FROM LORI’S LAPTOP – AUGUST 2017

FROM LORI’S LAPTOP – AUGUST 2017

My fondest memories are of being a little girl wearing my flip flops, my swimsuit, smelling of sunscreen sporting Popsicle fingers, and my perceived freedom from routine and parents.

Recently when a group of adults were asked about their favorite summer memories as a child, inevitably they all included outdoor stories. They also included experiencing the freedom that the outdoors afford us and how they thought children today don’t have that anymore.

I would counter that children may not be getting outdoors as much, and on that I think we can all agree, but I’m not sure we had any more freedom than kids do today. With 5 children to care for, my mom was a busy, busy person and may not have always known where we were, but her village helped in that regard the same way she knew where their children were. The support of the village was crucial and still is.

I think children believe they are free even when adult eyes and ears are paying attention to ensure their feelings of independence while keeping them safe. As parents if we foster that independence and encourage them to explore, the satisfaction they gain is imperative to growing and developing into high functioning adults. What’s not to love about that?

With my sticky fingers and freckled nose I could travel into my world of imagination as I explored plants, where the fairies lived and I could travel to other worlds before I could read. I was free to imagine, free to explore and thought I was alone even when my parent’s and village’s eyes and ears knew of my whereabouts and ensured my safety.

What’s your favorite summertime memory? I hope you can help your own child experience some of what that was and that it’s equally sticky, warm and magical.

 

 

 

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From Lori’s Laptop – July 2017

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” Abraham Lincoln.

July we celebrate all that America stands for and the pride we have in our country. As we instill in our children that pride, the words of Abraham Lincoln said so long ago, ring true today as we navigate a world that seems so complicated and unsettling. I’m certain though that what President Lincoln hoped to accomplish seemed unthinkable and impossible. It’s that sort of patriotism and courage that we can admire and aspire to.

As you celebrate with our little ones I hope you have a chance to tell them about history and how we became a country. I hope you share with them their part in the process as future voters. I hope you share with them that we don’t all agree, but we all love freedom.

I hope you share with them that we are made up of so many different cultures that all came here believing that we are the last best hope of earth and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that we live up to that vision.

Happy 4th of July!

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From Lori’s Laptop – June 2017

I’m so glad we now have teen dads at the Marian Pritchett High School who are parenting their little ones while going to school. 3 graduated just last month! Dads play such an important part in a child’s life and the opportunity to be involved early can make all the difference in their child’s life.

June is the month we celebrate dads. No matter who we are we all have one. Dads take on a very special place in the hearts of their children. Research about male parents (biological or not) shows that men and women bring different strengths and styles to their parenting.

We all know the typical stereotype of the dad tossing the baby into the air while the mother is more likely to hold the baby close. Men also use more advanced language with their babies, using words with more syllables than women do.

A great example of how different men are is when we had our first baby, a boy. My husband would walk him around the house, holding him up high or putting him on his back, flying him through the air all while describing everything he was seeing. “This is what under the counter looks like.” “This is what the ceiling fan looks like.” Etc. etc. This is something I would have never thought to do, yet it came naturally for him and was a classic interpretation of how men relate to their children.

We know from research that fathers spend more time in play with their children and are more boisterous. They help children problem solve and challenge their children more. They provide an important role in a child’s life beyond improved financial stability, they are the person who will love their child like no other. They are a protector.

For these reasons and so many more we honor dads this month. We know not all dads are involved or “there” for their children, so we doubly honor those that are. One doesn’t have to be the father of a child to make a difference in their lives. If your child doesn’t have a biological father to turn to, they will still thrive. It’s important however to work to provide them with the natural, strengths that come from a male parenting style through uncles, grandfathers, group leaders or through your own mate.

Simply said, dads and men are important in a child’s life. We appreciate all those that make a difference by engaging with, supporting, loving, nurturing and being the most important part of a child’s upbringing through your unique and necessary influence. We hope your day is filled with all the relaxation and adoration you so deserve.

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From Lori’s Laptop – May 2017

As a mother of three May is one of my favorite months. We don’t just celebrate Mother’s Day at my house but also my birthday and wedding anniversary. It’s one of the rare times that all eyes are on me; the daughter, the wife, the mom. We women tend to shift attention away from ourselves to concentrate on our kids, our jobs, our families, our friends and our volunteer work. How lovely is it though to discover how treasured we are in the world? How lovely to recall all that being a wife and mother means.

