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Family - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:57:50 -0500 MYOB en-gb The Mommy Chronicles: A Day in the Life (and Why Organization Matters) Beaux William is ready for his first day of Kindergarten at Riverwood Classical School. 

As a kindergarten mother, I am so happy to see my Little back in school. Summer was great, there was a good bit of rest to be had, and, boy, was it had, but… I’ve gained back a huge sense of mommy purpose.

With a husband who works from home, there were many days this summer that I came home and felt completely out of the loop. Now, I’ve asserted myself, putting into practice a few things I’ve always planned to do. Let me tell you, organization during the school months is key, whether you have kids in high school, or starting school for the first time. Here are a few tips that I hope will help you get back into the school groove.

Make the decision that you will be successful in your scheduling. In most families, moms are the bread that hold the family “sandwich” together. Pray over your family, assert yourself during the times you feel like you can’t handle the tasks at hand, and do your best. It will all work out.

Create a routine that fits your family.  My son is amazing with his schedule. After our first day of school, I was adamant that his bedtime would be around 8:30 p.m., and that we’d have some sort of enrichment time each evening. We’re only a few weeks in, but we are doing it. 

What can you do? Start off by deciding your child’s bedtime. Once you know your end game, plug in any necessary activities, a regular time for dinner, and add time for all the things that are important to you and your family. Stick to the schedule, no matter how tired you are. Enjoy the (often too little) time you have with your child. A schedule is beneficial for everyone. 

Bathe your children at night. My Little used to weasel his way out of his nightly bath with cute faces, multiple requests for late night snacks, drinks, and even tears. These past few weeks, I’ve been super consistent. And I’ve enjoyed not having to fight a temper tantrum during a morning bath. 

What can you do? Even if it’s early, if you know your child is in the house for the rest of the night, make bath or shower duty happen, and go about the rest of your evening. 

I overheard a mom say once that her children’s bath night was “Wednesday.” Scheduling is great, but I’d strongly encourage you to do this more than once a week. Ha!

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Check out her blog at  

Family Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Disasters Happen, So Learn Life Saving Skills CSP Spotlight: Disasters Happen, So Learn Life Saving Skills

In the past 10 years, the United States has officially declared over 1,000 disasters.  In the Fall of 2017, alone, three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – were estimated to have impacted 25.8 million Americans. And more recently, Hurricane Florence caused major devastation to parts of North and South Carolina.

Chances are, one day you’ll be affected.  Planning now means you’ll have better control of the situation.  Below are six life saving skills to use before disaster strikes.

    • If unsure, ask your gas company.
    • Shutting off gas before an emergency can help avoid gas leaks and explosions.
    • If unsure, ask your local electric company.
    • Electrical problems cause an average of 25,900 house fires each year. The risk grows during a disaster.
    • Shut off breakers or pull out fuses in the breaker or fuse box.
    • An emergency communication plan means family members know where to go, what to do, and how to reconnect and reunite when disaster strikes.
    • Does it cover flood or earthquakes?
    • Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster. Just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
    • Locate pet-friendly shelters for your furry friends. Many emergency shelters can’t accept pets, for public health reasons. Service animals are always welcome.
    • Many communities have evacuation routes, learn about them. Minutes matter during a disaster.

What do all these tips have in common? The time for learning them is before a disaster strikes, not during. Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. LEARN MORE AT READY.GOV

]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 17 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Lake Living: “It Takes So Little to Make Big Changes,” So Start Today We took a wonderful vacation this summer to California. I’m doing everything I can to extend my everlasting summer!

Although some of us wish summer vacations could last forever, they don’t. It’s September now, and it’s time to get focused. Sure, we miss lazy days, but there’s also a bit of relief about getting back into a routine. 

Locally, there are big things happening, as new schools are being planned, and some new ones are opening their doors to accommodate Tuscaloosa's bloom of growth. Some families, however, (I relate from when I was newly divorced and my two now grown ones were in elementary school), are feeling a bit anxious about school expenses and obligations for their little ones.

