31 January 2007

Marsupial Madness

In the midst of a mile-long (and not-getting any shorter) to-do list, I received an intriguing press release from Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch. They're expecting a little bundle of kangaroo joy to arrive soon, and they want your child to name it.

You only have until Friday (Feb. 2) to enter your nomination, so think fast! Email your nomination for the name, your name, child's name and age to sharkarosa@sharkarosa.com

The winner will be invited out to the ranch to play with and bottle feed the little joey, which, as you can tell from my picture, is every bit as fun as it sounds!

Now, back to the magazine madness...


29 January 2007

Monkey See...Monkey do

One of the many things I love about being a “creative” at the office is the fact that “creatives” are allowed to be more casual and expressive with their clothing than their client-calling ad rep and admin counterparts. This may mean jeans and a beefy-t for some, or leggings and layered tees from the likes of Splendid, Vince or James Perse for others. Occasionally I’ll feel the need to dress up a bit, but most days, I’m more than content to be in a relaxed and “creative” state of clothing.

The great thing about this type of wardrobe is that it’s mama-friendly, and not to mention COMFORTABLE. Stay-at-home moms can wear it while tracking down their tottering toddler for naptime, and working moms can wear it to basketball games and practices on the weekends. It’s a versatile alternative to track-suits and windbreakers for women of many ages and walks of life.

Little girls often look up to their mommies and want to be just like them – in everything. I’m not an advocate of mommy-daughter dressing, but these days the “big girl” designers are offering a teeny version for little ones that is more endearing than embarrassing. Splendid now has a child line available at Neiman Marcus NorthPark, with designs and styles just as cute as their big girl line. In fact, our FortWorthChild covergirl, sported a Splendid Littles long-sleeve tee with a Seven Jeans skirt on the cover of our January 07 issue.

Still comfortable and girly, these mini-versions of mama’s clothes allow girls to still be girls without the frilly dresses and ruffled socks to go under those patent leather Mary Janes. I still don’t advocate matchy-matchy dressing, but with the vast array of choices on both sides of the size chart, there’s not even a temptation.


25 January 2007

No Spanks?

A California politician is planning to introduce a bill this week that would make it illegal for parents to spank their children who are under age 4. If passed, California would be the first state to make swatting a small child a crime.

What do you think? Would you support such a bill in Texas? Let me know your thoughts by participating in our online poll at www.dallaschild.com or www.fortworthchild.com.
Want to say more? Send me an e-mail at senior.editor@dallaschild.com.

23 January 2007

The “Write” Resolution

OK, OK, it’s the end of January and I know we’re all bored with the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions. But, after a heart-to-heart chat with my mom the other day, I just had to share one more tidbit.

In August, I posted an entry titled “Forever Alma,” which detailed my desire to find some way to connect with my grandma (Alma) who is battling dementia (her diagnosis has since been changed to Alzheimer’s). I decided to write to her each week. I was filled with the naive notion that I could somehow reach through the dense fog that now clouds her memory and grab hold of the wonderful woman I once knew.

My idealistic notion may not have been so far after all.

My mom visited my grandparents over the holidays and out of a string of Christmas cards, my grandma pointed to one and said, “That’s from Tessa, she writes to me all the time.”

I know she doesn’t know me anymore, but somehow she knows that I write to her, that I care and that means more to me than anything else possibly could.

There is power in writing to the ones we love. Notes in our children’s lunchboxes, stickies on the bathroom mirror for our spouse, lengthy letters to long-lost friends … taking the time to jot a quick thought to say you care can bring about amazing things.

So, whom will you write to today?

much love~

P.s. I’ve already started penning notes to my unborn baby and I get teary eyed each time I read the words. My first letter is appearing in our February issue, be sure to pick one up on stands the first of next month.

22 January 2007

Listen To Your Heart

It's almost that time again- Time for Medical City's monthly "Ask A Specialist" community health event, Saturday, Feb. 10 from 8-11 a.m. at White Rock Lake.

This month's event will feature heart health information and is scheduled strategically to coincide with National Heart Month. "Ask A Specialist" events are intedned to bring good, reliable medical info out into the community and provide an informal forum for getting your health questions answered without an appointment.

Medical City Heart not only has a renowned heart transplant program, but also was recently honored for excellence in diagnosing and treating heart patients.

Stop by Feb. 10 (south side of west Lawther Drive), and here's to your heart!

