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Mama Drama: Morning Routines and Evening Hysteria

Dear Mama Drama:
Every morning we struggle with my five-year-old son to get him ready for school and out of the house on time. He needs lots of one on one support to complete even the most basic tasks such as getting dressed. He can’t remember what to do next and often stops to play with toys or sing the song on the radio.
~Tired of running late

Dear Tired:
Many children need extra support getting through their morning routine. When we stop to think about all the small steps involved, it can be quite daunting. As adults we have practiced these routines thousands of times throughout our lives. Our children are often still figuring out what each step is and how to keep track of it all.

Creating a visual schedule for your child is a great place to start. You can use pictures of your son doing each activity, clip art, pictures from the web or cut out of magazines. Add captions or directions with the picture even if your child does not read well yet. Start with the basics such as getting dressed, bathroom routine, and heading out the door. Then break these down into the steps they require. Having separate charts for each of these tasks helps to keep it simple.

An example is

Making “A Day Made Better” For One Lucky Teacher!

We could all use a better day sometimes. Recently, a Littleton teacher’s day was made better thanks to Office Max and MomItForward. The “A Day Made Better” program is wrapping up this week as it has spanned the country, surprising teachers with huge boxes of classroom supplies and some with $1,000 gift cards! Their lofty and worthy goal is to put an end to teacher-funded classrooms.

Mrs. Suzanne Speir of Ralph Moody Elementary in Littleton Public Schools received her surprise on Tuesday, September 29. Barb Likos, the local representative for Mom It Forward, made arrangements to deliver the box. Ralph Moody’s principal, Doug Andrews, with thrilled with the presentation and full of “thank yous” to all involved.

Mrs. Speir was nearly speechless, but told us, “I never win anything!” She was extremely gracious considering the disruption to her classroom.

Of course, the children in Mrs. Speir’s first grade class might have been the most excited of all. They couldn’t wait to dig through the box bursting with markers, folders, pens and pencils, push pins, and much much more.

Mom It Forward (MIF) is an organization based on a simple principle: together, moms can make a difference. By partnering with organizations like Office Max that support cause driven marketing campaigns, MIF can reach a greater number of moms, children, and communities. Our very own Mile High Mamas recently partnered with MIF and A Day Made Better at the Warwick Hotel on September 10. Bloggers and friends joined together to donate items to the program as well as collecting monetary donations. And poor us, we even had fun doing it.

As always, Mile High Mamas is working to make the most of our influence.

Colorado Moms Voice Their Opinions About President Obama’s Speech to Schoolchildren

In case you have been living under a rock, President Obama will address the nation’s children at noon today from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va. I first heard about the the debate that is swirling around his speech as I listened to NPR’s riveting social commentary in the car.

OK, so it was a call-in session on alternative rock station Alice 105.9. Don’t let that impact my street cred.

My first thought was that these opposing people were crazy. I incredulously posted on Facebook about how could anyone object to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES trying to encourage our children to stay in school?

And then the plot thickened because I heard back from so many of you:

Gretchen White of LifeNut said:

I have no problem at all with the president giving a pep talk to kids about doing well in school. Other presidents have made similar addresses to students, and I think it’s harmless and important for kids to feel all levels of our elected representatives are friendly and accessible.

It is the after-speech curriculum/teaching plans that made the needle skip off my record.

I don’t understand why they must return to their classrooms to hear books read about Obama, brainstorm how they must help Obama, recall Obama’s historic moments and speeches, and think about what Obama should say in his next speech to them (interrupting an-already planned school day, again?) If Bush had done this? Uproar, and everyone knows it.

Jenna of Mom in Progress asserts:

For our children to be privileged to see their president on live television speaking to them in a personal way seems like something any parent should be glad for. Doing it in the evening is going to miss so many students, and perhaps the ones who would benefit most from hearing such a message. When did we become so cynical to think that the main reason for our president to address school-aged students is to bolster his own political agenda? Are we so jaded as to think that he would have no good intentions for the future of the country that he loves enough to serve in the highest position?

Chris of MaMa Bird’s Blog said:

Obama Speech Divides Parents

President Barack Obama’s plan to address the nation’s students during the school day Tuesday has polarized parents over whether it’s OK for their kids to listen to the speech.

On one side are parents who say the webcast speech to K-12 students is “political recruiting” and “spreading the liberal agenda.”

On the other are those who say listening to presidential speeches is an important part of American culture and the education process.

The White House officially announced the speech Wednesday morning, and the U.S. Department of Education followed up with a letter to school principals and a lesson plan for discussing the talk. The White House said the speech will address the importance of studying and staying in school.

Most metro-area districts passed information about the speech on to their schools Wednesday afternoon, asking principals to send the information home with students that same day.

But word of the address leaked out early and spread rapidly online and on talk radio, and some parents reacted strongly to the perceived motive for the speech.

School districts in the metro area immediately began fielding phone calls and e-mails from parents.

Many wanted more information about Obama’s agenda, but others reacted angrily and threatened to

Join in on Labor Day Lunches to Promote Child Nutrition Act

Slow Food chapters in Denver, Boulder and other Colorado towns will host community potlucks Monday to promote passage of a Child Nutrition Act demanding healthy, nutritious foods in schools. The “Eat In” is part of Slow Food’s national day of action urging change in school lunch programs, including more funding, better quality food and nutritional education.

Denver: Fairmont Dual Immersion Academy, 520 W. Third Ave., noon-3 p.m. youth farmers market. Bring a lunch and hear speakers from Denver Public Schools, Denver Urban Gardens and Operation Frontline.

