Monday, December 3, 2012

The Power Of Pause

 I'm thankful for the Internet in that I can research from home on any subject I would like. Parenting seems to be one of my top research subjects. Why, what, when, how to parent my kid. Now sometimes you can get caught up in it and shame creeps in. That's why I stick to the sites that are encouraging. One place I always check in on is Denali Parent Coaching on Facebook. Alice always has encouraging, wise words posted on her statuses. I've also had the joy of talking with Alice face to face and I always walk away encouraged about my parenting.

 I'm sharing with you an article that Alice wrote. I hope it encourages you as it did me. I hope I can encourage you that it is okay to ask for help. To ask for help doesn't make you a bad parent. In fact, I think it makes you a better parent because you want to do what is best for your family. I hope this article spurs you on towards positive parenting.

The Power of Pause
                                            Transforming relationships one pause at a time

  My eldest daughter has been a great teacher for me—I like to refer to her as my “practice child,” for her younger sister has reaped the benefits of all that Iʼve learned from her. My greatest lesson? The power of pause. It seems to me this is the baseline for growing positive, respectful, all around healthy relationships with our children...and it took my child to bring it to my attention. I admit, I am still working on developing this skill—it is difficult, and the results can be amazing—often transformational.

  As Emily entered the teen years, our altercations ramped up. One particular time stands out as a turning point in my awareness of the value of pausing. Emily wanted something and I was reacting with my usual and quick “NO!” She mirrored my reactive-ness and verbally fought back. Things escalated and soon she was in a full out tantrum, one that would rival any toddlerʼs. Iʼm not sure if I screamed (losing it just as my daughter had) for her to go to her room or if she just stomped off, but her door slammed and all became quiet. I remember sitting there on the floor, tears streaming down my face, seething with anger. My cat came to curl onto my lap—Iʼm not sure whether to seek comfort or to give it—and as I stroked her I found I could begin to collect myself.

  My husband and I talked about what just unfolded and I began to relax and wish I could take back how I had behaved with Emily. And then I was completely surprised, for my daughter came out of her room, pushed the cat gently out of my lap, and curled her young womanʼs sized body into it. She lay there just as my cat had been moments before—curled up tight. I found the last of my reactive-ness fade away and I continued my stroking—but on my daughterʼs back this time. Soon we began talking and before long we had apologized, collaborated, and compromised—reaching a decision that truly was a win-win for both of us. A transformational moment in our relationship.

  What allowed such a transformational experience to unfold? Emily employed the power of pause. She removed herself, calmed herself down, and reconnected. Her removing herself gifted me a pause, as well. I had space to let go of my anger, to take deep breaths, to calm myself down—allowing me to be receptive to her reconnection. My lessons didnʼt stop here. Many times through her teen years Emily created the pause that I was having a hard time doing. I grew to admire her ability to come back calmed down and ready to listen as well as be heard. My heart would open up, I would be able to hear what she was saying, and weʼd usually find solutions that worked for both of us. But it took her being what I consider the bigger person—she used the power of pause successfully long before I did. She has been a great teacher.

  How have I used my lessons? I now find I am able to be the one to employ a pause prior to responding reactively when one of my daughters “pushes my button.” My pause looks different with each situation. Sometimes I model myself after a friend who is a pro at this already and say, “Let me think on that awhile and Iʼll get back to you”—and then I do, even if it takes all day to find the calm from which to work from. Sometimes I break eye contact, turning my attention to a chore that needs to be done. There have been times when all I can say is “Iʼm feeling angry, I need to take a walk,” and then do so. And there are moments when I literally zip and lock my mouth and just sit with my child in their feelings.

  Each time I find I am able to return to the subject of concern feeling ready to ask questions, listen, and be heard—as well as respected. What a difference from yelling, banging doors, tears, and “Iʼm going to do it anyway, you canʼt stop me” experiences. What message am I giving my girls when I can remain calm and connected as they explore the limits of life? I like to think they are learning appropriate ways to be an adult and to handle strong feelings. I believe they are feeling heard and respected, and in return they often find the limits I make acceptable. I look back on how Emily and I were a few years ago, and where we are now— our relationship has transformed into a mutually respectful and loving one that brings me incredible joy. I credit the power of pause as the key that unlocked our struggling relationship and allowed it to bloom.