A fellow Realtor, Tyler Bigbie, who has a big heart for acts of kindness, started Bigbie's Big Blessing, surprising one family with loads of school supplies. There were several nominations, so I thought some of our readers might like to help the others. If you want to help, call Tyler at 205-826-6476 or email him at to contribute. 

Accepting the UNICEF Danny Kay Humanitarian Award, actress Salma Hayek said, “It takes so little to make big, big changes.”

This is so true. Local churches are making waves in prisons by loving on the unloved every single week. And the big changes are everywhere. The mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs, is experimenting with giving low-income families $500 a month, with no strings, to give them relief. 

Pessimists are waiting to watch it fail. What was his response to that?

“I don’t mean give everyone a jet. Give them an income floor… we don’t know what they’ll do with it. I want to try it in my city, good or bad. I am an eternal optimist. I know the folks in my city, and I believe it is going to be good.”

One of my magazines had an “everlasting summer” list of things that we can all do beyond the summer months to extend that wonderful feeling. Most of them were for self-satisfaction, which is good (that’s what summer is about, after all). But beyond stomping grapes, sightseeing, feasting on fish, and watching the stars, there is more. We can do all these things with our kids, but we also need to find a way to teach them to spread acts of kindness. That’s guaranteed to make waves. Try it this week, and see how great it feels.

Little things. Big changes. Tuscaloosa is seeing lots of them. 

If you’re looking for a place to make a difference locally, there are lots of individuals, groups, and businesses doing great things. Not sure where to start? Giving blood is always a good option. And after that, who knows? You may come up with your own way to give back and make big changes. If so, be sure to share it with us at DCL.   

Happy Fall, y’all. It’s coming soon!




Allison Adams is a mom of four and a Realtor with Lake Homes Realty serving Lake Tuscaloosa. For comments, email  

Family Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Disasters Happen, So Check Your Insurance CSP Spotlight: Disasters Happen, So Check Your Insurance

September is National Preparedness Month. Do you know if your insurance covers disasters?

Insurance is the first line of defense; check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.

Flood Insurance allows communities and families to recover more quickly and more fully. Visit to learn more about flood insurance and how to protect your home or business.

Below are links to Insured Survivor Video Testimonials.  Please watch to see how helpful insurance was for each person and/or family.

  • US Army Sgt. Boggs almost lost everything during Hurricane Flood insurance gave him the financial protection he needed after the storm. Learn more:
  • Jeff’s daughter was just one week old when Hurricane Harvey hit. Flood insurance helped his young family get back in their home and back to their life.
  • “Having flood insurance meant having one thing less to worry about.” Rupi Prasad lost almost everything in Hurricane Flood insurance is helping her get back to her home and get back to retirement.
  • With flood insurance, John and Michelle Tipton are rebuilding their home safer and stronger after Hurricane Matthew. Flood insurance is worth the investment.
]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 10 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Tone-Up T-Town: Pregnancy Fitness Edition Low impact exercises, like barre, have been my movement of choice while pregnant, along with power walking Tuscaloosa's beautiful Riverwalk and downtown areas. 

Check out any daycare waiting list in Tuscaloosa, and you’ll quickly find out that Tuscaloosa is having a baby boom right now. Sure, those waiting lists have always been on the long side, but folks in the childcare industry tell me this is one of the biggest baby booms this city has seen in recent years.  

And, if you’ve run into me at the grocery store lately, you might have noticed… my expanding belly has now morphed from “food baby” to “baby baby!”  

As pregnant ladies, we get the constant message from our doctor to stay active. But as we journey from one trimester to the next, that recommendation often seems easier said than done.

But fear not, my fellow pregnant gals, I’ve spoken to the experts in town, and I’ve got some tips for us all. 

Understand the Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like people telling me what to do without an explanation. Thankfully, my doctors and my trainers have been clear – staying physically active during pregnancy not only helps you and baby while in the womb, it also helps you prepare for that monumental event called labor and delivery!  

Cat Noble, a pregnancy and post-natal fitness specialist, as well as owner and master trainer of The Barre Code, says that exercise during pregnancy offers multiple benefits for mom and baby.  

