DC Area Moms’ Halloween Costume Contest

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Guess what we are hosting? A Halloween costume contest!

This year has been wild and 2020 has been hard. However, Halloween isn’t canceled and we can still have fun this year with Halloween movies, Halloween crafts, pumpkin patches, and a Halloween Game! Including being a part of Halloween Happenings and participating in our very first Halloween Costume Contest! We are excited to fill up our Instagram feed with your cute children dressed up in their spooky, wacky, or boo-tiful costumes!

First Annual Halloween Costume Contest

DC Area Moms’ is thrilled to showcase children in the costumes you create! Get ready to dress your kiddo in their best, grab your camera, and tag us in your pictures. We will announce the contest winner on Thursday, November 5th at 9 pm on Instagram Live!

YOU will get to help select the winner! Come back here on November 1st when voting opens to cast your vote on the finalists!

How Do I Enter to Win?

You can enter the contest in a snap! Share a photo of your child or family in your outstanding Halloween costume and simply tag @DCMoms on Instagram! If you want to nominate a friend just tag us in the photos you want to be entered.

We will choose 5 Finalists on Sunday, November 1! The finalists will be shared on Facebook, Instagram, and DCAreaMoms.com. VOTING will be open on this blog post beginning November 1st.

Halloween Costume Contest Prize: A Photo Shoot with Studio 1527

Sarah Durrant of Studio 1527 (www.studio1527.com) is pleased to partner with DC Area Moms’ winner to offer a complimentary 30 minute mini session photography package for your family! This is the perfect opportunity to capture your family’s photo for your Holiday cards.

Go ahead and enter to win by tagging us @dcmoms on Instagram! Good luck!

Follow DC Area Moms on Instagram and Facebook so you do not miss the fun!

Please note: Studio 1527 is offering one complimentary 30-minute session which includes 10 to 15 Hi-Res jpg images that Sarah selects, edits and makes available in an online password-protected gallery within two weeks of your session date. This session is for one immediate family only, up to six members. Pets and props welcome if the location allows. Location fees are additional and clients responsibility (if you choose a location that requires a permit). If chosen, congratulations! Please email [email protected] to set up your mini session. Valid only for three months from date of issue.

Halloween 2020 is Happening

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The hot topic of the month: What are you doing for Halloween? Is Halloween canceled? Will you trick-or-treat? Should I buy candy or other treats? 

I don’t think families have ever been so creative and crafty as we all have been this year. Museums, parks, neighborhoods, and businesses are all coming up with great ways to keep the spooky experience alive. But when it comes to what to do on the 31st, we all have lots of questions and doubts. 

Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, which is perfect for such a family-friendly celebration. But since COVID has made everything different, many of us are left with the question of whether or how to celebrate. For the past three years, our family has gathered at a friend’s house early on Halloween for a Halloween pizza party. This has always been followed by our neighborhood trick-or-treat, ending at our front porch handing treats to the many crowds that marched through our street. Unfortunately, we won’t be having any of it this year.

We already had to scale down our big pumpkin carving event, now reserved for the families in our bubble. Over the last couple of weeks, we have spent lots of time crafting and creating decorations for our house. We have seen some great Halloween movies and made fun, spooky food. Our kids have come up with fun plans for their costumes, being creative and resourceful. 

Pumpkin Carving

There is no need to cancel Halloween.

For us, celebrating Halloween is important. It is a fun family event where the kids have fun and eat much more candy than they are ever allowed. Having a weekend Halloween has given us a great opportunity. We don’t need to wait until school is off or my husband finishes work. We have a full day to have fun, dress up, and avoid crowds. Our plans this year have changed, but our Halloween has not been canceled. So, what are we doing?

Morning 

Spooky brunch. Pancakes, Bacon, bat decorated deviled eggs, blueberries, and OJ (or mimosas). For the pancakes, we are going to use themed cookie cutters to create fun shapes. The bacon, deviled eggs, blueberries, and OJ will create the perfect Halloween colored table. 

cookie cutters

Halloween family walk. To burn down all the calories from breakfast, we will go for a family walk around the neighborhood to do a scavenger hunt.

Afternoon 

Halloween party: Right after quiet time, we are meeting with the families in our bubble to have a small party for our kids. Pizza, popcorn, cookies, and cupcakes are all on the menu. We will be preparing treat bags for each kid, with little toys and candy so they don’t feel like they miss out on the trick or treat. We will play all the Halloween music and fingers crossed they will dance.

Evening

Movie night: Before sunset, we will head inside, shower, and PJs to get ready for Halloween movie night. We are still working on the movie selection, but our house will be complete lights out by the evening to avoid trick-or-treaters. Fortunately, our neighborhood has put together a map of houses that will be giving out treats in a socially distanced manner for those interested, but our family will pass. 

After looking at this plan finally in writing I’m already tired, but thankfully we have Sunday to recover. Oh, what we would do for our children!
What are your plans for Halloween?

7 Tips for a Thriving Marriage in the Midst of a Pandemic

All marriages go through seasons, but “Pandemic” is probably the season you never saw coming. Maybe the pandemic has been a blessing to your marriage, providing simplified schedules, more margin to connect, and an opportunity to re-prioritize time as a family. While there are some definite silver linings to being home with our families more often … all this togetherness can add some unwanted tension to relationships. So in preparation for a longer than anticipated pandemic season, with a few more months of whatever else 2020 has in store for us, I want to encourage you to prioritize your marriage so you can not only survive the rest of this season but thrive in it.happy marriage

1. Get rid of your expectations.

This is good advice in any season of marriage, but especially during a pandemic when everything is up in the air. Expectations will likely leave you feeling disappointed and create bitterness in your marriage. Instead, focus on what you can control … yourself. You are responsible for your attitude and your words, not your spouses’. Be the kind of spouse you want your spouse to be. This is a sucky season, don’t be one of the reasons it sucks for them.

2. Replace those expectations with a whole lot of grace.

This season is so hard and it may affect our moods differently every day. Our patience is running thin and we can say things in the heat of a moment that we quickly regret. Don’t hold a mistake over your spouse’s head for long, and especially don’t sweat the small stuff. Talk about it, accept their apology, and be super quick to forgive and let it go. If your spouse is having an off day, roll with it and chip in a little more so they can rest or get some alone time. Maybe even have a code word and a game plan for when either of you are not feeling yourself so you can mentally prepare to step in for each other as needed. Be willing to give your spouse the same amount of grace that you need when you have an off day. 

3. Out-serve your spouse.

I know that might sound a bit backward, especially if you already carry a big load of household responsibilities, but when we go above and beyond to love our spouse and notice and meet their needs, it speaks much louder than anything else. Do things without being asked. Find little acts of kindness that are meaningful to them to show that you care.

