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Appreciate Who You See in the Mirror: Wife of Denver Broncos Player Shares Struggles with Postpartum Depression

A special welcome to Leah Harris, owner of Arie X Avie & Wife of Denver Broncos Cornerback Chris Harris Jr.

To me, being a mom is one of the best experiences I’ve in had in my life. I have three kids under the age of four, and guess what – they’re all girls! My life has never been filled with more pink and bows, but I’ve also never struggled so much with postpartum depression and anxiety. Did you know it’s the most common complication of pregnancy? One in 7 mamas suffer from it but too few of us talk about it. I experienced it with my first two pregnancies, but this last pregnancy was really tough. I’ve struggled with anxiety and being overwhelmed, which is a great recipe for a breakdown when you’re also sleep deprived! Sometimes a simple question like what I ate for lunch can feel like too much.

After my first breakdown I took a good look in the mirror and decided to evaluate myself. I took notice of the positives and the things I wanted to work on. I went out and bought a new planner and starting writing in events and goals. I also joined a new gym and found friends to work out with. Making time for myself, even just a few minutes, is the most critical part to dealing with my postpartum depression and anxiety. For me, journaling, exercising and socializing are key to my physical and mental health. I even make sure I put on a little eyeliner and lip color every day so I can appreciate my reflection in the mirror. It’s the little things that can make such a huge difference in our moods.

Taking time for yourself may seem impossible but there are steps you can take to help you feel better.

  • Get support from family and friends so you can keep active, eat healthy and get enough rest and time for yourself.
  • Talk to a professional.
  • Learn as much as you can about pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Join a support group in your area or online.
  • Don’t give up! It may take more than one try to get the right help you need.

For all the mamas out there that are struggling with pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety, you’re not alone! We’re in this together!

For more information, including local support groups and resources, visit postpartum.net/colorado or call 1-800-944-4773. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Colorado Kids and Vaping: What Parents Need to Know

It happened in band class. My friend’s seventh-grade daughter was setting up her instrument when the boy next to her whispered, “Hey, you wanna vape?” and he waved a JUUL — an e-cigarette that quickly vanished into his closed fist. 

At the time, she had no idea what it even was but those days are coming to an end. The 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey revealed the following:

  • About half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine.
  • Only 7 percent of high school students currently smoke cigarettes, yet 27 percent said they vape nicotine.
  • The statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent think those risks apply to vaping nicotine.
  • Nicotine has a negative effect on adolescent brain development, causing lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.

In response to this growing health concern, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has created a suite of materials to help parents and other adults who spend time with teens understand the risks of vaping, and prepare them to have informed conversations with teens about it.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vaporized liquid from an electronic device. It is the latest trend in tobacco use, and it’s alarmingly prevalent among today’s teens. Despite myths that vapes only contain “harmless water vapor,” that is not the case. There are hundreds of different vape products, which may include a range of ingredients including nicotine, chemical additives, flavorings and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. These devices go by many names including e-cigarettes, smokeless cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, mods, tanks, cigalikes, JUUL, e-hookah and hookah pens. Flavors are chosen that entice young appetites, like cookies & cream, cups o’ peanut butter and bubble gum. 

Not only are vape products hard to detect if you see them in your kid’s backpack, but they don’t have the same obvious odor giveaway as smoking cigarettes and marijuana. In fact, many claim you can’t tell the difference between smelling secondhand vapor that contains marijuana and vapor that does not. 

Effects on adolescents

Especially concerning, vaping causes greater risks for adolescents. Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is also in many vape products and 100 percent of JUULs. Did you know one Juul pod contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes? The chemical has a negative impact on adolescent brain development, causing lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.

Additionally, vaping is a predictor of future cigarette smoking. A study of 12th grade students who had never smoked a cigarette found that those who had reported recent vaping were more than four times (4.78) more likely to report past-year smoking one year later.

Talking to Your Kids

Sometimes it may feel like youth aren’t listening to what you say but research shows adults can have a big influence on their behavior. What you think matters to the young people in your life. As an adult they trust, you can impact their choices. What you say, and the example you set, make a difference. The following tips can help you get talking and the tip sheet can be downloaded here.

Listen

Make them feel heard. Consider their opinions and keep the conversation going. Even if you’ve talked about this topic before, their issues and opinions change all the time. Plus, as youth get older, they can feel more pressure from friends and classmates.

Set Clear Rules

Make family, school and sports team rules clear and stick to them. Let them know what will happen if they don’t follow them.

Focus on Positive Messages

Encourage them to make choices that help them achieve their goals.

Learn How Teens Are Vaping

Because of the wide array of discreet vape devices, it is easier than ever to hide them and vape at school or during school activities. Get a sense of what vaping devices look like.

Remind Them What Can Happen For Breaking the Rules

Teens that break school or school activity rules can be suspended or kicked off a team.

Let Them Know: They Could Lose Control

Most vapes contain nicotine, even many that say “nicotine free” on the label. Most teens start out thinking they can stop whenever they want and won’t ever become addicted. And lots more start smoking cigarettes, a product that kills half its users. In fact, a teen who vapes is four times more likely to start smoking.  