“Exercise helps you sleep better, lowers your chances for complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes, and in general can just ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy,” states Noble. 

Consider Your Pre-Pregnancy Fitness Level  

Talking with your doctor and being realistic about your current fitness level is incredibly important, according to Certified Health Education Specialist and personal trainer Neika Nix. If you weren’t training to become a contestant on America’s Ninja Warrior prior to pregnancy, you probably don’t want to start now that you’re with child.  

“For women who were not exercising before getting pregnant, and who get clearance from their doctor, I’d recommend getting moving as soon as you feel up to it by beginning a walking program, swimming (yay for buoyancy!) or stationary cycling,” said Nix.  

Respect Your Belly 

As you advance from one trimester to the next, your physical activity will change as your body becomes more limited. 

“Once you are mid-way through the second trimester, and in the third trimester, certain exercises will become difficult, and you will need to avoid those activities,” said Whitney Pape, a group exercise coordinator at The University of Alabama. “The biggest thing to avoid during these times are exercises involving lying on your back or stomach. You will need to avoid all abdominal and low back exercises. Planks are still fine with modifications as needed.” 

Pape also recommends attending a pre-natal yoga class and walking frequently to increase blood flow. 

Give Your Body Grace (and Avoid Comparison) 

Yes, exercise has multiple positive effects for mom and baby, but always remember that your body and pregnancy are completely unique from someone else’s experience.  

Cat Noble explains it this way.  

“Be kind to yourself. You are literally growing a life inside your body. Your pregnancy is not identical to anyone else's, nor should it be. On days when you don't feel like you're making progress, don't look a certain way, or feel good at all, know that you are creating a human and that is enough. You are enough,” Noble said.”  

“And don't you dare ever search #fitpregnancy on Instagram unless you're planning on training for the CrossFit games two weeks after birth.” 

For more information regarding physical activity during pregnancy, visit, and always consult with your doctor about exercising during your pregnancy. 

Family Tue, 04 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Give Life To Your Story: Just How Much is Enough? Mike Green is Executive Director of Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ. He and his wife, Laura, have two grown children and two beautiful grand kids. You can reach Mike at

How much “stuff” is enough? All families struggle with this simple, yet profound question. In America today, there are always bigger homes, faster cars, and more powerful gadgets to exhaust a budget of any size. But how much should we have? Does there ever come a point in our accumulation of assets, toys, experiences, and bank accounts that we ever say, “I have enough”? 

Nearly every day, I am bombarded with a wide array of opinions on the subject. Every 10 minutes of TV programming is punctuated with an attractive list of products that could improve my life and make me happy. The ads tend to say I need just a little bit more. Scattered throughout my day, I am also made keenly aware of the needs of others. By either physical contact with those in need, a solicitation in the mail, or a reminder from my pastor of a world that lives on pennies a day, I understand that I have been immensely blessed.

I heard a radio report back in the spring about a player that would be drafted in the top five of the NFL draft. I understand that this a 21-year-old kid, but I thought his comments were enlightening. He was asked if he cared which team would draft him. He said “no” – that he didn’t care. Very mature. He went on to say he just wanted to make enough money to “take care of his family.” I kid you not. Here was a guy who was about to sign a contract in excess of $10 million, and he was just hoping he and his agent could negotiate enough millions to eke out a livable wage to support the wife and kids. Obviously his “enough” has a lot of zeroes at the end of it. 

I also heard someone recently talk about how he and his family had determined a dollar amount. Yep, they had actually determined what was going to be enough for them. And they had committed as a family that anything they received beyond that number they would give away. I don’t know how large or small their number was, or how they calculated it, but it made me ask myself, do I have a limit? If a long-lost relative died and left me millions, would I hoard it, or use it to meet the needs of the world around me? If my employer suddenly tripled my salary, would I just assume I deserved it all? Or would I see it as a clear sign that I was being placed in a position to do something more significant for people and organizations in need? 

Have you stopped to determine what your “enough” would be? Are you content with what you have been given, or are you constantly seeking more? Do you own your stuff, or is your stuff owning you? I would love to hear your thoughts.  

