually got up the nerve to have another baby.  Things were totally different the second time.  I had a little more difficult pregnancy, but the birth was beautiful and I only had a couple of weeks of postpartum challenges.  And that’s when I fell in love with the newborn and early infant stage that sadly I could barely remember with my first son.

~Meet L2~

In fact, I remember blogging about that very thing the day that I took the above photo in late May 2011.  I believe I named the post “Best. Decision. Ever.”.  And it has been.

Since I had never dreamed I would have a second child, after all the difficulty becoming pregnant the first time and then my emotional challenges that had to be overcome to reconcile my PPD experience, you can imagine my surprise when I became pregnant with L2 after just a few months of trying.  It was meant to be.  Except, about halfway through my pregnancy I got a pretty bad bout of antenatal (or pregnancy-related) depression.  Because it occurred right around the same time we had our 20 week sonogram (and this time chose to learn the gender of our baby, which we had not done the first time around), I blamed it on gender disappointment.  I cried for three weeks straight.  I told only people who directly asked me the gender that I was having a boy.  I refused to shop for the baby or his room and denied my pregnancy in my mind, despite my expanding belly.  Thank goodness my hormones leveled out after a few weeks and I began to accept and acknowledge that I was going to be the mother of two boys.  Also, gratefully I was in the care of a psychiatrist (though I had decided not to medicate during pregnancy) and a therapist who helped me work through this difficult period.

I had deemed myself to be “done” prior to even conceiving L2, so it seemed obvious to me and everyone else (many of whom were also secretly disappointed I wasn’t having a girl), that I would never be a mother to a female.  I made plans to give away my maternity clothes, infant clothes and paraphernalia and toys as soon as L2 and I grew out of them.  I had labeled bins and bags ready and waiting in the closet.

And when that little head popped out of my belly and L2 greeted me with a wave and we locked eyes, I felt instantly that our family was complete.  My heart felt full and my eyes welled with tears, and this time they were tears of joy!

But here we are 15 months later, and all of that stuff having been donated, consigned or gifted.  And there’s still a little part of me that sighs when I walk past the maternity section at Target.  When I catch a glimpse of a mother nuzzling those soft hairs on her baby’s newborn head.  And mostly when I think about the future.  I always pictured big family holidays and reunions with lots of kids and in-laws and grandchildren.  With just two boys, will we always be just the four of us?  Or, will my boys marry and go to be with their wives’ families, leaving my husband and me (or even just me, if something happens to him later in life) to eat turkey alone?

I know lots of things rationally.  Sure, having lots of kids doesn’t guarantee they’ll be close to you or each other later in life.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll get to have a child of each gender.  Then there’s the advanced maternal age label and the associated risks now that I am over 35.  There’s the fact that I am still taking a small dose of medication to deal with anxiety that accompanies the first couple of years postpartum for me.  There’s my workaholic, traveling husband and the fact that I live far away from all of our family.  I can rattle off a thousand reasons why I should be able to proclaim “I’m done!” and mean it.

I know it’s what’s right in my head.  I know that my capacity to be a good mom is greater with just two very active boys.  But somewhere in my heart, not down very deep I yearn for another baby.  And if not for that, then for the courage and confidence to say “Just two for me.” and mean it.

Am I alone in this dilemma?  How did you “know” your family was complete?  And if you feel like you don’t know if you are “done”, then how do you believe you’ll decide whether or not to have more children?

Bless your heart ;-),


p.s. I linked up with Naptime Review today.  Check it out, I think you’ll like it!

Milestones: Bittersweet

31 Aug


My baby had his meet and greet at Mother’s Morning Out yesterday.  He’s in a great classroom with three very kind and gentle teachers.  The surroundings are warm and comfortable and the table and chairs appropriate for his size.  I fully expected him to wail the moment I put him down, even with me in the room, as at home, he often does this, and at church, well it’s a guaranteed cry at the Nursery drop-off.  But at preschool?  He took off exploring the new-to-him toys and didn’t seem to even notice whether or not I remained present.

All that is great.  I’ve always really been blessed with wonderful, caring teachers and babysitters for my kids.

But, in the midst of these moments, these next steps or stages of their little lives, if I stop for just a second, I realize that milestones also represent a “moving on”.  When your baby gets his first tooth, it somehow jumpstarts that “they grow so fast” movement.  And when your child walks, it signifies that you no longer have a “baby” in some ways.  When he begins speaking, you realize that you have a full-fledged toddler.  And when he goes to school, well, it feels kind of odd being in the house all alone for the first time in years and you realize that those times will expand and continue for most of the rest of the time they live with you.

Milestones are awesome.  We record them in books.  We post photos and updates to Facebook.  We send text messages to friends and family.  But, they also bring with them a sense of loss sometimes.  Loss of an age or a stage.  Loss of control as your child becomes more and more able and independent.  And anticipated loss, as you realize they’ll be out there in the big world alone at times, and then maybe most of the time, in the somewhat near future.

My kids are only one and five years old, but I can’t help myself some days.  I think forward to their teen years and wonder if they’ll enjoy spending time with my husband and me or be the stereotypical kids who think mom and dad are so lame and annoying.  I then anticipate them being grown men, and while praying that I live that long, I simultaneously think about things like whether they’ll remember to call they mom once in a while or if they’ll get married and have kids and move to Sri Lanka and spend all their holidays with their in-laws.

Sure, some of these thoughts or feelings are a little exaggerated.  But, I don’t think I’m alone in finding milestones, big and small, a bit bittersweet.  And maybe that’s a good analogy for the entire parenting journey.  Each joy is equally matched with a challenge, and likewise all those moments of stress and strain are overcome by fleeting, but very real, moments of bliss when you look at your kids and realize they are yours…all yours to share this life with.  What an incredible gift!

Bless your heart :-),

“Atlanta Mom”

Beyond Birth Atlanta

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