Remind Them They’re Role Models to Other Youth

Let them know that younger students and siblings look up to them as examples. How would they feel if a younger sibling got addicted to vaping?

Not Everyone Is Doing It

It is easier for youth to say “no” to peer pressure if they know not everyone is doing it. Let them know that more than half of high school and middle school students have never vaped, so they’re in good company.

Share the Science

Despite what teens may hear, vaping is not just “harmless water vapor.” Most vapes contain nicotine, artificial flavoring and other chemicals. Stress the fact that teens who JUUL or vape nicotine or THC may have trouble learning and memory issues, as both nicotine and THC have negative effects on adolescent brain development. 

For additional information, go to Tobacco Free Colorado at: TobaccoFreeCO.org/know-the-facts/ and on social media. Twitter: @TobaccoFreeCO; Facebook: Tobacco Free Colorado; Hashtag: #TobaccoFreeCO and #KnowtheFacts.

In partnership with Mile High Mamas. 

Kid to Kid in Arvada’s Grand Reopening

I mourn many things about my children entering the teenage years. Hormones. Moodiness. School stress. Life decisions. 

Sure, those are the big ones but do you know what else I miss? Buying affordable, stylish kids clothing at discounted prices! During my kids’ formative years (before we hit adult sizes), we were regulars at the Kid to Kid store in Arvada, an awesome consignment store with a range of used apparel, shoes, gear and toys for babies and children.

The exciting news is that the Kid to Kid store in Arvada is under new ownership, and they are excited to show off some of the changes they’ve been making. Serena and Joe Wailes bought the Arvada location earlier this year, marking their second store (they also own the Littleton location). They saw a need for updates to the Arvada store itself, and have been planning this grand re-opening for months. They are dedicated to serving the Denver suburb communities and giving families an affordable approach to children’s clothing.

Children outgrow clothes quickly. It kind of feels like their mission statement to life: Be a kid. Grow an inch every day. Instead of tossing out those clothes or stuffing another box in the attic, why not get some money back for those tiny duds? At Kid to Kid, they take your gently used children’s clothing, shoes, toys, and even your maternity gear and give you cash back on the spot, or even more if you choose the store credit option. Kid to Kid staff is selective about what it buys from the public and vendors, so customers know they are getting top-notch clothes at up to 80 percent off mall prices.

The Arvada store is located at 7310 W. 52nd Ave. in Arvada, near Red Robin. Follow the store on Facebook for ongoing events and promotions like Mom’s Night Out, Halloween Costume Unveilings, charity events and donations, and to keep recycling your kids’ closets with great stuff. 

And enjoy your young kiddos will you can!

Back-to-school shopping? Don’t miss these fall trends for 2018

Back to School is around the corner and with all the fashion and styles come many super fun and cool back-to-school trends.  The Outlets at Castle Rock shares these 10 fun ways to ROCK your 2018:

  1. Distressed looks.  Jeans and shorts and skirts…and some are exaggerated with patching details and petticoat or metallic hems.
  2. Leggings, pants and matching tops. Plaids, stripes, polka dots,  layers, mix-and-match coordinates are big looks for fall.
  3. Accessories. Earrings, bangles, lariat necklaces, backpacks, lunch totes, water bottles, and many with patterns and graphics showing who you are.
  4. Colors. Are still bright and bold–from beachy pinks to reds and greens. Anything goes and never forget that denim!  Fringe bottoms are still a necessity on jeans.
  5. Layering works best for our Colorado weather…jean jackets, sweaters, tees, button-down shirts and bows galore.
  6. Jump suits and rompers are still hot and in!
  7. Metalics. Don’t forget those amazing metalics in shoes, backpacks and jewelry.
  8. Lace and ribbons, bows and fringe details are definitely the way to go.
  9. Athleisure is here to stay with great patterns and coordinating tops and tanks…from Pilates and Barre to out-to-lunch.
  10. Off-the-shoulder and cold shoulder/sleeve detailing are still a huge shout-out.

YOUR BIGGEST AND BEST SHOPPING TIP OF THE DAY (DEAL + CONTEST)

A huge shopping secret at the The Outlets at Castle Rock to help you ROCK your STYLE is our first commandment to saving. GO TO THE FOOD COURT AT THE OUTLETS AND ASK FOR YOUR ELITE SAVINGS BOOKLET. IT WILL SAVE YOU HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS AND IS TOTALLY FREE.

Chart out your shopping journey and know which stores will honor these additional discounts…making your back-to-school dollars go even further. Great brands like…Osh Kosh, Carters, Nike, Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Puma, North Face…at savings of 30% – 75% off everyday..

The biggest thing is that we’re having an additional 20% off Aug 1-31 at participating stores, details are available at Customer Service.

Also, we’re giving away a Google Chromebook! Be sure to enter at Customer Service.

 

Having Another Child After Experiencing Pregnancy-Related Depression & Anxiety

Having another child is a difficult decision for anyone, but making the decision to have another child after experiencing pregnancy-related depression and anxiety is even more difficult and scary.  Growing up I always wanted to have two children, a boy and a girl. My husband and I got exactly that, but neither feel ready to stop after our second. There are a lot of things to consider, but one of the biggest obstacles for us is my struggle with pregnancy-related  depression and anxiety after my daughter was born.

