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Archie Andrews has died, felled by an assassin's bullet intended for a friend. Let's pause here to mourn an iconic figure of our childhood.

For a writer, it's a gift to know someone reads your writing. For a storyteller, it's high praise to hear a story in return. Have I mentioned I love getting mail?

Dear Mr. Dad: We have two boys, ages four and nine. The nine-year-old has no problem sleeping in his own bed, but the four-year-old constantly wants to sleep with my husband and me. I don't mind an occasional "sleep over" - especially when my husband is away on business and the bed seems so empty. But lately, my son wants to be in our bed every night. That seems a little old to me. Is co-sleeping with a four-year-old okay?

When the strong-arming began to tax gym memberships and exercise classes in D.C. (as is already done in many states), opponents to the tax turned out to protest by striking yoga poses in public spaces - the warrior pose, the mountain pose, assorted poses with arms, hips and torsos thrust at interesting angles. The protest was so much more original than the usual placard-carrying protests that I immediately raised my free weights in support.

Q: When is it normal for a boy's voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.

Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep, and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

There he is, aging right before my eyes. In the churchy light of early morning, I can see the peach fuzz emerging on his face. Pre-whiskers. What's next? A pimple? Puberty? Dear Gawwwwd.

Q. I'm pregnant with my first child. I'll soon be married to the father who also has one biological daughter and a 7 year-old son who he found out wasn't his when establishing paternity for child support after the boy turned 1 year of age.

I've been divorced for three years, and my mother is still hoping it's just a phase.

There's a giant tent frame outside my beach rental blocking my view of the ocean. It was here when I got here and it's clearly been abandoned. I understand canopy tents are a pain to take down, but to just strip the canopy and leave the frame? Talk about pitching a tent . . . .

With all the alarming news about the Philadelphia School District finances and whether the Pennsylvania legislature will or won't institute a cigarette tax to bolster funds, there's one lovely little ray of good news:

Being engaged and informed in your child's health is one of the most important roles that a parent can fill, but dealing with a health issue can be anxiety-inducing for most parents. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate health concerns for your child.

1. Most Stunning Revival: Eccentric Ancestor Names

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday, and she was recalling something her young son said to her that surprised her.

What do young explorers need when they visit distant shores? The latest in sturdy beach toys and water-resistant backpacks.

Moms looking for a pair of sturdy aquatic shoes for their kids may want to try the Summer Slip-on Sneakers made by Native Kids and available through retailer Chasing Fireflies. The shoes, with holes in the tops and sides, provide breathability for those feet. They are also a terrific alternative to flip-flops because they offer sturdiness and support.

Given the history of climate change science - predictions that, no matter how draconian, are often so vague that the dangers are easily ignored or misinterpreted - the specificity of new research out earlier this month from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is intriguing: measurable rises in the number of kidney-stone cases at hospitals and doctors' offices that can be linked to increases, even small ones, in the average daily temperature.

Summer holidays are often the time when divorced or separated parents spend the most one-on-one time with their children. When young children are involved they can tend to become more anxious and difficult during this time as they are still too young to understand change and find the distance between their parents difficult to comprehend. They often become overwhelmed especially if it involves more sleepovers than usual and can be difficult to manage. Here are some tips to help ease your young child through this transition.

Every family relies on a babysitter from time to time, but how do you choose the right one? I've compiled a list of 5 traits that'll help you choose a babysitter that your kids will love - and you'll feel confident trusting, too.

My daughter's room is a mess.

Toddlers can be demanding and unrelenting. And if you have one, you know they're also kind of strange. Doorknob licking and barking like a dog are commonplace. But these freaky behaviors do pass. "The vast majority of strange toddler behaviors are short-lived phases," says Heather Wittenberg, PsyD, psychologist and author of "Let's Get This Potty Started! The BabyShrink's Guide to Potty Training Your Toddler."

Summer break is a great time to introduce children to planning and preparing meals. While children as young as 3 can help scrub potatoes or tear lettuce, once children reach school age, they can take a more active role in meal preparation. Learning to follow a recipe is a life skill that all children need and is applicable to many aspects of life even out of the kitchen. If you are hesitant to set your Junior Chefs loose with the stove or oven, these "no cooking required" recipes might be just the thing for starters.

Popular culture would have us believe finding love in the summer is as easy as finding sand on a beach. Countless movies, novels and TV shows perpetuate the notion that when school's out, the temperature is up and clothes are scarce, romantic encounters with attractive, thoughtful, chiseled strangers happen all the time.

Despite all the rosy news one hears these days about sinking unemployment numbers and a rising economy, plenty of people are still having financial issues. As a result, a lot of families are taking their vacations a little closer to home. This week, we review a few cool items that will make any family road/camping trip a success.

Frederick Brown wakes up at 7 a.m. - eager, alert and ready to go.

Dear Mr. Dad: My 12-year-old daughter recently had a slumber party with two friends from school. One of them left her phone. I texted my daughter so she could tell her friend, and two seconds later got this back: DO NOT READ ANYTHING ON THAT PHONE!!!!! Clearly she was trying to hide something, so I immediately opened the phone and started reading the texts - especially between this girl and my daughter. With all the abbreviations, I could hardly understand what they were talking about. But based on my daughter's response, I'm worried. Should I be? And was I wrong to read those texts?

I've been dating a woman with a little girl for over a year now. She split with her ex right after she accidentally became pregnant. The baby was only 6-7 months old when we began dating. The two of them live with me in my house, and marriage has been discussed in depth.

Forbes released their first-ever list of the 185 richest families in America. I couldn't help but wonder who the 186th family was and how they took the news about not making the cut.

My grandmother was a master gardener. She grew dahlias and chrysanthemums, sweet peas and hydrangeas, tomatoes and corn, green beans and squash, sustenance for body and soul.

My jaw has been hurting lately. The pain is occasional and there's no physical explanation for it. Still, it arrives at the most unexpected - and inconvenient - times.



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