18 January 2007

Girlfriend Knows Her Shoes

OK, we all know the sales are hopping right now. What better time to break from your old standbys and check out one of those haunts you’ve read (and subsequently dreamt) about — you know the ones that fashionistas prefer to keep to themselves. Enter Linus Lounge, Kristen Radakovich’s newly opened Uptown ode to the shoe aficionado. Designed in the manner of some of the world’s most famous shoe designers – Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik – the cozy-chic space (2724 Routh St., 214/965-0180) doubles as both showroom and residence for Radakovich and her Brit-transplanted husband.

You’re not going to see these gorgeous shoes – really, works of art – anywhere else in town. In fact, the European shoe lines are making their first-ever Dallas debut. With an impeccable, uncommon eye for design, this former pastry chef-turned-fashion queen hand-selects each pair by designers such as Barbara Bui, Scorah Pattullo and Nicolas Kirkwood. Not to mention, Kristen serves a mean dish of mixed nuts (and maybe even wine), while you relax and shop with your mommy friends – this is definitely a girlfriend outing - (oh, and those sky-high heels sound so fabulous on the lounge's hardwood floors - you'll just HAVE to have them, practical or not!).

And, it’s sale time, now through Jan. 27. So, plan on paying 20 percent below to wholesale cost (we’re talking, in some cases, about scoring the most fashion-forward, even avant garde, shoes for Nordies’ prices).

Go (run) girl. --shelley

17 January 2007

Mommy of the year award!

OK, true confessions.

This morning I roused the brood as normal, got myself dressed (in a rather snazzy outfit I might add since I was supposed to meet someone for a real. live. grown-up. lunch), and everyone out the door just slightly behind schedule. My sons kept asking to go out and "play in the snow." Did it dawn on me to check the TV/Internet or even my phone messages to see if the weather would trigger school closings (we're talking SNOW in Dallas people)? Nope, I resorted to my let's-power-through-this Midwestern mentality and we hit the streets. Which were a) empty and b) slippery. Still it took me half the ride to consider that maybe, just maybe, something was up. I called the school. No answer. I called another mother who gave me the news (while she tried not to snicker): no school. I had to tell the boys "just kidding - we're really not going to school today." They were jubilant. I felt defeated.

Has this ever happened to anyone else (oh, please say yes).--shelley

15 January 2007

Cold hands, Warm heart

When I lived in Missouri, we had plenty of snow. And ice. And cold. But, it never seemed to be enough to force the school and road closures that I felt were more than warranted. So, I feel Mother Nature still owes me a snow day.

Personally, I would sleep and watch bad daytime TV all day. But, I suspect that’s not an option with little ones at home due to inclement weather. So what’s a mother to do?

TV is still an option, but instead of repetitive cartoons, or worse, anything on E!, how about a classic movie marathon instead? What better time to expose the kids to the joys of Julie Andrews than on a day when you have them captive! The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins should take you through naptime, at least.

The clever Channel 8 Daybreak crew mentioned putting the kids to some pre-spring cleaning this morning, too. As Mary Poppins would say, “To every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

And then, there are others who get crafty when the going gets chilly. Making a pot of hot chocolate and scrapbooking, finger painting or cookie baking could be positively heartwarming on a day like today.


12 January 2007

Know Sudden Movements

It happened. It finally happened. After all of the years (and tears) of trying to conceive, after all of the months of waiting during pregnancy, after all of the “I’m never going to feel it” moments, it just happened — literally.

I was sitting at my desk this morning, editing the events calendar for the February issue and I felt the strangest sensation shoot across my still yet-to-bulge belly. And then it happened again. And again. It wasn’t quite like the butterflies I was expecting, nor was it the knock you off your seat punch to the rib. It was just this kind of soft “pow, pow, pow” rumble, followed by another “pow.”

Peanut moved!

And my heart stood still.

much love~

11 January 2007

Wanna Be a Footballer, Shot-Caller?

Superstar David Beckham announced today that he’ll play Major League Soccer for the L.A. Galaxy for the next five years…and $250 million. This football pro was coached by his father as a child, signed something called “schoolboy forms” at 14 to play for his future pro team, and signed his first pro contract at 17. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid. The kid is 31 now, and it might still be a lot of pressure, as he’s widely thought to be past his prime. At least he still has his looks.

Starting kids early in sports is nothing too startling, but the intensity of some athletic programs is. If you’re involved in youth sports, as a parent or a coach, I want to hear from you! Are the stakes too high in youth sports? What do you look for in a coach? Who calls the shots on your children’s teams? I hope you’ll share your stories with me.