We just celebrated our baby’s 3rd birthday this last weekend.  It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago I was bringing her home and a few weeks later I started experiencing pregnancy-related depression and anxiety.  I refer to that time as a “dark time”.  I feel like I missed out on so much of my little girl’s life because of it.  I never want to feel that way again, so why would my husband and I be considering having a third child?!

For the last two years we have been going back and forth about having a third child.  Some days I think I just want to have another baby because I missed out on our daughter’s first 6-9 months of life.  It was a horrible time where I had thoughts of hurting my baby and toddler, and thoughts about just packing up and leaving everyone and starting over.  I felt like I was a selfish mom because I wanted my time back to myself. I struggled with feelings of intense love and intense hate for my sweet baby. Somedays I would comment to my husband that I’m a horrible mother and I should never have had kids.  I resented my husband for being able to sleep and not getting woken up at night by the baby. The sleepless nights took a toll on me and my mental wellbeing. Being a working mother and one who works the night shift did not help any of that either.

I don’t want to go through pregnancy-related depression and anxiety again and I don’t want my family to have to go through it.  As a nurse in Labor and Delivery I know my chances of experiencing pregnancy-related depression and anxiety are increased because of my history.  I have also learned in the last 2+ years that I have an amazing support system who will be there for me. After I spoke up and started being open about my experience I had so many friends and co-workers tell me they would have been there for me if I had just told them.

The decision to have another baby after my experience became easier as I considered my resources and my work with a local pregnancy-related depression and anxiety group.  I decided that I want to spend the next year enjoying my time with my daughter before we do bring another baby into our family. During that time I will take care of myself.  I will continue to take my medications and I will tap into my support system when I start getting overwhelmed.  I will take time for myself and not feel guilty.  As a mother I know how much my children need me, but I also know that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of them.  I will also take the time to start seeing a counselor so that I have things in place ahead of time. I will also be honest and speak up about what I am experiencing and ask for help.  I know that is easier said than done, but feel if I have the resources in place, including a husband who knows what to look for, I’ll get help for myself sooner if I experience it again.

Making the decision to have another baby after experiencing any sort of perinatal mood disorder is a personal decision.  I am not telling anyone what to do; a woman needs to decide what is best for her and for her family.  If you do decide to have another child, get your support system in place, talk to your OB/GYN, check out your local resources, and have a plan ahead of time so it is all in place in case you need it.  Share your plan with your support system so they know how to best help you.

You don’t have to be “supermom”. It’s okay to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.  It’s okay to ask for help. For more information about pregnancy-related depression and anxiety, including local support groups and resources, I encourage you and your support system to visit postpartum.net/colorado or call 1-800-944-4773.

By Ashlyn R. Baird

New Service is Reinventing How Used Kid Gear is Bought and Sold Online

Much has happened for Good Buy Gear in the past year since we posted our first blog about this brilliant mama-driven business in spring 2017.  With a new warehouse in Arvada, Jessica Crothers and Kristin Langenfeld, the brains and mamas behind the incredible business, have added an extraordinary amount of new inventory, created a new pricing structure, expanded their service area, and continue to grow their  customer base.

What is this Good Buy Gear and why do you need to hire them? They offer a white glove service where they clear you out of unwanted baby, child and family gear, store them in their warehouse, then do the listing, selling, and delivery, all for you with only a commission on sold items.  

Good Buy Gear pays all parents directly to a Paypal account, Good Buy Bucks (store credit) or the old-fashioned snail mail check, when the item sells. If after 120 days online, and after discounting a couple of times, said item isn’t sold, they can donate the item on your behalf to their local non-profit partners.t. (Thanks for saving me 10 hours of time, this is amazing!)

This spring I reordered the White Glove service to come to my house and rid me of all my unwanted kid gear. The new registration for pick-up of goods is very seamless and easy. You can pick your preferred date and  time and also the size vehicle needed for your pick-up. I didn’t have much to get rid of, so I went with their lightest offering.

As was the case in 2017, the driver was on time, extremely professional and courteous. My items were then collected and the brains behind Good Buy Gear got to work sorting through the items, taking photos, grabbing descriptions and listing the items for sale. Now, I just watch the money come into my account. It’s that awesome.

Also new is the pricing structure.

The NEW “sliding scale” payout model lets you keep more of your payout for higher priced items!  AND they are now able to list items under $15!

Here’s how it works:

  • $250 = 80% (e.g. Double BOB Stroller)
  • $100 – $249 = 70% (e.g. 4Moms mamaRoo)
  • $15 – $99 = 60% (e.g. Strider)
  • < $15 = 20% (e.g. Bathtub)

And, if this isn’t tempting enough, here are the top items Good Buy Gear is always in need of, as they are the hottest sellers on the website.  If you are getting ready to rid your house of any of these goods, think Good Buy Gear before you do anything!

Parents are just too darn busy to be dealing with all the time consuming steps of selling your unused kid gear anywhere else. Let Good Buy Gear do the work for you, so you can save time for more important things. Sign up here for your White Glove pickup service today.