4. Prioritize daily focused time with your spouse every day.

My husband and I are pretty committed to this. We let our kids watch a show or have them play independently so we can spend at least 30 minutes a day hanging out, just to talk and connect. Most of the time we’re too exhausted to really make this time intentional after our children are in bed, so we make sure it happens sometime before dinner. Find a time that works best for you both. The point is to check in with each other and draw one another out. So make sure it’s uninterrupted. And make sure you both get to talk. Love grows best when it’s safe to share our hearts.

happy marriage

5. Prioritize time alone.

Give your spouse space and don’t be afraid to ask for space for yourself. Creating healthy boundaries is so important when you’re cooped up in the house together 24/7. We all need time alone to rest and focus, make sure you have the margin to do that.

6. Wake up early.

This is helpful in so many ways (especially when you’re up before your kids). When you have time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day before you hit the ground running, it goes much further in prepping you for your interactions with your family. Waking up early helps you to be intentional with your words and actions, helps you to not feel rushed (which tends to cause conflict), and gives you the mindset to respond, not react to whatever comes at you during the day.

7. Invest in a mutual hobby.

And no, Netflix and chill does NOT count. If your spouse shows interest in something, don’t just watch from the sidelines, join in. That time spent together will encourage a friendship with your spouse—the kind that will prevent you from slipping into “roommate mode.” There is no better gift you can give your marriage than to invest in your friendship.

Bonus Credit:

Discover the Enneagram together.

Nothing has helped my own personal self-awareness and marriage more than learning my and my husband’s types and understanding how each other sees the world through the Enneagram. Being able to learn and celebrate our differences and strengths helps us set realistic expectations and give each other loads of grace.

Go to therapy.

Sometimes marriages need an interpreter so spouses can learn to communicate and compromise with each other and remember why they got married in the first place. My best advice is, don’t wait until a crisis. If you feel like you’ve become passing ships in your home, you need a tune-up friend! Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

Schedule Some Sanity: 4 Tips to Make Your Life Calm and Organized

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Does it ever seem like life can only get busier and crazier? I find myself thinking, “Ok, next week will be nuts, but after that, it will calm back down.” But then it doesn’t?!? In the last few years, my family has tested different systems to help keep us more organized and, in turn, keep our lives calmer.

Here are 4 tips to help you schedule some sanity:

monthly meal plan schedule

1) Use a meal planning monthly calendar.

While not a revolutionary new idea, this was a game-changer for my sanity. I absolutely hate the “What’s for dinner?” question around 4 pm when my mind is still focused on 2,304,982 other things I have to do, and I have no idea what ingredients are in the house. The assumption is that I, super mom, will make something magical appear on the table before we all get hangry. As someone who stresses the idea of just winging it with ingredients, meal planning is essential.

When I started meal planning before becoming a mom, it helped mainly keep my budget under control. As our family grew, the plan became more complex. Which nights was someone working late? What nights do we need to eat earlier because of night grad school classes? How many times have we had that soup already?

Now, we’ve gotten into a good routine. Planning for the month means I can reduce extra thinking power on busy weeknights.

Our meal plan consists of super quick meals, slow cooker, and made ahead. For us, recipes take too long to do on weeknights. Instead, I make meals with longer recipes on the weekends. By looking at a month at a time, I can rotate one soup a week, one pasta dish a week, etc. It really helps to make sure we aren’t overeating the same thing over and over. 

It may seem daunting at first, but I promise it is easy after the first month. By the second month, you’ll know which recipes were too terrible to keep again, which meals were a hit, and could be repeated extra times, which need more make-ahead meals or quick meals. And then you just copy and paste! Every couple of months, we get super tired of the same recipes coming up again and again. Then I get to bust out my ridiculously long Pinterest board of ideas and switch out for something new.

everyone's daily schedule

2) Plan everyone’s day.

Working from home for the past few years in various positions means I’ve had many chances to figure out how to schedule my time efficiently. I know I work best early in the morning with a great cup of coffee. The middle of the day is when I’m easily distracted by laundry or some other household chore that suddenly seems more interesting than the intellectual task I need to finish. And for me, bedtime is about 5 minutes after my little one passes out.

Now that we’re a few months into my husband also working at home and my little guy looking to be entertained all day, we needed a way to keep us all happy. For us, it meant figuring out how to show all of our schedules in the same place. I drafted a super quick chart in Excel that breaks up our day from 8am-6pm. During this time, we have space for “Parents” which consists of any work meetings requiring us to be fully present on phone or video calls. 

After that is sorted out, I plug in anything that my son is doing that is time-sensitive. Sometimes that is virtual classes; other days, it was watching the live space shuttle launch. 

From there, we play “Who’s-watching-the-kid” themed Sudoku.

Any empty boxes for my son are filled with which parent could take him to the playground, help practice violin, or play a game together. We try to schedule this time first, so we give him as much attention as possible. 

When we have scheduling conflicts that require both parents to be in a meeting, that’s when my son gets really excited: screen time! Yep, even this mom who restricted all screens until he was 2, is now on board with allowing some forms of screen time. By trying to plan activities, classes, and time with a parent first, it really helps to make sure he isn’t just on the iPad endlessly.

3) Create chore charts.

Is it just me, or is the house constantly dirtier since quarantine started? Now that we live, work, and play in the same rooms pretty much 24/7, this house needs constant attention. As much as I like to be supermom, there aren’t enough minutes in the day for me to do the bulk of the housework. This is where the chore chart comes in.

Everyone can help in some way, even toddlers. Young children can help with basic tasks like putting dirty laundry into a basket, putting books back on a shelf, or feeding the pets (with supervision, of course, don’t want to accidentally kill the fish from overfeeding!) Kids can do whatever we teach them. I expect shoes to be on the tray by the front door; my son can put his shoes away when I give a reminder. Dirty dishes need to be placed in the sink after meals (make sure the dishes are non-breakable for young kids to fully help themselves.) 

For my family, the toys need to be in my son’s room by the end of the day. Maybe not all toys are in the right spot, but at least they’re out of the common areas and back into his room. Once a week, there is a huge clean-up that happens. For this big clean up day, every toy must go back in its place so we can see the carpet. That’s the deal. Once a week, entirely cleaned up for vacuuming. If I tried to enforce this every day, I’d fight a losing battle. As long as I can plop down on the couch after dinner without fear of being stabbed by a Lego or dinosaur tail, I’m a happy mom. 

The chore chart has actually helped my marriage too (who knew!)

Are you familiar with the “I do everything around here, and you are just sitting on your phone not helping” argument? It’s usually followed by, “Seriously? I help all the time, just tell me what to do.” We were tired of this pointless, endless bickering. We divided up the big chores with clear expectations of who was doing everything and how frequently. This schedule included laundry, cutting the grass, weekly toilet scrubbing, etc. Then we agreed whoever doesn’t cook has to do all of the dishes which can’t be left overnight. To help track who does the million other little things, we chart them. Clear, unbiased charts help when one of us feels like they are doing more than the other person. We can look back together to see if the responsibilities are shared or where one person needs to step up more. Less arguing!  

bubble bath

4) Schedule me-time.