I recall a time that I was frustrated I had to rock the baby to sleep and now they aren’t even in the same house to hug.

I recall a time when I didn’t want to feed hungry people, and now I invite them to come over and look forward to feeding them.

I recall a time that I just wished the house was quiet and I could watch my show in peace. Now I record shows so we can watch them together.

I recall wishing I didn’t have to watch another Disney movie, and now my husband and I attend them together with no kids in tow.

I recall a time that I just wanted one minute in the bathroom alone and now that always happens and I kind of like that.

I recall a time I hated changing diapers and tying shoes and zipping zippers and finding mittens and yanking on boots and hollering, “It’s time to go!” Now I only do those things for me and it’s so simple and fast and how did I ever do all of that?

I recall a time that I just wanted to snuggle with them a little longer and they squirmed out of my arms to run and play or explore the world.

I recall a time I was so proud of them and wanted to yell to the world, “That kid is mine.” I still do that thankfully.

I recall a time that I held them close and whispered all of my dreams for them, and now so many of those dreams have come true.

I recall a time I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have grown children and seeing that we’d done a good job. Now I can see that every day and it feels amazing.

I hope that your Mother’s day is blessed and full of whatever makes it special. I hope you recall that none of it lasts forever but as it changes, it’s still good, it’s still motherhood and it’s still important. Enjoy!

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From Lori’s Laptop – April 2017

April is Child Abuse Awareness month and I can’t think of a better way to start April than to announce that we are holding our very first Community Café. This Café is for parents and is the first in a series of guided conversations based on the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework. It involves leadership and parents partnering in conversations that are meaningful and supportive.

We know that all parents need support, connections and information about child development in order to build on their family strengths and to raise a happy and healthy family. Community Cafes provide the opportunity to simply talk in a safe environment where there are no “experts” per se, but conversations that allow parents to reach out for help and support.

Parenting can be lonely. Parenting can be hard. Knowing you’re not alone is important and building a community of parents is key to building strong families and providing connections.

Our first Community Café: Building a Strong Relationship With Your Child is being held on Thursday, April 27th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with childcare and a meal provided. It is being held at the Marian Pritchett campus and Giraffe Laugh 3 located at 1617 No. 24th Street. Please let your site director know or email us at the main office if you’d like to participate in this momentous event. Email Simone Olive at simone@giraffelaugh.org ALL parents, past and present and their friends are welcome.

We are so excited to be holding a Café for our parents and if you’d like to help as a table host or as a childcare provider, or bringing a meal, please let us know! You can volunteer by emailing Kat Davis at kat@giraffelaugh.org

Let’s keep kids safe and empower our parents this special month of April.

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From Lori’s Laptop, March 2017

March brings the promise of spring and the luck o’ the Irish to our doors. As they say, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.”

With spring comes new growth and it reminds us how quickly time flies especially as we watch our little ones emerge with new growth every time we turn around.

It is nature’s way that children are constantly changing and as they change so do we, their parents. Adapting to new skills and language abilities and cognitive leaps, such as they now argue with everything, means parents are kept on their toes.

This never ending evolution results in rare times of settling in and feeling like there is NEVER a status quo. It can be exhausting, exciting, invigorating, confusing, difficult, and fantastic all at once.

In March we are all Irish yet good parenting may require more than luck. All parents need support and connections and ideas when they are at a loss, or even when they’re not! For those times we lock ourselves in the bathroom, want to scream yet we don’t, call a friend or our mom, good parenting takes on many shapes and forms. It’s not easy, but it is filled with joy and the promise of a new beginning.

Empowering parents is a core activity and value at Giraffe Laugh. Families stay strong when parents thrive. We have a wonderful opportunity to participate in something called Community Cafés which are designed for parents to come together to share ideas, stories, find support and to share information that will empower you and your family life. If you are a current or past parent at Giraffe Laugh, please take our survey to let us know if you’re interested in participating: Parent Café Survey

Irish Proverb: May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

Happy St. Patrick’ Day and Happy spring!

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From Lori’s Laptop, February 2017

Welcome to the month of LOVE. One thing I love about this month is that it also sports the Early Childhood Legislative Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 8th. We will be down there with our kids in their T-shirts who will be participating in BLOCK Fest. This day is dedicated to young children and their importance in our state and our world.