Endometriosis, Miscarriage, IVF and the Walk of Hope

Trigger warning: This post contains a personal account of a woman who has had endometriosis, IFV and miscarriages. 

My husband, Tyler, and I knew we wanted to be young parents. Tyler was 22 when we got married, and I was 24. I know that seems very young to most people, but it felt very right for us. We got married and instantly started trying for a baby. Within a year, we knew something was wrong. We watched two of Tyler’s brothers have babies during that time. I found it difficult to hide my pain and then felt guilty when I should be rejoicing in their joy.  We casually started seeing a fertility clinic in May 2015. I told my husband that we would just do some tests, make sure everything was working down there. One of the first tests they did on me was a hysterosalpingogram test (or an HSG test). From that, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, which explained everything. But, when I missed my period the next month, I just knew.

I made myself wait a week to take the pregnancy test. I woke up on a Tuesday morning, armed and ready with that pregnancy test at 5 a.m. I launched into bed to tell my husband, “I’m pregnant!” I felt so relieved that all of that worry was for nothing – all I needed was a painful uterine test to open up my tubes, right? Three days later, I was in the parking lot of Walgreens, waiting on my Stage Four Breast Cancer Mom to get her prescriptions, when I felt the miscarriage happening. I rushed home and called the doctor. I had to tell my dying mother that I was pregnant but miscarrying all at the same time. It was Father’s Day weekend. My husband was devastated. We kept on pushing. Everyone told me, “you’re most fertile after you’re pregnant,” and “stop trying, that’s when you’ll get pregnant!” 

We began the rounds of Clomid and IUI’s, both of which I thought were so expensive (HAH, just wait, Stephanie!). After three failed IUI’s, we knew it was time to begin the big, scary IVF. My first egg retrieval in April 2016 started out beautifully. We retrieved 26 eggs and 13 of them fertilized. I made jokes with my husband that we were going to have to pay extra for the genetic testing on account of having so many. But when I got that phone call five days later saying that all but one had stopped growing, my heart sank. We sent it in for genetic testing, and it came back abnormal. I didn’t want to have another miscarriage, so we didn’t implant the embryo. My doctor said it was either an egg health problem, or that Tyler and I combined just make unhealthy embryos. How can this man that I love so much be incompatible to me reproductively?

So we began to move forward just like we had always been doing; it felt natural to just keep moving on. We paid for IVF again, and made a plan with our doctor to do a few months of an intense vitamin regimen paired with acupuncture treatments, and then we would repeat the egg retrieval. I was hopeful that we would have more embryos this time. I went crazy researching the food that I should be eating to best improve my egg health. During those months, the unthinkable happened. I took my mom to the hospital for the final time. While she was on life support, she couldn’t speak. But she tried to tell me, “don’t wait.” She died ten days later, and I knew she was finally in heaven holding my first baby.  

In October of 2016, we moved forward with our second egg retrieval. This time we retrieved 31 eggs, but only 8 of them fertilized. It was an instant heartache. I waited for that phone call five days later to see how many made it to that crucial blastocyst stage. And yet again, my heart broke at the news of only one embryo that made it. I instantly went to the negative and said, “I’ll send it in for genetic testing, but I’m not keeping my hopes up.” It was happening all over again. I was about to be proven so wrong.

I was at home when I got the phone call that we had a healthy embryo. I was so excited, I didn’t even think to ask for the gender until a few weeks later – it was a boy. My husband and I had argued about a hundred different girl names. But long before we were even married, we knew the one name that we wanted to name our son – Beau. I had the most beautiful pregnancy with Beau. Yes, it was full of fear. I got past the 12-week mark – the week that my sister-in-law miscarried her baby. I got past the 19-week mark – the week that a girl from my church had miscarried her twins. I got past the 26-week mark – the week that my friend lost her baby to preeclampsia. I started to finally breathe a little even though I had been diagnosed with complete placenta previa. When the doctor said it had cleared at my 32-week appointment, I went from thinking I was going to be having a C-section to knowing I would have to deliver. I had a five minute panic attack, and then settled on being excited about it. At 40 weeks and two days, at midnight, I woke up to a pool of blood. My husband had just been coming to bed. I wasn’t thinking straight and told him to call our doctor. Luckily he WAS thinking straight and called 911. The ambulance arrived and decided I would be better off being taken to a different, closer, hospital where I was not supposed to deliver. The hospital where my mother passed away.

The next 24 hours were a blur. We went from thinking that I was about to lose the baby, to settling down and being told by the doctor that everything was okay and I could be induced and wait to deliver. We had plenty of visitors that day while I lied in bed waiting to be told that I was ready to push. Finally around 4 p.m., I was told it was time to push. Within the first couple pushes, my nurse knew Beau was turned the wrong way. He was almost 9 pounds, and it wasn’t going to be easy to get him out. We tried every trick in the book to get him to turn. He kept descending, but not turning. Hours in, I screamed and cried to my doctor that I just could not do it. She told me to calm down, focus on pushing “correctly” and he could be there in the next 20 minutes. She told me that he was so far down now that a C-section would be difficult. To me, difficult meant dangerous, so I agreed to go on with her plan. She even had me take a nap because I was so exhausted from pushing.