Boulder: Old Courthouse Lawn, 1325 Pearl Street on the mall, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Gardening activities, food by Culinary School of the Rockies students, local food activists and a bluegrass band.

For more locations, go to slowfoodusa.org, and click on “Local Chapters.”

-Denver Post

My daughter is embarking on the worst year of my life

Seventh grade was the worst year of my life.

It started well enough, I believe. On the first day of school, I wore my 501s and a Hunt Club shirt from JCPenney’s. My mom wouldn’t buy real polo shirts, so I had to settle for a close knock-off. I still felt good about myself. My hair was probably lightly feathered. My Goody comb was new. I was a fan of Duran Duran. What could go wrong?

I thought I was ready for junior high—The lockers, the P.E. uniform, being in school with real live teenagers with braces and rumors of french kissing and french kissing WITH braces and did you hear about the kids whose braces got stuck?

I looked forward to choosing electives, rotating classes, and more demanding homework. I couldn’t wait to run a mile every Friday, join the orchestra, and dissect a grasshopper. I was eager. I was innocent.

Maybe that was the first indication my social world was about die the death of 1,000 molten suns?

Find back-to-school (and other) savings in cyberspace

Have you finished your back-to-school shopping? Even if you’re finished or are getting a late start, we have some great tips to help you skip that dreaded store-aisle tug-of-war over the latest fashions and supplies. Shop in cyberspace.

Michelle Madhok, founder of MomFinds.com, says shopping online can save money — and sanity.

“Do online ‘window shopping’ with your child, and get a sense of what he or she wants,” Madhok advises. “Afterward, you can use search engines and coupon sites to find the best deals.” And deals are what parents are looking for, according to the National Retail Federation. The federation’s 2009 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reveals that parents will be spending less and bargain-shopping more than in years past.

“Americans will be looking far and wide for the best back-to-school deals, using newspaper ads, online promotion codes and a lot of comparison shopping before making decisions,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for BIGresearch, the company that conducted the survey.

Luckily, there are plenty of sites designed to help thrifty parents do just that. Search engine Pronto.com finds the best deals on kids’ and teens’ clothing from Nautica, Roxy, Candie’s and other hot labels.

At Rather-Be-Shopping.com, bargain hunters can find discount codes for more than 500 e-tailers, including Old Navy, Gap, Aeropostale and American Eagle Outfitters.

In spite of the name, Cleverbabies.com posts the latest sale information, coupon codes and bargains on big-kid fashions as well as baby items. FreeShipping.org is a destination for online consumers seeking the no-charge shipping deals offered by close to 1,000 online retailers.

Your Opinion: Kindergarten Woes in Jefferson County

My daughter will start kindergarten next Monday. I dreamed of this day during those sleepless nights with my colicky newborn. I envisioned how I would drop her off with a hug and a kiss each morning and spend my day pretending to be human again.

I thought I might even take a shower to celebrate.

I registered Hadley a few weeks ago and my reaction was very different from what I had imagined: I was annoyed.

I’m not perturbed with her or the school but rather the entire system. I had originally enrolled her in full-day classes. Those children have all the benefits of extended learning designed to further their young minds both creatively and academically.

But then the recession hit and the financial fall-out ensued. My husband and I started our own web development business during it all and we decided we could not justify the extra cost incurred with full-day kindergarten, along with paying for our son’s preschool.

Our situation frustrates me. Why, in what is professed to be the public school system, are we paying for these services?

Colorado Children’s Consignment Sale Fall Schedule

Back-to-school shopping does not have to break the bank. That’s why Colorado’s children’s consignment sales are a fantastic solution for saving money.

For those not in the know, these semi-annual consignment extravaganzas feature children’s clothing from newborn to size 12, maternity clothing, car seats, cribs, bedding, feeding supplies, high chairs, potty chairs, bouncy chairs, swings, strollers, toys, books, videos, etc. at a fraction of the cost. Most of the sales have a nominal entrance fee and have half-price deals on the final day.

And did I mention killer deals?

So. forward this link to your friends and make a day – or month – out of hitting the following sales together….

August 14 and 15
Just Between Friends Highlands Ranch
Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (half-price sale)
Where: East Building at the Denver Christian School
http://highlandsranch.jbfsale.com/

August 14-16
Serendipity Sale
Friday 6 – 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sunday 9a.m.- noon (half-price day)
Where: The Ranch, 5280 Arena Circle, Loveland
http://www.serendipitysale.com/home

August 15

Stapleton parents frustrated, meet to discuss lack of school funding

Hundreds of Stapleton families, many with kids in tow, turned out Wednesday evening to a community meeting at Bill Roberts K-8 to demand another school be built in the neighborhood.

Stapleton’s two elementary schools are filled to capacity, and a baby boom is expected to bring even more children, but there is no funding for a new school.

Moms and dads looking for answers from officials from Denver Public Schools, the city and the developer filled the school’s gymnasium, sitting in the bleachers, in chairs and on the floor.

What they heard was a lesson in tax-increment financing, the tricky science of forecasting future pupils and the problems of the current economy. Audience members also wrote down questions that were fielded by a panel of officials.

“I was frustrated that I heard no solutions,” said Sarah Deatherage, a mother of two children younger than 3 who is looking into private schools or possibly moving.

“We didn’t hear where they will get the money, where they will send our kids if they can’t get in or what they are going to do,” she said.

Construction in Stapleton occurs under tax-increment financing — a funding tool that uses future tax gains to pay for current improvements.

However, the faltering economy has slowed