  What does a pause allow us to do—especially when employed before reacting? It allows us to act based on what we want the most (for me, a positive and respectful relationship) rather than re-act based on the emotion or circumstance of the moment. And it is from this calm and connected place we can then influence our children in positive ways. When we use a pause, we have the ability to transform our relationships.

  When have you felt great about and confident in the outcome of a conflict with your child? What did you notice about yourself? What could be different for you and your child the next time your button is pushed if you are able to create a pause and respond from a place of calm? What does pausing look like to you?

  We all want positive, respectful relationships with our children—and we want our children to grow up experiencing the same. Using the power of pause is a simple tool that has the profound ability to transform our relationships, from infancy on. Take a moment today, before reacting to your child, and think about what it is you want most with your relationship, and how this interaction could be a stepping stone in that direction. Take a moment to pause.

Alice Hanscam is a PCI Certified Parent Coach®, Certified Screamfree Trainer, and owner of Denali Parent Coaching. Visit her website at or contact her at 868-6933 or for more information.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hand Me Ups Gift Certificate Giveaway

 I love that we now have 4 great children clothing events that you can go buy kid gear at! It's about time Alaska! Bella Kids just had their event, Hand Me Ups is next , then our AK Mom 2 Mom sale! The 4th one is in Kodiak, called Forget-Me-Not and was in August.

 As we all know, kids go through clothing literally in a day. I don't know how many times I pull out the clothing, try it on a kid, and they are no longer in that size. But they were in it yesterday. Geesh! And kid shoes?! Who has ever tried to jam their kids cute, fat little feet in a shoe because you don't have the next size up yet?! Lucky for us, these sales are here for us to get some amazing deals.

 Kari, owner of Hand Me Ups, is holding her second event to help parents find clothes and gear for their kiddos on October 18-21st in the Mall at Sears in Anchorage.  You can choose to consign your items or/and shop for items! There is a family to be sale, which I think is great! Volunteers and consigners get to shop before its open to the public. The last day of the sale, items will be 1/2 off!

I'm going to let Kari do the rest of the talking. Kari, take it away!

"How I started Hand Me Ups:  The last couple years I went down south to visit my family.  While I was there my sister introduced me to consignment sales.  There were several sales in her area.  She showed me how she was able to sell her unused or outgrown kids stuff and make enough money to buy for the next whole season without spending money.  I was amazed by the organization, the high quality of the items at the sale, the great bargains and I loved shopping for my kids at them.  I started to really look forward to going to these sales when I came down for holidays or vacation.  I loved the opportunities that these sales gave families.  I loved how left over items were given to local charities to support those in need in the community.  I loved how you could shop in one location for everything.  I loved that you could sell and shop and not have to spend a lot of money in the process.  The more often I went to a sale, the stronger my desire to start one in Anchorage.  I knew I wanted Alaska to experience these sales and how they could benefit families.  I have two children and know how expensive it is to raise them.  Being able to shop in one place with one check out and support local families all at the same time is something I felt was needed. 

The First Hand Me Ups Sale was held in Anchorage in April of this year.  We had well over 500 families at the sale.  Many consignors brought Thousands and Thousands of items.  Within the first two days 1/2 of the items on the floor had been sold.  There were so many great deals they flew out the door.  By the end of the sale there was only a 1/4 of the items left.  Selling percentages were very high.  Several consignors (sellers) sold every single one of their items. 
This coming event is going to be held Oct. 18-21 at The Mall At Sears.  We already have more consignors (sellers) than we had at the first sale and still have two weeks to register and tag items.  We are prepared to have an amazing second sale.  We have a great location with lots of public exposure for items to be seen in front of hundreds of families.  Those that are new to our event can expect a fun, clean and organized sale atmosphere. We will also be holding a silent auction to benefit local Anchorage charities along with donating some unsold items to charity.  For those that can't make this event can keep up with us on Facebook (  or on our website ( .  We will be having a sale twice a year (In the spring around April-ish, and in the fall around October-ish). "