Family Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Tips for Parents About Pacifier Use CSP Spotlight: Tips for Parents About Pacifier Use

Most babies have a natural need to suck, and find it calming.  This type of sucking is called "non-nutritive sucking" because the baby is not being fed.  Giving a baby a pacifier can satisfy a baby’s need to suck.  If parents choose to give their baby a pacifier, here are some tips for using it safely.

  • Wait until breastfeeding is going well (usually after about three to four weeks). If a pacifier is given to a baby before then, nipple confusion may occur and make breastfeeding hard to establish. After a pacifier is introduced, it should never be used to delay or replace regular feedings.
  • Let a baby decide whether to use a pacifier. If a baby shows no interest in using a pacifier, do not force it.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. If a baby uses a pacifier, the best times to offer it are at nap time and bedtime. Using a pacifier at these times may help lower a baby’s risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Don’t coat pacifiers. Sucking on a pacifier coated with anything, especially sugar, honey, or jam, increases a baby’s risk for tooth decay.
  • Attach pacifiers with clips that have short ribbons to keep from falling. Never tie a pacifier to a baby’s wrist or neck or to a baby’s crib. The string can get tangled around the baby’s neck and make the baby choke.
  • Clean pacifiers and replace them regularly. Wash a pacifier that has fallen on the ground or floor with soap and warm water before giving it back to a baby. Parents who clean pacifiers with their mouths pass bacteria that cause tooth decay to the baby. Carrying extra pacifiers is a good idea.
  • Check pacifiers for wear and tear. Over time, pacifiers can break down. Look at the rubber every now and then to see if it is discolored, cracked, or torn. If it is, replace it.
  • Do not share pacifiers. Each baby should have their own pacifier(s). Letting babies share a pacifier can pass bacteria that cause tooth decay and increases a baby’s risk for tooth decay.


]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 03 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Parenting Tips CSP Spotlight: Parenting Tips

Being a parent is a wonderful gift, but sometimes that gift can be overwhelming.  Below are 10 parenting tips for parents with children of all ages to help guide you along the way when times seem hard or if you just need a little help in certain areas.  

  1. Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open with your child should be a priority for all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to.

  1. Knowing Your Children’s Friends

In my opinion this is critical: Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friend’s house, go out of your way to call the parent and introduce yourself, especially if they are spending the night at a friend’s house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them.

  1. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school

Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.

  1. Keep your Child Involved

Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, or school clubs such as chess, government, the school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble

  1. Learn about Internet Social Networking

With today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to get educated and they also need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – to think before they post. Help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. To not get involved with strangers and especially to not talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without a parent being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online. Parents make sure to look for resources to help assist in protection on those electronic gadgets.

  1. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer

In today’s generation I believe we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy; however, at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes, ASPCA, Humane Society or places where they are giving to others or helping animals. It can truly build self-esteem and it helps others.

  1. Make Time for your Child

This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is so all about electronics (cell phones, iPods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished. Pick a time, 8:30pm? 9:00pm? To take 15 minutes and turn off all electronics and talk about your day.

  1. When Safety trumps privacy

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable for and responsible for our child.

  1. Are you considering outside treatment for your child?

Residential Therapy is a huge step, and not a step that is taken lightly. Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or -- God forbid -- gang relations, it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement. Read Wit’s End! for more information.

  1. Be a parent FIRST

There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it or not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.


]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 27 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Nurturing Your Child’s Emotional Development (Infants and Toddlers) CSP Spotlight: Nurturing Your Child’s Emotional Development (Infants and Toddlers)

As parents, we learn about the benefits of regular doctor visits, immunizations, physical activity, and proper nutrition. We understand the need for stimulating toys and activities to promote brain development. However, we may overlook the importance of nurturing our children’s emotional development.

Every child is unique. Some children are cheerful and adaptable while others are moody and easily distressed. Emotion and behavior are based on the child’s temperament and development stage. Keeping these truths in mind, utilize the tips below to guide your child into an emotionally healthy future.