Children are important. When we at Giraffe Laugh say, “We can see the future from here,” we truly mean it. Children are our future and they will be carrying us into a future someday that is unimaginable right now. I want the best for them and I know you do as well.

Please take some time to let our state leaders know how you feel about our kids and their future. The Capitol is yours and the Legislators want to hear from YOU. They work for you, and it’s never too late to get involved.  Check here for information on upcoming bills in Idaho: https://legislature.idaho.gov/

If you aren’t sure how you feel about a certain subject, learn about it. There are so many resources out there however be sure you fact check what you read. Facebook is not always the best source for accurate information. Reputable sources include:

Center on the Developing Child: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/ with a really cool video on brain development.

Idaho Kids Count: http://idahokidscount.org/ for statistical data that is local.

National Association for the Education of Young Children: https://www.naeyc.org

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children:  http://idahoaeyc.org/ a great local resource for parents and teachers.

United Way of Treasure Valley: https://www.unitedwaytv.org/ They have great information on A.L.I.C.E.

Have a happy, wonderful, love filled month and if you dive into issues and learn something new, please share it with us. We want to hear what you think and what you’ve learned. Thank you for your part in helping us raise healthy, happy, loved children that we are sending into the future.

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From Lori’s Laptop, January 2017

The promise of a new year is upon us and with it comes the knowledge that we all love new beginnings. It could be the new beginning of finding out one is pregnant. It could be the new beginning of a newborn and the gifts they bring to the world. It could be the new beginning of a job or school that will earn us what we crave most, stability, independence or both.

Whatever your new beginnings are this month, we wish you the very best and want you to know how wonderful it feels to be a part of your journey in the coming year. We are grateful that you trusted us with your children, your family, your resources and your time this past year and we hope we honored your gifts with our work.

We are incredibly grateful for all of the gifts, surprises and people that entered our lives in 2016 and look forward with that universal excitement to the new beginning of 2017 and our time with all of you. Thank you and we hope to see you very soon.

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From Lori’s Laptop, December 2016

The kindness and generosity of strangers is abundant this season. Having our Festival of Tree’s Tree donated back, having anxious families be “adopted” by generous donors to make Christmas dreams come true, having hunger abated with an abundance of food donated and packaged by loving people, having a group of actors put on a play for us to raise money and awareness. All of these acts of kindness and giving makes me aware every year of what a wonderful community we live in.

I hope that your holidays are full of holiday miracles but if it’s not what you’d expected or hoped for, I hope that you find the kindness of strangers to be comforting and that you remember to be gentle with yourself. The holidays can come with so many expectations of joy and harmony when the reality is that it’s just another time of year for some.

Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Be generous with yourself and be generous with others. The best present one can give is their presence so if you feel you have very little to give, give someone your time, a listening ear, a special phone call or a card.

I can’t express how grateful I am to all of you for changing lives that I get to see every day. We are truly honored by your generosity and kindness and we hope that you realize how important you are to our mission of ensuring school readiness, empowering families and building strong futures.

We are excited for 2017 but for now will bask in the gentle glow of generosity that we find ourselves surrounded by during this holiday season. May your holiday be peaceful and full of as much happiness as we know you deserve. Thank you.

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From Lori’s Laptop, November 2016

We normally think of November as the month when winter begins to descend upon us and growth isn’t really on our minds as it is in spring. However, our Futures Begin Here Luncheon is focused this year on growing with a theme of “here we grow”.

We see growth in our kids each day as their little bodies take in delicious food and they can now choose items previously out of reach. We see growth in their vocabulary as they expand a few words into sentences and learn to describe their project in scientific terms. We see growth in their knowledge and skills that will serve them well in kindergarten. We also see growth in the need for quality care as phone calls keep coming in and we know we need to grow our organization to meet the need.

What an amazing year we’ve had at Giraffe Laugh watching our kids, families and organization grow. So many of you are a part of our growth and success this year, therefore, we would love for you to join us at our luncheon on November 9th from 12-1pm to see the impact of your generous gift. Please RSVP no later than Friday, November 4th if you are able to join us.

We give thanks to you for your time, talent, and treasures that you bring to our Giraffe Laugh family. We wish you a very peaceful and loving Thanksgiving season with those you love the most. Happy Holidays!

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