Email me at assoc.editor@dallaschild.com


A Fitting Resolution

Let’s talk about your new year’s resolutions. Does “making a difference” turn up on the list? If so, check out this new Dallas nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating childhood obesity through fitness education. Fit-for-Me was founded by Don-Miguel (pictured), who has more than 16 years experience in fitness & wellness (he’s a former high-profile East Coast trainer who has worked out athletes such as Denise Austin (who pretty much rocks if you've ever checked out her exercise programs).

There are a few ways you can help:

*Volunteer (lots of opportunities from serving as a board member to planning special events - in fact, Ashley Wolf, DallasChild’s pr/marketing guru and I have joined the team … we’re walking the talk, moms)

*Share your public speaking moxie at area schools (if you make your living in the fitness trade)

*Make a monetary or equipment donation

Even in sports-crazed Dallas, childhood obesity rates are rising (it’s actually become a national pandemic). Fit-for-Me hopes to teach every child that fitness & wellness should be as much a part of the daily routine as brushing teeth! Now that's a resolve fit for me. --shelley

08 January 2007

What Month Is It Anyway? (Don't Ask Us)

Christmas was only two weeks ago, but we’re already knee-deep into writing the March issue. Although, technically we’re still fiddling with February, since it’s in the “production” phase (meaning our superstar art director Laura Oertling is holed up in her office, official pixie wand in hand, waving artistic splendor into our stories). We’re always anxious to give “birth” to our February edition since it’s all about maternity. As always, we give you a modern, fresh take on parenting: Tessa Falk goes deep into playground politics to reveal the “real” mommy wars (hint: it’s not just about working/stay-at-home turf lines). Also, we’ll unveil a provocative photo essay contrasting two very different, yet decidedly modern, modes of birthing: C-section and natural childbirth. Photographer Jennifer Weintraub lets the faces tell the stories in this rare glimpse into a very private moment. And, just for fun, you won’t want to miss Liz’s heartening 5 things to do before and after the 14th.

I’ll save March for another entry. But, suffice it to say that if your child plays sports, you’re in for a must-read.

BTW, have you read your January issue, yet? (It is January still, right?!?) Did you love the special treat of seeing North Texas Teens on the pages of DallasChild? Tell us what you think! --shelley

05 January 2007

Tattooed at Two?!

That’s what I thought at first, but not to worry…these are for educational purposes. Still hesitating? Let me explain. Two moms from California (one a graphic designer, the other a teacher), put their heads together and came up with Tattoos for Tots, temporary tattoos that teach tots the names of the animals on the farm or the vegetables you put on their plate (plus much more). Each tattoo has the name of the object written on it, so your little tyke can learn the word as well as the picture. Unlike the real things, these tats come with rave reviews from the parents of these inked angels.

Not the first method that comes to mind for teaching you’re kids…but hey, it’s so avant garde, it just may work!


04 January 2007

Take a Look; It's in a Book...

“Mister Magnolia has only one boot…Mister Magnolia goes for a scoot…he has an old trumpet that goes rooty-toot…”

This is what I’ve retained of the first book I remember loving—Mister Magnolia, written and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Mr. Mag certainly wasn’t my first book, but it was so well loved, that I think I wore it out. (And only recently replaced by tracking down a reprint from overseas—yes, it’s that good.)

“Do you remember the magic of your first book?” is the question asked by FirstBook, a non-profit created in 1992 to instill this same nostalgia for early literacy in low-income children.

FirstBook has made its mission to “transform the quality of preschool and after school programs” by providing new books to children who don’t know the luxury and excitement of leaving Barnes & Noble with a bagful of pristine, un-cracked books.

They’ve given away more than 40 million books in the last 15 years, and their website does a great job of showing the different ways you can get involved in the project. For example, Book Relief is a project to donate books to the Gulf Coast to replace what Katrina and Rita took away. And be sure to visit The Literacy Site, where every click of your mouse helps fund books for kids.

Maybe even the magical Mister Magnolia.


02 January 2007

From Israel...With Love

I wouldn’t call Israel a major player in the exportation of children’s toys. Nor would I necessarily think to order a toy from there…we have plenty to choose from in our own neighborhood. But these classic hand-made wooden toys for young tots are too cute to pass up. Made by special needs adults in Israel at a non-profit organization called Kishorit, each toy is made with care…and love. All their wooden toys are painted in the prettiest of pastels…perfect for an Easter gift, or just to have.

Visit their website, pasteltoys.com, for online shopping, and to get the full story on these one-of-a-kind sensations…all the way from Israel.