Mamas, you just gotta do it. Schedule your me-time. To be the best mom you can possibly be, you have to make time for yourself. If you don’t schedule it, it probably won’t happen. Our days are filled with 20,394,372 things to do from the moment we wake up (or are woken up by the mini-me’s) until we pass out. It’s easy to have your days consumed by other people’s demands or needs and put ourselves last. While it may seem selfless, it can have some adverse effects on ourselves too. 

My favorite me-time happens way before the sun even thinks of rising. If I’m up at 4 am, I’m excited. It means I have hours before anyone else in my family will ask me a question. Mornings are when I can do my best reading/writing for my doctorate classes. When I’m motivated to workout. And it’s coffee time! 

For you, it might be staying up after the kids are in bed. Maybe you work early mornings and late nights, so daytime is your flexible time. If you have a partner also at home, perhaps you sneak away while the kids are eating lunch or napping. 

In the past, I’ve heard moms looking forward to running every day. That’s their escape and my form of torture. Other moms love cooking; it soothes their souls. I cook to feed and avoid hangry housemates. Whatever it is you love to do, schedule it. Put a block of time set aside for yourself. It may be 5-20 minutes while you have an infant. Great start! Little by little, it will become longer as they become more independent!

Of course, this list is not exhaustive!

I’m sure there are tons of other schedules you can use to help structure your days. Don’t be afraid to try one out, modify it to your family’s needs, and change when it’s not working. Every family is different. Maybe the monthly meal plan is impossible, but weekly meal planning is possible.

The ultimate goal is to find more sanity in your days. Schedules are just a tool to help make this possible. I’d love to hear what works for you and keep expanding this list!

 

Takoma Park, MD Neighborhood Guide

We are grateful for the sponsor of this guide: Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate. Kelly Kelley is an expert for this area. Please be sure to check out thorough details about her practice below. We are thankful for her sponsorship, which allows us to continue to bring DC Area Moms resources like this.

What is your favorite thing about raising kids in the Takoma Park area?

One of our favorite reasons why we love Takoma Park is the number of parks, playgrounds, and trails in the area. Living so close to so many playgrounds (and dog parks!) means we spend more time together outdoors. We love saying hello to all of the deer we encounter when walking or biking through Sligo Creek Park. Finding a new favorite book at one of the many little libraries around each corner is always exciting too! This has also been named a “Playful City” with so many opportunities for young children and the young at heart to get out and play together! Another reason we love Takoma Park is the “small world” feeling that grows with each year we live here. It feels like you know everyone and when you do meet someone new, we find something in common almost right away!

What makes Takoma Park family-friendly and unique?

I believe Takoma Park is super family-friendly because of the inclusivity and love that can be felt throughout our city. Takoma Park works diligently to make sure each resident feels safe, included, and has a voice. There’s a sense that everyone belongs here, that each neighbor is a member no matter their age, family structure, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.

What community events or local attractions are there?

There are so many events each year that attract thousands of people from all over. The Folk Festival is a well-known art and music festival that celebrates local artists. Each year the Takoma Park Street Festival is a day filled with kid-friendly activities, local businesses sharing their passions, live entertainment, and so much more. Some of our favorite events include Pajamarama, 25 Days of Roscoe, Art Hop Takoma, and the Family Fun Festival, just to name a few!

Why would you recommend Takoma Park to families?

Takoma Park is full of families looking to share resources and support one another. People use the TakomaPakk listserv to share ideas about local happenings, sell/request to purchase items, suggestions for childcare, and every recommendation you could think of from Notary Publics to Pediatricians.  

What nearby schools or childcare places to kids go to?

Most residents are zoned for either Piney Branch Elementary School or Takoma Park Elementary School, Takoma Park Middle School, and Montgomery Blair High School.

Younger children may attend Takoma Children’s SchoolTakoma Montessori School, Takoma Park Child Development Center, Green Hill Child Development Center, and the Takoma Park Co-op Nursery School.

Where are your favorite places to shop in Takoma Park? 

Tabletop is my absolute favorite place in Takoma Park! They offer an amazing assortment of gifts from babies to household items to that perfect funny gift you’ve been trying to find. Their card selection will keep you laughing with so many original designs to choose from too! The Takoma Park Co-Op is a natural food grocery store through the co-op model. Produce is always fresh, organic, and locally farmed. They support fair-trade and other local businesses which makes us feel good about shopping and supporting this area. I also love Fair Day’s Play! One of my favorite things about this independent toy store is this small business’ offerings of high-quality toys. They are always filling their shelves with toys that promote curiosity and creativity. Shopping here is a kid’s dream come true!

What are some of your favorite places to eat in?

*Full disclosure: It is impossible to choose a few places from all of the amazing food locations in Takoma Park! But here are a few of my favorites. If you are needing a space to work with an amazing cup of coffee (or tea!) or your belly is rumbling for a great lunch spot, Takoma Beverage Co. is one of my favorite go-to locations. They’ve put so much time into developing their menu making each plate taste better than the last. Definitely a great date-night place to enjoy cocktails with a savory dinner too. Living as a New-York transplant in Takoma Park, I was over the moon when I tasted Pizza Movers! This tiny take-out place may not look as fancy as some other restaurants in the area. But, don’t let that change your mind for a second. This pizza was so delicious it (almost) tasted like home!

Great Shoals Tasting Room is a local winery utilizing locally grown fruits in their award-winning ciders/wines. Their new tasting room offers their well-known hard ciders and wines as well as beer and cocktails. Enjoy your tasting flight! Mark’s Kitchen has been cooking up traditional American and Asian dishes for almost 30 years in Takoma Park making this location a favorite for locals. From burgers and sandwiches to Korean sang dinner boxes and Bibimbop, everyone will find something they love. There are tons of vegetarian/vegan choices too (check out their desserts!). Kin Da is our favorite local Thai restaurant whether you’re in the mood for drunken noodles or sushi, everything is delicious. Their website revealed the meaning of Kin Da as, “A verb. (Thai colloquialism) to indulge, especially regarding delicious food and drink.” Perfectly named, go indulge and enjoy!

What places make Takoma Park feel kid-friendly?

Takoma Park has lots of options to keep your little ones busy every day of the week! The Takoma Park Recreation Center offers classes and activities for all ages from dance to pottery to step to Dungeons and Dragons. The Takoma Park Library offers fantastic circle time programs in both English and Spanish on weekday mornings as well as many other events throughout the year. Little Loft is an art space designed for kids of all ages to explore various art mediums and create. Dance Exchange offers many types of dance and movement classes for all ages. Willow Street Yoga and Yoga Heights both offer a variety of leveled yoga, prenatal/postnatal yoga, itsy bitsy yoga, and classes with childcare. Roda Movements offers many different types of classes throughout the week, most known for their Capoeira classes. 

What advice would you give to families who are new to Takoma Park?