But after I woke up and we tried pushing for another hour, she decided it was time for a C-section. I had been pushing for 7 hours. My husband told our families that Beau would be here within the hour now and that we were heading to the OR. It was then that the unthinkable happened. They lost Beau’s heartbeat on the way to the OR. We went from having a C-section to needing an emergency C-section. I screamed as I could feel every bit of pressure as they dug him out of me. I heard the anesthesiologist say in my ear, “baby’s here!” I realized it was too quiet, I couldn’t hear him crying like you see in the movies. I was too exhausted to speak. Within seconds, I passed out. I woke up and looked across the room to see an OR nurse sobbing. I found my voice and asked her “what happened?” She moved to the side, and I see my husband holding Beau, crying harder than I have ever seen my husband cry. A doctor behind me told me, “I’m so sorry, we lost the baby.” This is a moment I relive daily. I started screaming, “no!” Within hours, everything that we had worked so hard for, paid for in literal blood, given up our home and moved in with our parents for, we lost. We find ourselves constantly bargaining, thinking about what moment we could have changed to still have Beau with us. He was an incredibly healthy baby who died because my placenta tore away from the wall and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.

So, we aren’t sure what we could have changed. The following weeks, I found myself thinking about our next steps for having another baby. Because that’s what I had always done. I received bad news – miscarriage, infertility, unsuccessful treatments – and I would just put on my brave pants and keep moving forward. It all reality, it was insane; I was insane. I needed to grieve. I needed to allow my husband and I time to process the loss of our miracle baby. So, we have been taking that time. We speak of Beau as often as we can handle, we visit his gravesite, and we try to have fun. We try to remember that we are still in our twenties and we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. We have decided on adoption. The thought of getting pregnant again is too terrifying to process. I almost died the night we lost Beau and my husband isn’t willing to risk that again. But we need to heal and come to complete agreement together first. And we need to pick up the pieces of our life. We are no longer financially in a position to adopt because we spent everything we had and then some to finance IVF. Throughout my fight with infertility, my pregnancy and loss of Beau, I kept one quote from C.S Lewis in my mind. “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” So, we are parents in the waiting. Waiting for our baby on Earth. Waiting to be brought back to our babies in Heaven. Those are the things worth waiting for.

-Stephanie, Mommy in Waiting

*Are you or someone you know impacted by infertility?  Have you heard about the Colorado Walk of Hope?  This is it’s 4th year in Colorado!  The Walk of Hope on June 23rd at 9 a.m. in Cornerstone Park in Englewood is a fundraising & awareness event that brings together women & men living with infertility & the people & businesses that support them. The Walk includes those who are still on their journey & need support, & those who have built their families – whether through treatment, adoption or living childfree – & provides inspiration & hope.  You can get the details about the 2018 Colorado Walk of Hope by visiting www.resolve.org/cowalk

Healthy Food Access in Colorado: How Sun Valley Kitchen is Helping (and You Can, Too)

Your kids are famished after a long day of school so you slice an apple and chop some cucumbers, carrots and broccoli (with some Ranch dressing for dipping, of course!) Your kitchen is wafting with the aroma of chicken and root vegetables cooking in your Crockpot. It is a visual as well as a satisfying feast.

But how many of us take having access to healthy food for granted?

 Imagine what it would be like if you had did not have a car and had to rely on public transportation or walked to the nearest grocery store.  Nearly 300,000 Colorado households are low income and have limited access to grocery stores within close proximity. Nationally, low-income zip codes have 30 percent more convenience stores, which tend to lack healthy items and 23.5 million people cannot access a supermarket within one mile of their home. 

The statistics are sobering enough but what it is it like to be a mom who lives with this struggle?

Cassy is a Denver mom of four who lives in Sun Valley, one of Central Denver’s poorest neighborhoods. She remembers when she was young that they wouldn’t have any food in their house except a loaf of bread and sugar. They’d make toast as their meals. Sometime they were just living off water.

Sun Valley Kitchen is striving to change this.  We sat down with founder Glenn Harper and Cassy to ask about healthy food access and what is being done to help our fellow Coloradoans obtain fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price.

Tell us about the lack of access to healthy food in Sun Valley

Sun Valley is a food desert. There are no grocery stores nearby. Many families in Sun Valley do not have vehicles so rely on public transportation or walking which makes it even more challenging to have access to food. There used to be a Family Dollar in the neighborhood but it was recently torn down due to the expansion of Federal Boulevard. All that is left in the neighborhood is 7-Eleven.

Why is it important for people to know more about it?

Families who do not have obstacles in obtaining fresh food don’t know what it’s like to not be able to provide their children a healthy diet. Not having access to fresh fruits and vegetables along with other healthy food items means many times relying on prepackaged unhealthy options. This impacts a child’s ability to thrive, grow and learn. It can also create trauma in a child’s life.

What is the Sun Valley Kitchen?