 Who is ready to do some shopping?! One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to Hand Me Ups! All you gotta do is follow the rules! It is mandatory that you answer the question on the blog comment form. I will be checking to make sure the person who won, did what they said they did. =)

Good luck! A winner will be chosen Monday night!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

AK Mom 2 Mom Table Giveaway (Closed)

 Who's excited for the AK Mom 2 Mom sale?!! I know it's not till November 10, but that will creep up on you so fast! Now everyone has PLENTY of time to go through all their baby, kid, and maternity gear. Sweet right?

 Maybe you are still asking, what is this AK Mom 2 Mom sale that you speak of?! Here is the low down. AK Mom 2 Mom was started by two lovely ladies to bring moms together to sell/buy baby, kid and maternity gear in one place. Think of a glorified garage sale of baby, kid and maternity gear. You can haggle and walk away with great gear! Or if you are a seller, make a lot of the money back that you spent on those clothes that the kids wore once! Wanna learn more? Visit our website at Check us out on facebook as well to hear more updates.

 We are giving away a table rental at the sale to one lucky reader! That's right, a $40 value! Score, right?! For those of you that don't win, grab a friend and split the table 20/20 so you can sell all your stuff. You can justify to your husband that you are selling LOTS of stuff and can't have the kids there. Then you can hang out with your BFF, make money, drink some coffee and watch other people handle their kiddos while you know your husband is doing an EXELLENT job watching your precious angels.

 Don't just think clothes for baby gear. Break out that wipe warmer, crib sheets, cute booties that were never worn, books, toys, breast pump, hair bows that your daughter refuses to wear, snow suit, play mat, bibs, bottles, barney DVDs (you might give those away to the first person that will take them!), rain boots, etc! We all have stuff that we can declutter! More room to shop the sales for other stuff right?!

 When we had our sale in the Spring, over 300 people walked through the doors to shop. This is a great way to sell your gear, to the right market. Easier then meeting up with someone off Craigslist, hoping and praying "she" is not a serial killer. We had one mom who made over $300 selling her kid gear!

We will also have a large item room that you can sell your stroller, crib, bikes, ride on toys, swings, kid sleds, car seats, etc. There will be someone there to manage the room so you can sell your smaller items at the table.

 So what are you waiting for? Enter to win! This is NOT open to business vendors. If you are a business vendor, don't wait to long to sign up because we only have a certain amount of spots and they are filling fast! A winner will be chosen on Sunday night. There are several ways to enter your name so please follow the rules! Good luck!

PS I PROMISE to get better photos of the upcoming sale. =)

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bella Kids Gift Certificate Giveaway! (Closed)

 Don't you just love Bella Kids' logo? It makes me smile and the colors are so bright and cheery. Samantha, the owner, asked if I would do a giveaway. Of course, I replied! So here is Samantha with a little bit about her event!

"Bella Kids Fall Consignment Event is taking place in two weeks, September 28-30, 2012 at the Sheldon Events Center at the Alaska State Fairgrounds!  Bella Kids is a seasonal consignment event that is creating a unique avenue for Alaskans to both buy and sell quality new and used kid’s items. Our goal is to provide a fun, convenient, and organized venue for you to recycle your quality used kid’s items and resell them to earn extra money. We strive to bring shoppers exceptional deals in an enjoyable, efficient environment."

"We had a wonderful first event this past April. We had over 40 consignors with over 5,000 items and over 400 shoppers! We also had an amazing turnout of volunteers, who were vital in making our event a success!
If you are interested in our event as a shopper, consignor, or volunteer you can find us at and on Facebook at You can also contact me at (907) 841-0916."

 Wanna win a $25 gift certificate to shop at Bella Kids? Just follow the rules! The giveaway closes Monday night! Good luck!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

 Hello all! I'm back from my trip and getting back in the swing of things!