Get out and say hello! Joining the listservs and reading our local paper will give you a sense of what is going on. But, the best way to get to know your new area is to say hello to your neighbors. Get to know who lives by you, who you see at the playgrounds, who is shopping at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Get to know everyone. If you have a new baby, join the Takoma Mamas and Families group for local weekly meetups for lots of support. You’ll start to see how much we are all interconnected and how much people are willing to share with you too!

If someone was visiting for a day, what would you recommend they do?

I hope they would be visiting on a Sunday with beautiful weather so they can enjoy the outdoor Farmer’s Market in the downtown area followed by lunch at one of the many delicious choices nearby. After you can stroll through the local shops. Then head to any of the parks or trails to get the whole family moving. Enjoy spending time with everything Takoma Park has to offer!

Kelly Kelley is an expert, experienced Realtor in Takoma Park, MD:

Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate

Kelly Kelley works closely with her clients throughout the DC/MD/VA area and has a well-earned stellar reputation for her extensive knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills, and smooth transaction processes. Her clients enjoy exceptional service and a client-focused, educational approach to buying their next home or investment property. Kelly has lived and worked in Washington, DC and Virginia for over 16 years.  She and her young family live in the Logan/U St. neighborhood.  She’s an expert in navigating the complexity of the school systems in and around DC and the surrounding suburbs, including but not limited to the DCPS lottery and area private school systems. Contact Kelly at [email protected] or at 540-529-4804. Look at her website at https://www.jaybarrygroup.com and be sure to follow her group on Facebook and Instagram.

An OB/GYN’s Perspective on Miscarriage

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This article is written in partnership with Virginia Hospital Center which was listed on Newsweek’s 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals!

Dr. Amanda Rohn, MD, FACOG is an OB/GYN physician and Medical Director of the Virginia Hospital Center Physician Group Outpatient OB/GYN Practices. She provides gynecologic and obstetric care to patients in the DMV region based out of Virginia Hospital Center’s location in Arlington, VA. Her philosophy emphasizes collaborative decision-making between patients and providers, evidence-based care, and recognition that more medical treatment is not always better. 

We sat down with Dr. Rohn, who has counseled thousands of women throughout their pregnancy journeys, to discuss our reader’s top questions on miscarriage. Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Dr. Rohn, where we discuss fertility and pregnancy planning.

Miscarriage and infant loss isn’t something that’s often talked about. However, you identified this as a topic you wanted to discuss with our readers. Where should we start?

Because it’s not often talked about, most people assume that miscarriage is uncommon. But as health care providers who care for women throughout their lifetime, through the good and the bad, we know this is a common experience. I think awareness about how often miscarriage occurs may help it feel less isolating for those who experience a loss.

Clinically speaking, the chance of experiencing a miscarriage is highest during the earliest stages of pregnancy. About half of early pregnancies fail to implant—even though mom might have gotten a positive pregnancy test in the office or at home. Further along in pregnancy, 10% to 20% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage—that could be after the pregnancy is seen via ultrasound. 

Women who lose a baby at any point in their pregnancy often find that the experience can be hard to articulate with others. Many find comfort in sharing with others who have also experienced miscarriage or infant loss. To help facilitate that, our maternity care team at Virginia Hospital Center hosts a Remembrance Ceremony each October. Families who have experienced infant loss come together to remember, pay tribute, and connect. Many of our clinical team also join, as these experiences touch their lives as well. 

What do you wish more people knew about miscarriage?

I would like women and families in our community to know that if they experienced a miscarriage it is very unlikely that their behaviors did anything to cause it. 

Most miscarriages are caused by a chromosomal problem with the egg, the sperm, a combination of the two, or the cell division process. Many of my patients who experience a miscarriage reflect back on their actions and worry that it was caused by a glass of wine, trip to the gym, sexual intercourse, or taking a hot bath. I want to assure my patients and other women who have experienced miscarriage, that these are not common causes for a miscarriage. 


What is one thing that you have learned after counseling many patients through the experience of miscarriage?

I’ve learned that each person processes a miscarriage differently. I find that some women are surprised by their own responses. Those who were expecting to be devastated may feel acceptance. Others may be surprised by their grief. Our role as clinicians is to prioritize how our patient is processing it—that’s what matters the most. 

For all of my patients who have experienced miscarriage, I ask them to be gentle with themselves. I tell my patients that, while they will process the experience, they will never really be ‘over it’—they will carry this experience with them.  

What happens when a woman realizes she has experienced a miscarriage?

Depending on other medical factors, there is usually a range of options that a woman may consider after experiencing a miscarriage. While some providers are comfortable with only a few of these options, our patients are generally presented with all of these options granted they are safe for their unique situation. A woman’s decision about what to do is very personal.

Women who experience a miscarriage have the option of waiting for the pregnancy to pass naturally, or can choose to take medication that brings about the process more quickly. Others prefer to have a surgical procedure in the office setting under local anesthesia, or in an operating room under sedation. 

For women who have experienced a miscarriage, is it more likely to happen again?

Statistically speaking, for women who have experienced a miscarriage, the most likely outcome in the next pregnancy is a normal healthy pregnancy!

Having one miscarriage does slightly increase the likelihood of having another. But, the increased chance isn’t by all that much—just a few percentage points. However, if a woman has had multiple miscarriages, her likelihood of another goes up more, and at that point, we would recommend advanced testing to look at underlying causes. 


What can be done to prevent a miscarriage?

Unfortunately, the majority of miscarriages are due to random chance and cannot be prevented. In the case of recurrent loss, testing can sometimes identify underlying causes like diabetes or thyroid issues, structural problems in the uterus such as fibroids, or chromosomal issues in either partner. Understanding these causes helps us manage and treat any underlying conditions that may be getting in the way of a healthy pregnancy so that the next pregnancy is more likely to succeed.  

Stay tuned for part two of our interview series with Dr. Rohn, where we will discuss fertility and pregnancy planning.   

About the Guest Author:

Dr. Rohn practices at 1625 N. George Mason Drive, Suite 325, in Arlington, Virginia. In her free time, Dr. Rohn enjoys knitting, baking, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and young children in their antique home in DC. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Rohn or a member of VHC’s OB/GYN care team by visiting our OB/GYN physician group webpage or calling 703.717.4600.

Halloween Happenings Guide 2020

This year, Halloween is going to look different, but there is still a lot of fun to be had! We have compiled a list of some virtual and in-person ways to celebrate Halloween this year in the DMV (we have included a few Día de los Muertos events too). For more ideas on how to have some Halloween fun, check out these Halloween movies for kids, Halloween craft ideas, pumpkin patches, and this Halloween Game and Spooky Window Hunt. However your family decides to celebrate Halloween, we urge you to follow safety protocols required by venues and that your family works to stay safe and healthy in your communities. If you know of other virtual or in-person events to celebrate Halloween, please let us know in comments.