The Sun Valley Kitchen serves as a neighborhood community center. We facilitate a bi-weekly No Cost Grocery Program (food pantry) in partnership with the Denver Food Rescue. Food from grocery stores that would otherwise be disposed of is brought to our location and then immediately made available to residents. We receive an abundant amount of fresh fruits and vegetables along with eggs, milk, bread and prepared items. We also partner with other food rescue organizations and receive generous donations from food-related businesses.

We prepare dinner for neighborhood youth Monday through Friday, typically serving 35-40 meals each evening. We also offer cooking classes for neighborhood children and youth.

Cassy says, “My family is eating healthier and trying new vegetables. I’ve learned how to cook an artichoke and how to make butter out of cream. Recently I replaced rice with purple cauliflower.”

How can improving access to healthy food make an impact in a neighborhood? 

Having access to healthy food reduces stress in a neighborhood. Being able to have a healthy diet means developing a strong body and mind which encourages learning and better decision making. But most importantly after having access to healthy food, the No Cost Grocery Program has deepened relationships within our community.

Recently a young boy from our neighborhood told me that their family didn’t have any food (family of eight – two adults and kids ranging from infant to high school). We were able to send him home with a box of healthy food – some fresh and some prepared. He shared with me that the week before there had been no food in the house for an entire weekend.

Cassy agrees that improving access to healthy food has brought their neighborhood together. “It’s nice to know you’re not the only one struggling with food. People with all different backgrounds and ethnicities are in the same situation. Having access to healthy food creates community.”

What Can I Do?

A lack of healthy food access does not just impact many Sun Valley residents, it impacts us all. The American Heart Association is working with community partners to help spread the word. Go to http://yourethecure.org/healthyfoodaccessco for more information. Find Sun Valley Kitchen on Instagram, Facebook and check-out their GoFundMe Campaign.

 

 

Denver Summer Camp Guide 2018

2019 Summer Camp Guide Coming Soon!

To advertise, contact us at themilehighmamas@gmail.com

Summer camp season is upon us!  To help you navigate the many wonderful camps in Denver, we have compiled a Colorado Summer Camp Guide for 2018.  In addition to this directory, we will be featuring a variety of Denver camps over the next few months that give a more in-depth glimpse of camp life so keep checking in.  Also, don’t procrastinate–many spots are filling up quickly!

Camp Categories

Arts Camps (music, dance, etc.)

Academic Camps

Outdoor Camps

General Camps

Sports Camps

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Mad Science

Are you looking for a fun, educational way to keep your child learning while school is out this summer? Unleash your child’s inner scientist with Mad Science Summer Camps! With 10 unique camp themes, 30 camp locations, and half- and full-day availability throughout the summer, Mad Science offers a variety of camp options for children ages 6-11! For over 20 years, Mad Science has been bringing exciting, hands-on science programs to thousands of children across Colorado. Mad Science camps offer a daily combination of in-class discovery, physical activities, fun take-home projects and hands-on applications of the scientific principles presented! From biology, forensics and astronomy to chemistry, physics, engineering and more, elementary-aged campers are invited to explore a wide range of exciting concepts with Mad Science! Please visit us online at www.colorado.madscience.org for a complete schedule and more information!

Play-Well

Play-Well offers LEGO®-Inspired engineering summer camps that explore STEM concepts through hands on learning with LEGO®. Dream it, Build it, Wreck it, Repeat! Choose from themes like robotics, minecraft, star wars, ninjago, batman and more! We also offer Girl-Powered camps that inspire the next generation of Women in STEM! Let your child’s imagination soar with tens of thousands of LEGO in each camp! Our programs are designed by engineers and refined by teachers but the campers just think it’s fun! Our camps are great for grades K – 8 with locations across the Denver metro area including Denver Jewish Day School, Bill Robert’s K – 8 School, Denver Parks and Rec, International School of Denver and more. We also host camps all across the state of Colorado. What will your child build this summer?  http://play-well.org

Engineering for Kids

High Quality Tech Camps don’t have to cost an arm and a leg!  Engineering for Kids is offering the best in Tech Camps for our fifth year in the Streets of SouthGlenn, Centennial, CO.  Owned and operated by experienced Engineers, we are excited to inspire the next generation of innovators!  Our focus this summer is to create the foundations that enable continued learning, therefore, many camps will include a TAKE-HOME STEM product (such as a Sphero robot, a mini Micro:Bit computer, or an online programming subscription to Code Kingdom.)  Camps are week long, full day, 8:30am – 3:30pm, with after care available until 5:30pm.  Enroll in age appropriate programs for kids 1st – 8th grade.  Camps include:  Minecraft Modding, Sphero Robotics, EV3 Robotics, Coding with Micro:bits, and Aerospace Engineering. Promotion:  Enroll by April 15 and get $25 off – Coupon Code:  MAMAS25 engineeringforkids.com