 I wanted to post about our trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center we took this summer before it got colder out. You can still visit this cool place in the winter, it's open year round, but I think it's more grand in the summer and fall. Just my opinion. Oh, don't forget to "like" AWCC on Facebook to read their up to date info on animals and events.

 AWCC is an hour south of Anchorage, before the Portage Glacier turn off. AWCC and Portage Glacier makes a great day trip. The rates are $12.50 per person, kids 4-12 are $9 and kids under 4 are free. There is a maximum charge of $35 per car though.

 AWCC sits in a beautiful, scenic area off of Turnagain Arm. It really is breathtaking with the mountains surrounding you. You can drive around the park and get out at each animal exhibit or park and walk. We walked because it was such a nice day and I didnt want to load/unload 3 kids in car seats.

 The center takes in orphaned or hurt animals then rehabilitates them . Each of the animals starts with a sad story, then ends on a happy note because they are living and well taken care of. There were lots of baby animals to see.

 There is a nice gift shop that has lots of Alaska souvenirs as well as a small snack shop. It is a very clean place to visit and I think a must see for those out of town visitors. The only thing that I did not like was the road being what everyone walked on. With 3 kids under the age of 5, it was stressful for me when cars passed. Large tour buses go through there as well. You just have to be sure you are paying attention when the kids are out walking around.

 Be sure to wear clothes that can get dirty. I wish I would of brought the kids rain boots. I tried to keep Brooke out of the first couple puddles. Then I got tired of that because they were everywhere. So I let her go for it. She had to jump in every single one, so she brought up the rear.

 After we ate lunch on the front porch of the AWCC, we drove over to the Beggich Boggs Visitor Center in Portage Glacier. I'll write more on that visit another day. I need to get to bed before my kids wake me up!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Eklutna Lake

 I've been wanting to visit Eklutna Lake with the kiddos for awhile now, so I was glad we finally went with a friend and her kids. It was beautiful in Anchorage, but windy in Eklutna. I was so glad we stayed and didn't chase the sunshine in Anchorage.

 Eklutna Lake is off the Glenn Highway, exit at Mile 26. Follow all the signs about 10 miles to the lake. You can camp as well, but I've heard it has become really popular and hard to get a site. If you plan on camping, get there early.

 Quick fact, Anchorage residents get their drinking water from Eklutna Lake.

We brought lunch and had a picnic. The adventure started with throwing rocks.

  Then it moved to looking for frogs in the grass. Did you know we have frogs here? Yea, wood frogs! They freeze in the winter time and thaw as temperatures warm! Crazy huh?

Then to climbing dead tree stumps. I collected driftwood for a future Pinterest project.

 The boys explored. My friend and I were so amazed how long they stayed in the water. We put our feet in and it HURT!

  I LOVED watching my kids play. No plastic toys. They were entertained for hours with the water, sticks, clay and rocks.
The boys found the clay.

The girls splashed.

  We watched kayakers paddle out. There was also an older man swimming laps in the lake.

  I collected a bucket full of the clay to make pottery for later.

  Then we had to stop by Rochelle's Ice Cream Stop. They are open everyday from 10a to 9pm in the summer. They open Mother's Day and generally close for the season on Labor Day. It was delicious!

  We sat at picnic tables while we ate. After the kids scarfed the ice cream down, they ran around. I don't know where they got the energy from because we just spent hours exploring Eklutna Lake!

 "Kora, can I have a bite?"

 This was another beautiful site for us mommies.

A great time to visit is in the fall as well.....which is right around the corner. (SIGH)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What To Expect Books Giveaway (Closed)

 Seems like forever ago that I was pregnant with my first child. That was almost 6 years ago, not really forever. But man does time fly!! I remember the first book I got when I found out I was pregnant, What To Expect When Expecting. I read through those chapters every month. Sometimes I would read the next month because I was so excited to see how my baby was growing. My favorite part of the book was the pictures month to month of the baby.