 

Air and Scare at Home
October 20th through October 31st
National Air and Space Museum at Udvar-Hazy Center
This year, the Museum’s popular Air & Scare program is coming to your home with online downloadable activities and challenges, live digital programming, and some sc-air-y business, including a costume and pumpkin decorating contest for sweet prizes.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt and Contests
October 23rd – October 31st
Del Ray Neighborhood, Alexandria VA
Del Ray’s favorite Halloween traditions are moving online, with contests for Best Decorated House, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Block, Best Group Costume and Best Pet Costume, plus a Halloween Scavenger Hunt on the Avenue, taking place Halloween week.

Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt
October 23rd – November 1st
Falls Church, VA
The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department is hosting a free Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt around six parks throughout town. Each park will have one of six signs that will have a letter. Find all the signs and unscramble the letters to reveal the Hallow-Scream code word, and you’ll win a free Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt t-shirt! The Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt is geared more towards younger children, but it’s still fun for the whole family and a great way to explore different parks. Visit the event website to download a list of clues. Also, Falls Church is hosting several pop-up events that you can register for online, including Scarecrow Making, Pumpkin Painting, and Birdhouse Painting.

Halloween Storytime Aboard Tall Ship Providence
October 23rd, 25th, and 30th
Alexandria, VA
Steel your nerves for a spooky Halloween Storytime aboard the Tall Ship Providence. Recommended for children ages 6-12, this haunted program will run for 25 minutes, and will give kids the opportunity to come aboard the ship, meet captain John Paul Jones, and hear a tale of high-seas terror. All children will recieve a small gift-bag of treats from our treasure chest. Let’s get in the Halloween spirit; costumes are encouraged! This year’s story will be “Somebody Fell from Aloft,” by Alvin Schwartz. Check out the event website to purchase tickets and review COVID-19 safety protocols.

Fall Frolic
October 24th
10am – 4pm
Alexandria, VA

Enjoy some safe and seasonal fun with the family in the garden of the Lee-Fendall House during its Fall Frolic! Put on your Halloween costumes on Saturday, October 24 for crafts, a ghost hunt, a Trick-or-Treat walk, and more! Sessions start at every hour from 10am to 4pm. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance. Only 10 participating children per session, plus accompanying family members, face masks are required.

Pumpkins in the Park
October 24th
12pm – 4pm
Canal Park
Pumpkins in the Park is back for its 7th year, this time with a socially-distanced vibe. This neighborhood “pumpkin patch” offers the community a chance to pick their pumpkin in a safe, socially-distanced fashion (no more than 15 people in the pumpkin patch at one time) while supplies last. After selecting your pumpkin, take-home decorating kits will be available (also while supplies last) along with the option to have your pumpkin custom-painted by local artist Painted Palettes.

Hilloween
October 30th
4pm – 5pm
Hilloween is a much loved tradition in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. For 20 years, families have gathered for fall fun, creativity, and kinship. Due to COVID-19, the event is going virtual this year. There will be live pumpkin carving, a spooky dance party, Zumba, a live DJ, a virtual costume contest, and more! Check out the event website for more information on how to participate in this spooky fun.

Hallo-B00 Drive-Thru
October 30th
5pm – 8pm
College Park, MD
Collect Halloween treats while you drive through a spooky Duvall Field! Celebrate with us in your scariest or sparkliest costumes. Decorate your car in the Halloween spirit and you can win a $50 gift card to a College Park business of your choosing. Registration is required. Please visit event website to review all restrictions and protocols.

illumiNATIONS: Dia de los Muertos
October 30th
6pm – 7pm
National Museum of the American Indian
Celebrate Día de los Muertos from home with this event that will be streamed live on the museum’s YouTube and Facebook pages. You will learn about monarchs butterflies, which are everywhere in Día de los Muertos celebrations, from cultural and scientific experts and enjoy the music of GRAMMY-winning East L.A. band Quetzal. Hear from sculptor and maskmaker Zarco Guerrero about the role masks play in Día de los Muertos celebrations and tour his studio in Mesa, AZ. Download your own butterfly or paper skull mask to print, decorate and wear at home. Read about this special day as a family in a book from NMAI’s recommended book list. This event is free and open to all ages. Registration is recommended to receive the online event link in advance.

Canal Park Halloween Drive-in Movie
October 30th
Buzzard Point Next to Audi Field
Grab your popcorn and join the Capitol Riverfront BID for a drive-in movie to celebrate the Halloween season. The movie will be a fun, contact-free experience for all ages and will have space for 75 vehicles set at an appropriate social distance. All ticket proceeds will be donated to local charities. The movie to be shown will be determined by the public’s vote. Visit the event website to purchase tickets and submit your vote.

Halloween Events
October 30th and 31st
Takoma Park, MD
The Takoma Park Recreation Department has created a number of events to provide families with some great, safe ways to celebrate Halloween. Families can enjoy a Virtual Magic Show and Virtual Storytelling Event. There will also be a Family Walk & Chalk and costumed Halloween Walk-Thru for families in their neighborhoods.

Día de los Muertos Virtual Weekend Celebration
October 31st and November 1st
2pm – 3pm
National Museum of the American Indian
Celebrate Día de los Muertos from home with activities for families, beautiful art, and the rich culinary heritage of this tradition. Join museum folklorist Cynthia Vidaurri as she answers frequently asked questions about Day of the Dead. Watch a demonstration of how to make paper marigolds. Join Chef Neftali Duran on his culinary journey through the foods and feasting associated with Día de los Muertos. Visit the museum’s Facebook page to view images of ofrendas from past Day of the Dead festivals at the museum, and to post messages in memory of your loved ones.

DIY Halloween Lion Mask

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Can you believe that Halloween is just around the corner? Due to the current situation in the world, Halloween may or may not be canceled this year in your neighborhood. Regardless of the decision, children of all ages should dress up in costumes and celebrate even if you stay at home this year.

My son, Luca, is no different in his love of Halloween. He has been dreaming about going trick or treating and wearing a costume since this spring … and because he is a Leo baby, I created this Lion Mask for him. Actually, it was a family project. Both of my children Luca and Anna (16 months) helped with the painting while I cut and glued all the parts together. There is still some time to create this very simple DIY Halloween lion mask for your little one.

Supplies Needed:

Directions

  1. Design and cut out lion features using colorful papers.
  2. To create the lion’s mane, use a big pot to create the outer edge.
  3. Trace the inner edge inside the first circle you created. (I used a circle plate to create the inner edge.)
  4. Cut out the ring to create the mane base.
  5. Paint the lion’s mane and let it dry. (We used orange acrylic paint. The kids’ washable paint will work as well.)

6. To create the lion’s face, cut out another circle, or use a paper plate.

7. Glue on the lion’s features. (Note: Prior to sticking the eyes, cut out two holes for the eyes. The holes don’t need to be perfect as you will cover them with two black circles.  I highly recommend getting the circle paper punch as it makes the perfect circles.)