  • Develop a strong bond with your newborn. Respond often and quickly to your baby’s needs. Take time to interact with your infant engaging in eye contact and speaking or singing softly.
  • Intently observe your growing infant. Only when you are able to recognize your child’s emotions and behaviors can you begin to help him understand them.
  • Become familiar with typical age appropriate emotional development, PAL has a great deal of information which can help you. Look on the PAL website ( or contact a Parent Resource Specialist using our toll-free phone line (1-866-962-3030).
  • Tantrums are common during the toddler years. These outbursts of emotion are normal but nonetheless stressful for parents. When your child has calmed down use the language to help him identify what he might have been feeling. “It looks like you were mad because Mommy said you couldn’t have the candy.” Teaching him to label his emotions helps him to understand himself and others.
  • Don’t scold your child for strong emotions. Your child needs to know that it is okay to express his emotions. However, you will need to teach him proper ways to express his feelings without harm to himself or others. Children who are taught these skills early are better able to handle negative feelings as adults.
  • Read stories to your child about feelings. Ask questions about people you encounter such as, “Do you think she is happy or sad?” or “Why do you think she is crying?”
  • Model healthy emotional behaviors. Your child is always watching and learning from your example. When you manage your emotions in a positive way, your child will do the same.


]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 20 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
The Mommy Chronicles: A Few Tips to Prepare for those Milestones, Mom Beaux William (right) and his friends (from left to right), Sam and Silas Barrett, pose with an astronaut on the first morning of camp. Church of the Highlands’ annual summer camp, “Summer Blast,” had a 2018 theme of “Outta this World.”

As a child, I loved the movie Heavy Weights. And even though I was slim from competitive swimming (the movie is about kids at a “fat camp”), I absolutely wanted to go. Cabin living, swimming in an icky, green-colored lake, and staying awake all night with friends, sneaking sweets we’ve hidden away from the establishment? Yes, please! 

My five-year-old recently went to camp for the first time. Thankfully, my friend and neighbor allowed her five-year-old to attend as well, and although it was only day camp, I think we both had our doubts. Are the boys safe? Are they old enough? Amplifying my worry, I noticed one of our boys' counselors had braces! I’m only 33, but goodness, seeing that made me feel 65. 

While I’m thankful we’re not at the point where overnight camp is an option, I’ve come to terms that with every milestone he encounters, there will be a huge tug in my heart that comes along with every new thing my son experiences. When the doors to the auditorium opened, and I watched him find his counselor (after running back a few times for hugs he knew I needed). As he bounced and danced with a friend, I left… and I drove away wondering if I was ready for all the “firsts” we will encounter over the next few years. (Insert tears here.)

How should we prepare for our children’s milestones, whether they be camp, school, graduation, or something else entirely? Don’t worry mama, here are tips for you…

Understand that motherhood is like continuing ed. Five years in, I’m still learning and evolving as a mom. Motherhood routinely tests your patience, your resilience, and your temperament. As your children grow and reach individual milestones, make sure to keep the dialogue open. Teach them as you learn, and stay open-minded – so you’ll learn from the change, too. Also, never allow your child’s age to trick you into thinking you cannot have a serious or profound conversation that benefits you both. 

Kelly Ship, mother to 16-year-old Jackson says that prayer plays a big role in preparing for her son’s milestones. “Kevin and I both speak very honestly to him about the responsibility that comes with new freedoms,” she said. “I even made him sign a contract before he started driving.”

Banish worry and accept fear. Worry inhabits us when we dwell on what might happen. We’ve all been there: Will my child have friends at school? Who will sit with my child at lunch? Will the new teacher be firm, but also loving and kind? 

These are legitimate concerns, but once worry takes over, the concerns become preoccupations that are more harmful than helpful. Fear, on the other hand, is great to have as a parent. Fearful impulses can protect our children from situations and people that may cause them danger. 

Welcome change. Your child’s milestone means they’re entering a new stage of development that will affect the adult they’ll become. Welcome the growth and what you’ve taught them!

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Check out her blog at  

Family Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500