Keystone Science School

Keystone Science School hosts a wide variety of programs including overnight, adventure, and day camps which all combine Science, Adventure, & FUN! Our flagship program is our traditional overnight camp known as Discovery Camp. Every Discovery Camp session includes a backpacking overnight, challenge hike, team-building activities, and traditional songs by the campfire. Campers can also choose from two Adventure based programs known as Keystone Voyagers or Keystone Mountain Adventures. As a Keystone Voyager, campers mountain bike, rock climb, day hike, or whitewater raft before finishing their night around the campfire. Keystone Mountain Adventures is our wildest adventure program where campers spend the majority of their time in the backcountry while backpacking and exploring National Parks around the mountain west. Our Day Camp programs are all based in Keystone, Colorado and each weeklong session has it’s own programmatic theme. We incorporate creative activities, teambuilding, and investigative learning into each day. keystonescienceschool.org

iD Tech 

iD Tech is the #1 summer STEM program for kids and teens! Ages 7-18 learn to code, design video games, mod Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, print 3D characters, work with AI and machine learning, build laptops, learn about cybersecurity, and more! Weeklong summer programs held at University of Denver, Mile High Academy, CU Boulder, Stanford, MIT, and 150+ universities nationwide. This summer, your child can explore a prestigious campus, make new friends as they master new tech skills, and join a community of 350,000 alumni. With world-class instructors and innovative courses in coding, game development, robotics, and design, our programs instill in-demand skills that embolden students to shape the future. iD Tech Camps (weeklong, co-ed, 7-17), Alexa Café (weeklong, all-girls, 10-15), and iD Tech Academies (2-week, teen-only, 13-18). Receive $75 off when you register with code MILEHIGH18 before 5/31/18! Courses sell-out quickly, so get started today at https://www.idtech.com/locations/colorado-summer-camps/university-of-denver or call (888) 709-8324 for personalized course recommendations.

Cal-Wood’s Summer of Edventure

 

Cal-Wood is a place for adventure – only 20 miles west of Boulder in Jamestown, CO! Summer days are spent exploring our forests, meadows, creeks, and historical sites while making new friends and bonding with old. Campers will learn to embrace the mountains whether they are spending their nights in a quaint log cabin by the main lodge, sleeping under the stars in a tent on a beautiful remote piece of Cal-Wood’s land, or venturing out into local Colorado wilderness on a multi-day backpacking trip. This summer, we are focused on what Cal-Wood does best – that magical combination of original experiential education and true, authentic, Colorado mountain adventure. Add wholesome, traditional camp fun, an amazing staff and modern youth development principals – this summer will offer something very special that you and child will cherish for a long, long time. Join us for the Summer of Edventure 2018!

Camp Chautauqua

Located at the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, Camp Chautauqua is an enriching experience designed to help children ages 6-13 tap into their potential and creativity, release their spirit of adventure, forge a stronger connection to nature, and develop important leadership skills. Campers team up with counselors from Watson University and Wild Bear Nature Center where they will learn the power of story-telling, how to use their strengths to lead and communicate with others, the importance of connecting with nature, and how to interact with others. And they learn it all while having loads of FUN during action packed weeks of games, arts and crafts, hiking, challenge courses, wilderness skills and much more! Camps offered for full day, morning sessions, afternoon sessions or mix and match as you wish. To learn more, email info@chautauqua.com or call 303.440.7666.

Little Girl Smiling at the camera in Campground

Colorado Adventure Point

Discover your passion for urban adventure with our Mile High Adventure Camp! Campers will have the opportunity to explore some of the most exciting and historic areas in Denver and surrounding areas. Not only will your child get to experience outdoor rock climbing with our qualified Adventure Instructors, they also will explore museums while learning about different cultures, art, astronomy, animals and more! Pick up and drop off will take place at Colorado Adventure Point, and each day will be a new field trip.

STEM Adventure Camp offers a week of dynamic adventures plus hands on experiments in the fields of chemistry, biology, and physics inspired by the show MythBusters. Each day, campers will work together to solve challenging experiments designed to teach scientific thinking, ethical decision making, and leadership skills. In addition, youth will have the opportunity to experience thrilling Adventure Zones as they learn about rock climbing, archery, and more! Go to coloradoadventurepoint.org for more information. 

YMCA of Boulder Valley Summer Camps

YMCA of Boulder Valley Summer Camps foster curiosity, celebrate friendship and encourage children to expand their idea of what’s possible. Our campers explore nature, swim and create, try new activities, develop new interests, unplug from technology and gain independence while making friendships that last a lifetime. YMCA of Boulder Valley Summer Day Camps include traditional camps — YMCA Camp S’more Fun and the nature-based YMCA Camp Elks — as well as Y World of Sports Camps, Y Riders Cycling Camps, STEAMrollers Camps, teen leadership camp and field trip-focused teen camps. Our day camps are located throughout the community in Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior and Longmont. YMCA Camp Santa Maria in Bailey offers an incredible resident camp experience in the heart of the Rockies. This overnight camp provides children with opportunities to try archery, paddleboard and kayak, hike and explore, swim, build gnome homes and find a community around our campfire. ymcabv.org/summer-camps