8.  Glue the craft sticks onto the lion’s mane. (I used Tacky Glue.)

9. Lastly, stick the lion’s face onto the lion’s mane.

10.  When you are happy with your lion mask, attach a straw or pencil to the back of the mask with strong tape.

And there you go. You just created your own DIY Halloween Lion Mask!

Children will love transforming into a playful lion with this fun and simple mask made from paper. Remember to involve your little ones in creative projects such as this one, as it is the perfect bonding time for your whole family.

I hope you will get a chance to create this Halloween mask. If you do, please remember to find me on Instagram @lulu__make and tag me on your posts.

Check out more craft ideas and activities and comment below with your favorite ideas!

Happy crafting.

This article does contain Amazon Affiliate links, if you choose to purchase through these links, it won’t change your price and a teeny tiny portion would go to support our site and we would be so grateful!

Join Our Nourish & Flourish Event with Kendra Scott Benefitting the DC Diaper Bank on Nov. 12

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This pandemic has thrown us all for a loop. So we wanted to do something fun WITH you all (virtually)! Join fellow moms as we gather for our Nourish & Flourish Event in partnership with Kendra Scott. It is also World Kindness Day and we want to be kind to ourselves during this time with some pampering tips AND be kind to others by giving back to others. On November 12-13, with code GIVEBACK-068A, 20% of all jewelry sales go directly to the DC Diaper Bank. Plus, during our event, enjoy giveaways, special conversations with local experts, shopping opportunities, and more!

At 8:15 pm, we will chat with Erin Washington, author of Squats and Margaritas, about balancing it all during this time. At 8:45 pm, Dr. Emma Basch, a local therapist, will join us to talk about self-care tips. At 9:15 pm we talk with Denesia Rogers, local yoga and meditation teacher about some of her favorite techniques to help bring calm. At 8 pm, 8:30 pm, and 9 pm, I (Courtney) will share some fun DIY self-care tips! 

Our giveaway partners are:

Block off your calendar for this event on Thursday, November 12 from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. Be sure to participate the giveaways on our Facebook Event Page!

>> Click Here to Grab Your Ticket! <<

Please note that some portions of the Nourish and Flourish Event will be LIVE while others will be pre-recorded. We kindly remind you to refresh your browser often so you don’t miss any postings!

More on how code GIVEBACK-068A works to give 20% to the DC Diaper Bank:
  • The code will be live from 12:00am CST on November 12th to 11:59pm CST on November 13th!
  • The code needs to be entered at ‘coupon code’ on the billing page (top right) and shoppers must click ‘apply’!
  • Once applied, a red ‘Shop for Good’ notation will appear and $.01 will be deducted. This does not mean only one cent is donated – it’s just a logistical way to make sure the code works. A full 20% will be donated!
  • And finally, please note that some discounts cannot be combined with the giveback code as it would deduct from the donation!

If you are a local business and would like to be involved in this event, please email me at courtney @ dcareamom.com Thank you!

How to Dispose of Crafts Made From Recycled Materials

It started when my son was 3 months old. He had just started going to daycare when he came home with his handprint on a paper plate. It was the cutest craft made from recyclable materials ever. It’s currently taped inside his baby book, where it will stay forever.

Clearly, he’s a natural artist!

As my children continue to go to daycare or do projects for virtual school, they make crafts with recycled and recyclable materials. Toilet paper roll caterpillars, paper plate fish, and popsicle stick ornaments decorate our house. While I save and display many of the crafts, I also regularly dispose of some so that our house doesn’t one day explode from an overflow of toilet paper rolls.

The Lifespan of Recycled Crafts

Recycled crafts are great activities to do with kids. You can make decorations and gifts or games and toys. It’s amazing what you can make just by going through your recycling bin. I used to be a regular at Michael’s and JOANN Fabrics, but not anymore! (Just kidding—I sometimes need to go out to get hot glue!) But seriously, my recycling bin and junk drawer usually have all the supplies I need to create something for my kids that’ll occupy them for at least 15 minutes. Maybe longer if I’m lucky—like a few days or weeks. Or until the recycled crafts become like their other toys—strewn all over the floor in a pile waiting to be tripped over in the middle of the night. That’s when I know it’s time.

Monster trucks line up for a race on a cardboard racetrack!
I made this racetrack for my son’s monster trucks out of a large piece of cardboard. This can easily be stored behind the couch. Its lifespan lasts as long as my son doesn’t realize plastic racetracks exist!

After making several recycled crafts during quarantine, I began to wonder how to properly dispose of them. If a craft is made from recyclable materials, can’t you just throw it in your recycle bin and move on? Or if it’s covered in tape, glue, paint, and glitter, does it go in the trash?

Zero Waste DC to the Rescue

The DC Department of Public Works reveals what goes where and why on its incredible Zero Waste DC website. The website has an interactive tool you can use to find out what materials go into which bin—recycling or trash. If you’re curious about a material that’s not listed in the tool, you can request it to be added. You can also find out what to do with special waste and find resources to learn about reducing and reusing.

Since the crafts I wanted to recycle (or trash) are made from both recyclable and non-recycled materials that are not listed on the Zero Waste DC website, I reached out to the staff at DC DPW for help.

DC DPW loves recycled crafts.

“Reuse is great,” says Annie White, Office of Waste Division Manager. “Using existing materials instead of buying new ones is great.” While she admits that many crafts made from recycled materials eventually go into the trash bin and not the recycling bin, she reminds me that using recycled materials helps the environment. By reusing materials, you’re reducing the need for manufactured materials. You’re also taking one less trip out in your car.

Howard Lee, Office of Waste Diversion Analyst, offers wonderful advice on choosing crafts that last. He suggests trying “to do things that are reusable for quite some time, that has value for you.” As an example, he mentioned that his very first craft was a Christmas wreath with a wire hanger and a trash bag. “My great aunt still uses that wreath today,” he says. “We can use it every year!” I love his tip and the story!

Game made from recycled materials.
This fun craft was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. The steps are simple. Glue a few pieces of toilet paper rolls to the bottom of a small box. Invite your child to roll a small ball through the rolls by moving the box gently with their hands. To make the game harder, create a deck of cards with shapes. Invite your child to roll the ball through a shape he selects from the deck.

A little tape or glue in the recycling bin is OK. Use your best judgment.

Initially, I thought that peeling every bit of tape off cardboard was the only way to recycle it. I was wrong! A small amount of any kind of tape or glue on a recyclable material is OK. It just can’t be covering the entire object. Reggie Sanders, a Public Information Officer for the DC DPW confirms that “if the craft is covered in glue, or is mostly glue, please do not recycle. The type of glue does not matter from a recycling perspective.” He also says, “Small amounts of tape also are fine. The type of tape doesn’t matter. If it is a significant amount of tape or is covered in tape, the tape needs to be removed for it to go in the recycling bin.”