  Honestly, I was overwhelmed. Pregnancy was a new thing for me (obviously) so I was reading and researching all that I could. This book has A LOT of information. This is a great book to have on your shelf for a resource to go back to. It's actually kind of intimidating when you open the book and see mostly text and few pictures. BUT it's worth it. You have a question, you can probably find it in this book.
  I was actually contacted by What To Expect and they wanted to offer me three of their books for a giveaway! Lucky you!! I already knew What To Expect When Expecting was a great book to have on my shelf so I was excited to get the other two books.

 Honestly, I was overwhelmed (seems I've been overwhlemed a lot since having kids!) looking at those 3 books when they came in the mail. Those are some thick books! It takes me a whole day to read an article in a magazine, so I knew I wasn't going to get through these books anytime soon. I'm also on my third kid and my youngest is turning 2 so I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt... stretch marks, c-section scars and saggy boobs.

 What To Expect The First Year has some great topics. It goes through every month after the baby is born and touches on almost every subject. From breastfeeding, child care, feeding baby and more. I like that it has first aid do's and don'ts. I've visited this area in The Baby Book a time or two. I'm glad to have another book on the shelf to resort to when one of my kids are sick at 2 am.

  What To Expect The Second Year is a smaller book, does this mean it gets easier?! Cha, right! This book talks about toddlers eating, sleeping, their behavior, disciplining, heath and more. Like I said before, great resource book to have, especailly when they start becoming little people with minds!

 What To Expect also has a wealth of information on their ever changing web site. You can become a member and get advice from other moms. I think moms need a network of other moms. I'm SOOOO thankful for my mommy friends that lend an ear to vent or give me sage advice when I'm at my wits end.

Alright Jamie, get to the good stuff, what about the giveaway?! What To Expect is giving away 2 copies of each book! There are up to four chances to win one of these books, be sure to follow the directions.

 You have to go through the rafflecopter entry at the bottom, comments on the blog itself will not count! PLEASE< PLEASE do this, I really don't want to chase people down because I want people to win. Just follow the directions. =) PLEASE!!

Good Luck and happy reading!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Westchester Lagoon Park

  We visited Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park which is in Westchester Lagoon park area. This is always a great place to walk, bike, and play. Little bit of personal info, my husband proposed to me here, and then we went ice skating. So yes, I love Westchester Lagoon.

  The Anchorage Park Foundation opened up this cool, new park last year. There are great signs around the area that inform you about the nature that you might see. I really appreciate because they provide great teaching moments for myself and the kids.

  My son, Kaden, is big time into Spider Man so he was digging the cool spider web area. My little girls couldn't really climb it but they loved crawling under the ropes into the middle. I like when parks have the mulch instead of sand, seems much easier to clean up.

 Have you ever been to a new playground? Some of the new aged equipment I have NO clue how to use! Luckily, there was a family using this twist thing. So Kaden jumped in and I spun! I can't do turns and twists, I puke. I'm the one who has to cover my eyes when the roller coaster comes on in the movie theatre and rolls through the popcorn and such. SO I was very impressed that my son wanted me to keep spinning him! He must of gotten that from his father!

  Brooke would spend all day in a swing or on a trampoline if I let her. So when we come to this park, this is where she spends most of her time. It's pretty cool because she can ride with several of her friends. My favorite swing is...

 THIS one!! Doesn't look like much, but get on it first! You are swinging left and right, and going up and down. I couldn't stop laughing on it when I rode with a friend. Kind of a pain to get on and off but well worth it!

  I didn't get a photo of it, but there is a little sand and water table and some other equipment to climb on. When we were done with the playground, we took a little walk on the Tony Knowles coastal trail. We watched ducks in the lagoon and looked for salmon. The kids found this little area and went to town!

  They would disappear and then pop up. Then they started throwing dandelion heads at us. So of course, my friend and I had to throw them back! It was all out war! My girls sat happily in the stroller and blew the dandelions. What a difference between boys and girls.

 Watching the Alaska train ride by was a great end to our outing. The kids got them to blow the whistle and the kids were sitting on top of the world. We will be back to visit this park for sure!