Colorado Watersports Summer Camps

Colorado Watersports is a weeklong watersports adventure day camps for kids 5-14. Kids will experience sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more, all levels of experience are welcome and there is lots of room for kids to explore and challenge themselves with the skills they develop over the week. The camps are organized by age and ability, so each camper can get the most out of their experience. We focus on providing each child with a unique, challenging, and of course fun watersports adventure! All of our equipment and activities can be tailored to your camper’s level of skill and comfort.  We are located in the largest no wake zone at Chatfield Reservoir, so parents can relax knowing the area is safe from the congestion of the main lake. SAFETY FIRST is our moto! All participant wears life jackets/ whistles and our counselors are training in water safety and weather protocol. www.coloradowatersports.com

Silicon STEM Academy

Silicon STEM Academy voted Colorado’s #1 STEM Camps and #1 Academic Enrichment by Colorado Parent Magazine Readers in 2017, offers a wide selection of STEM Summer Camps in Programming, Robotics, Electronics, Game Design & Digital Media. Kids LOVE our camps, like Minecraft Modding, Lego Robotics, Coding 101, Stop-Motion Animation, Sumo Bots and more! Parents LOVE that their kids’ minds stay engaged during the summer while they’re having a great time! Silicon STEM summer camps are now in 4 Denver metro locations: Our flagship campus in SE Denver; plus satellite locations at Regis Jesuit HS,  Graland Country Day School and Mackintosh Academy in Littleton. Silicon STEM Academy is different from the big out-of-state STEM camp companies because we’re local, affordable and here all year round for kids with a passion for STEM! Check out our After-School Enrichment courses, Spring Break Camps, Friday Game Nights, and Workshops, too! www.siliconstemacademy.com

HAT Summer Camps

Fun, action-packed, convenient summer tennis camps in Denver, Colorado for kids 6-18 years old. Check out what tennis mom Kelly from Denver had to say about HAT Summer Camps: “Far surpasses anything we have encountered in a youth sports program… an amazing experience!” And here is what student Hana from South Denver had to say: “Everyone at HAT is amazing, like my second family!” Rated 5 stars on Yelp and 5 stars on Facebook. 2% of summer registrations are donated to help Nabbosa, a mother in Africa, stay out of poverty. To register or to learn more about Nabbosa visit www.HAT-Tennis.com today!

Talk to the Camera

Calling all superheroes, zombies, princesses, stuntmen and more! Want your kids to get creative and have fun this summer? Kids dream, write, create, film, act in and produce movies and videos! Talk to the Camera is Colorado’s first on-camera movie and video making classes and Camps. Our professional editors will prepare and publish your child’s videos to our website shortly after the camp. All camps are taught by industry professionals. For kids Ages 6-17. We offer week long summer camps, Monday to Friday, in half day and full day formats. Our sessions are held at several Denver-Metro area locations in Denver, Evergreen, Golden, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Lone Tree and Parker. Early bird discount until April 15 for our camps at AEC Studios in Denver! Find out more www.talktothecamera.com.

 

Play-Well

Play-Well offers LEGO®-Inspired engineering summer camps that explore STEM concepts through hands on learning with LEGO®. Dream it, Build it, Wreck it, Repeat! Choose from themes like robotics, minecraft, star wars, ninjago, batman and more! They also offer Girl-Powered camps that inspire the next generation of Women in STEM. Let your child’s imagination soar with tens of thousands of LEGO in each camp. Their programs are designed by engineers and refined by teachers but the campers just think it’s fun. Their camps are great for grades K – 8. What will your child build this summer?  play-well.org

How This Boulder Mom Is Helping You Find a Babysitter…Fast!

We’ve all been there. You have a big event and your babysitter cancels or you need a last-minute mental-health break, but trying to get one of your regular sitters brings on a bigger headache. Where do you turn?

 What is Sitter?

Sitter.me is here to help. Sitter is an app developed by Boulder mom, Kristen Stiles. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your babysitting needs. Use the app to book your own babysitters hassle-free, share important notes including bedtime routines and emergency contacts, and even pay your sitter at the end of the night. Regular sitters not available? Find new sitters through friends or access professionally screened nannies with the new Sitter Platinum membership.

 What does “professional screening” provide?

Sitter has partnered with Adventure Nannies, a premier APNA-certified agency, to provide Denver & Boulder parents with access to amazing nannies for their occasional babysitting needs.

 Having APNA certification means the agency is one of the most established in the country and follows rigorous standards for childcare provider screening. APNA agencies are experts in finding the best nannies and sitters and have done all the work for you, including:

  • Background Checks (national and county criminal checks, sex offender registry check, social security validation, watchlist check)
  • Professional Reference Checks
  • Education Verification
  • Internet Screening (including social media)
  • Face-to-Face Interviews

 And now, Sitter Platinum users can book these incredible nannies too.

 What is Sitter Platinum?

Sitter Platinum is Sitter’s newest plan. With Sitter Platinum, you can:

  • Find professionally screened nannies for your occasional needs
  • Book and pay any sitter you use
  • Connect with friends and see the sitters they recommend
  • Manage all critical family information including emergency contacts, allergies, media restrictions and more.

 To ensure that there are enough nannies available to meet the demand, Sitter is limiting the Platinum Membership program to 50 annual memberships at this time. They would like to extend an invitation to join to Mile High Mamas readers.

Sign up today! Click here.