Flying disc made out of paper plates.
This paper plate flying disc is so easy to make and a lot of fun to play with. We are teaching my son how to throw and catch a frisbee, and it’s actually perfect for a little learner. I’m planning to remove the tape before recycling the paper plates.

If your recycled craft project is covered in glue, glitter, or paint, it can’t be recycled. Just throw the entire craft in the trash. And make sure that what you do put in the recycle bin is empty and dry—anything wet or sticky could hinder the recycling process.

DC DPW suggests dismantling crafts if you used a mix of materials.

While a little tape or glue on a recyclable material doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled, it’s important to remove non-recyclable materials before you recycle. Otherwise, the entire craft should be thrown in the trash. Some common materials that should be disposed of in the trash and not in the recycling bin include pipe cleaners, ribbon, and tissue paper. Annie says, “Ribbons can get tangled in the equipment. [And] tissue paper has shorter fibers and isn’t as good for making new paper, so it doesn’t add value to making new paper.” Good to know! Annie also says “Flexible plastics like wraps, films, and zip lock bags should be kept out of the recycling bin.”

Plastic utensils (along with most of the materials I used on this craft) cannot be recycled, so Forky and his friends go in the trash!

DC DPW supports recycling efforts at home, school, and work.

When I asked Annie, Howard, and Reggie for what advice they would give parents about recycling at home, I was touched by their response. Howard says, “Part of our campaign is what can be recycled at home can be recycled at school and at work. Our big message is that wherever you are—work, home, or school—you can still recycle it.” I love this. You may be compelled to recycle at school and work because there are other people holding you accountable. We all must keep ourselves accountable at home. 

I was also impressed to learn that DC DPW provides presentations about the recycling program available for residents. Howard says, “We can provide presentations and we have signs that you can print out on the website.” In fact, they will do virtual presentations! Feel free to reach out to the DC DPW and schedule a presentation for a mom group, a playdate, or a neighborhood gathering!

You and your family can learn more about proper waste disposal by playing the DC Waste Sorting Game together! This multi-level digital experience is a great way to test your knowledge of what goes where, with a very fun payoff at the end.

Keep calm and craft on—and help DC reduce, reuse, recycle!

On reusing materials and recycling, Annie says, “It’s a simple act that you can do every day that you can help make DC a cleaner, greener city. It helps reduce emissions that cause climate change. It’s an action that we can do every day. It’s a great act that helps our community locally and globally.” So carry on making recycled crafts. Consider the activity good for the environment and your community. It’s also a wonderful way to help your children learn about reducing waste, reusing materials, and caring about the planet. 

The Goddard School Welcomes Families in Alexandria, VA

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This article is written in partnership with the Goddard School in Alexandria West.

The Goddard School is coming soon to serve families in Alexandria, Falls Church, Arlington, Springfield, Annandale, and nearby areas. Owners Rahul and Taruna Jain have two children of their own and know how important it is for parents to find the childcare provider that is the perfect fit. They are committed to providing children in the community with the very best learning experience in a safe, healthy, and caring environment.

Every Step Necessary – And Beyond

As children transition back to childcare, Rahul and Taruna will be ready to welcome them to The Goddard School. The School uses advanced health and safety protocols that have been designed specifically with the well-being of the children, families, and faculty in mind. The thoughtful, physically distanced drop-off and pick-up procedures and the intentional, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing routines help families rest assured that Goddard has it covered.

Learning for Fun, Learning for Life

Each day, caring teachers guide students through The Goddard School’s F.L.EX. ®
Learning Program to ensure every day is filled with fun learning experiences. This method is based on academic research that shows children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun. Teachers create flexible, individualized lessons so students develop key social-emotional skills and receive science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) lessons to prepare them for school, careers, and life.

Enriching Young Minds

The Goddard School will also offer a wide range of enrichment programs that are designed to meet the individual needs of the children and encourage them to make their own choices, solve problems, and explore their passions and interests independently through fun, hands-on activities. These programs are offered every day at no additional cost. They may include activities such as chess, fitness, foreign languages, music, robotics, sign languages, yoga, and more.

The Goddard School located in Alexandria, VA, will open in December. Visit their
website or GoddardSchool.com to learn more about enrollment options.

Halloween Isn’t Cancelled: How to Trick-or-Treat From 6 Feet

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Halloween 2020

Halloween is the perfect kids’ holiday. It has: dress up, parent-sanctioned staying-up-late, candy, arts and crafts, and a chance to see parents joining in the creativity. So as the pandemic drags on and October 31st approaches, I’ve worried that we will have to call off the trick-or-treating. Then again, this holiday is all about creativity, so here are 6 ways to trick or treat from 6 feet:

Talk to your neighbors

Wandering around won’t be much fun if you don’t know which houses are have a trick-or-treat distancing plan. So talk to some neighbors, you can even share this blog post with them to start the conversation. Be sure to reach out to people who don’t have children too. Many older folks thrive seeing the creative costumes at Halloween, and these ideas can give them a chance to connect. Then make a plan to have the kids visit a select number of houses, you could make a map or give them a list.

If you live in apartments try meeting outside or at a park at a set time. You can use hula-hoops or caution tape to set up stations. The kids can follow a path to ‘trick or treat” at each family’s station. This also works if you don’t know your neighbors, invite a few parents from your kids class to meet at a park.

Set up your distancing system.

As we’ve all heard from Dr. Fauci, and the CDC pandemic safety is (mostly) about keeping a distance from others, so you’ll need a system. Don’t worry the internet has exploded with great options, and here are 6 ideas:

    1. Treat slide: You can use anything from a folded piece of cardboard to a stretch of gutter, as long as you have 6 fit of length. You can rest the slide on a railing, the backs of chairs, or any type of “stand” you may have on hand. For our slide we cut up amazon boxes and taped them together to make a long V. We used strips of masking tape across the top help it keep it’s shape. Then we taped it to kid-sized chairs. By keeping it low our kids can send candy down the shoot themselves and it’s easy for little ones to catch their treat at the bottom.
    2. Bucket on a pulley: What’s up moms has a great video on how to make a spookey treat bucket on a pulley. This is a bit more involved, but could be great fun for trick or treaters!
    3. Candy grave-yard: This is quite simple and requires no interaction with trick or treaters. Just tape pre-wrapped candy to bamboo skewers (the kind you use for bbqs). And place them around your yard, or if you are in a park, around your “station”. Kids can come through one at a time to pick them up. To add a spooky twist make these look like grave markers. A similar strateg y for a park or if you don’t have skewers lets you put those old amazon boxes to use makeing little “haunted houses.” Set them up like a town and place candy at each one.
    4. Candy tube-slide: Some people have taken this to the max like this mummy-style slide, but you can also just ziptie or pvc pipe to your railing.
    5. Haunted treat tree: If you happen to have a tree in your front yard with low branches, you can hang up candy. Use string or clothes pins so trick or treaters can pull candy off the branches.
    6. Barrier with candy toss: Any kind of barrier will work to keep trick or treaters away from your door. For example, a sign on a string can be taped across your banister, or taped to two chairs. Once you’ve established a safe distance. The person handing out candy can plan to toss the candy to trick or treaters. If you pitched softball this one may be for you!

Have fun trick-or-treating!

Don your costumes, and take the kids out to knock on doors and vist at a distance. At a time when so many of us need social connection this is a great opportunity. Enjoy the costumes and creativity and take time to talk with your neighbors! Remember to tell us about which one you’ll try in the comments!

Other ways to celebrate instead of trick-or-treating

  1. Carve pumpkins. This should be pretty self-explanatory and remember you can even order a pumpkin from the local supermarket.
  2. Decorate and enjoy decorated houses. Walking around to look at the creative decorations other people have in windows and yards is a great way to get the kids out for a walk. And makeing your ownr decorations is agreat rainy day activity for kids. What ever you create may bring joy to others! Check out this great guide for a spooky window hunt.
  3. Make Halloween themed treats, like these cookies, kids love to cook and these are easy enough for them to help with! Or, since who needs more sugar, try these healthy-ish treats.
  4. Watch a Halloween themed movie from our Halloween movies for kids list.

How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments bellow!

Mom of the Month: Denesia Rodgers {October 2020}

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The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms: working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms! Each month we will feature one special mom as the mom of the month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!

Denesia Dalia Rodgers: October Mom of the Month

Denesia Dalia Rodgers is a management consultant, yoga and meditation teacher, and a mom of two. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago, Denesia lived most of her early years in Northern New Jersey. Denesia found her home in Washington, DC, when she met her husband, who is a DC native. She is married to Lionel Rodgers, a teacher, head football coach, and community leader. She is mom to Logan (5) and Lexi (2) and an owner of a 5-year-old American Akita name Lucas. Denesia received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Africana Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She furthered her educational studies by obtaining a Master of Public Health Degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Health Services, Management, and Policy.

Professionally, Denesia is a passionate health care project management consultant with over six years of supporting federal and state-level clients and over nine years managing projects within the health care space. She is currently a manager at a federal and commercial consulting firm that helps commercial and public clients address their most critical challenges. Recently, Denesia completed her Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) through Yoga District. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) at the 200-hour level through Yoga Alliance. Denesia founded and created Healing Power Yoga DC, and her yoga brand focuses on bringing yoga to various communities and understanding how to make yoga more accessible. She specializes in Prenatal, Postnatal, and Vinyasa Yoga and creates meditations for individuals interested in tapping into their breath while finding calmness and peace. She teaches several classes virtually through yoga studios. 

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Sweet with @Sweettouchphotos

Here is our Q&A with Denesia:

What is it like being a mom and having a full-time career and teaching yoga?

Challenging is the word I would use to describe being a mom, having a full-time career, and teaching yoga. Each day is a balancing act and understanding the priorities of that day helps me stay on task and focused. I started shying away from the idea of “work-life balance” and more so tapping into understanding my current priorities. If I know what is critical right now, then it helps me not overload, overthink, and overwork. I can instead hone in on what is needed presently and what needs to take a backseat for a moment. 

What has helped me manage all of the things going on in my life is being organized, creating schedules, and implementing a calendar system in our home. We have a very large calendar in our kitchen. It lists appointments, kids’ activities, meetings, yoga teaching schedules, trips, and all of the essential things for our family to remember. This has helped me keep everything in order. Also, giving myself grace during this busy time has helped me preserve positive energy and a positive attitude when things get tough.

What is one thing you want your children to learn from you?

I want my children to learn from me the importance of having a strong work ethic. I genuinely believe I am able to accomplish so many things in my life because I work hard and go after the things I want. Though sometimes the road gets a little bumpy, I want my children to remember that their mom worked and accomplished the things she wanted because she stayed focus and gave things her best shot. 

A quote that was shared with me by my manager speaks to the work ethic I want my kids to learn from me. The quote says “There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Sweet with @Sweettouchphotos

What are three fun facts about yourself?

Three fun facts about myself are I love dancing, I am adventurous, and I love food!

    1. Dancing – Being a Caribbean woman, you can definitely catch me on any dance floor if I get the opportunity. I love a good song, a good beat, and a good time. I always play music during my yoga classes. 
    2. Adventurous – Finding activities, new experiences, and trying out different things is definitely who I am at the core. I love an opportunity to take my family somewhere different to explore. 
    3. Foodie – While I enjoy cooking for my family, I also enjoy trying new foods and exploring different foods from different cultures. I remember trying frog legs in Hong Kong and alligator in Costa Rica!
Photo Courtesy of Lauren Sweet with @Sweettouchphotos

Do you know an amazing mom that would be a great mom of the month?Nominate them here!

Reflections on Chrissy Teigen & My Pregnancy Losses

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October is Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month

Recently, we were all witness to Chrissy Teigen’s and John Legend’s loss of their son, Jack. Sadly, he was stillborn. Bravely, Chrissy shared intimate and heart-wrenching pictures on her Instagram account.

Chrissy had not too long ago announced—in her husband’s music video—that she was unexpectedly pregnant naturally, after undergoing IVF treatments to have her two older children, Luna and Miles.

If you’re obsessed with Chrissy and John as much as I am, you were overjoyed for them.
Needless to say, when I scrolled Instagram and saw that Chrissy lost the baby, my heart sunk. It was more than the usual feeling I have for folks I don’t *really* know and I wondered why I had such a strong reaction. Chrissy’s social media is full of fun and light-hearted content and then this hit like a ton of bricks.
Was it the rawness of the photos?
Was it because of the gestational age of the baby?
Did it bring up trauma from my two early first trimester miscarriages?
I’ve decided it was a mix of all three, but particularly my own trauma. Losing a baby—in any trimester—is terrible, though there is a unique experience at each stage. There’s a particular sense of emptiness, loss, and helplessness. It’s always been very hard for me to describe. But once you go through it, there is this permanent feeling of sorrow that bubbles up from time to time.
In the days after my first miscarriage, I sort of just went along with the usual routine of life, going to work and taking care of my older son. I did not take off any days from work. Avoidance, maybe? Shock?
When I got pregnant shortly thereafter and the same process repeated itself (no heartbeat at the first appointment), I just couldn’t believe it was happening again. Definitely shock. All of my fears came to the forefront:
Would I be able to have another baby?
Do I even want to attempt it knowing what terrible thing could happen?
Am I too old? Did I wait too long to have kids?
My answer to this was to wait for at least a few months, live life, and see how I felt about it all. Maybe I would decide to not try again and be happy with my wonderful son.
I decided to try again 8 months later, and this time everything worked out.
While I am overjoyed with the birth of my second son, it does not erase the stinging loss of two miscarriages.
My heart goes out to all of us remembering what could have been this month.

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Takoma Park, MD Neighborhood Guide

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We are grateful for the sponsor of this guide: Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate. Kelly Kelley is an expert for this area. Please be sure...