…and That’s a Wrap

November 1st, 2017

With this week’s posts, we bring SFL’s GrowUpLearning blog to an end. Over the past eight years, we’ve shared in the experiences of a wonderful, varied set of moms—each coping with parenthood in her own way and as best fit her circumstances.

I owe a huge debt of thanks to the five women who brought this blog to life:

To Melissa – who introduced us to young Brady—the apple of her eye;

To Janelle – who cared for infant Jack while weathering the storms of a military wife with a deployed husband, and who later introduced us to the irrepressible—sometimes challenging—Tate.

To Jaime – who made us laugh and cry with her stories of life with Andrew—and the turmoil surrounding the loss of their home after Hurricane Sandy;

To Neetika – who explored the ups and downs of city and suburban parenting with Haley and Hudson;

To Erin – Who tackles parenting Rory and Charlotte with the same intensity with which she tackles her career.

Each has been different, but they all have much in common. That’s the point, of course. There’s no one right way to be a parent, and if the experiences of these five have given our readers any hints about what they’re doing right—or what they might do better—then we’ve fulfilled our purpose.

The end of this blog will not end SFL’s commitment to families. Our Early Childhood staff continue to help early childhood teachers involve families in their work. Our K-12 team knows teachers see kids for far less time than their parents do. Parents are the most important teachers a child will ever have. It’s a huge responsibility, but it’s also a wonderful ride. We wish you all the best as you help and watch them grow.

David Shively
Executive Vice President
The Source for Learning


November 1st, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I have enjoyed my time sharing stories about my children and my own personal journey through motherhood. Unfortunately, the time has come to wrap up my time on this blog.

Over the last eight years, I’ve posted the good, the bad and the ugly about Jack and Tate. They’ve grown up so much since my first post, and I know they both have a lot of experiences, learning and growing up left to do in the years to come. I occasionally read posts from years ago; the fun we had doing things together or parenting challenges I struggled with. So often, the things that were difficult are no longer an issue. This blog helps me remember that I will get through the hard times, even if it takes time… lots of time.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my stories with you and to listen to my fellow bloggers. I hope some readers could find a connection or identify with me. Ultimately, I think the blog was more for me, an outlet, a sounding board or a megaphone. Hopefully, some day, Jack and Tate will read these posts with me and laugh (and cry) at the memories we shared. Thank you for letting my family be a part of your journey though parenthood.


October 31st, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Well, the GrowUpLearning blog is coming to an end and it’s time to say our goodbyes. I can’t believe it’s been just about seven years since I became a parent and began chronicling my experience in these posts. Come to think of it, not only has writing for the blog been extremely rewarding personally, it’s been the longest, continuous professional role of my career!

I’ve learned a great deal about writing, motherhood, and how to use writing to share the experience of motherhood in a meaningful way. I’ve also loved reading the posts from my fellow contributors. It’s helped me feel less alone in this difficult, unrelenting job. I can only hope that my musings have done the same for other moms and dads out there.

I’m enormously grateful to the team at The Source for Learning, particularly my editor David Shively. David, thank you so much for this opportunity. You could not have been more supportive as a boss and a friend. I will always appreciate it.

I hope that through this blog, we’ve been able to empathize, laugh at ourselves, and enjoy each day of parenthood—even when it’s far from easy. Even when we feel alone, there is always a community of love and support out there—people who “get it” and understand exactly what you’re going through. We’re always growing and learning together.

Love Always,

Monday Mom


October 25th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It must be October. The weather is finally cooling off and the leaves are just starting to change color. Our neighborhood is decorated in cobwebs, furry spiders, pumpkins and the random scary skeleton. The kids get a kick out of the spooky décor and are extremely excited for Halloween.

This Halloween, Jack will be dressed as Batman and Tate as a Minecraft character. They picked their costumes in August, and they knew exactly what they wanted. I can’t wait to see them all dressed up and running through the neighborhood with their friends.

Our street hosts a potluck in a nearby cul de sac on Halloween night. The families meet there for a quick bite to eat and the kids ring every doorbell once the sun sets. It’s a great evening to meet neighbors and chat with good friends. I’m looking forward to it this year, and all the spooky creatures that ring our doorbell.

Indian Summer

October 25th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
The weather has been just lovely in the Northeast this fall. I don’t remember a year in which we were heading into November with consistently sunny skies and temperatures in the seventies. No matter what the weather does, I’ve learned, someone will complain about it! I’ve talked to so many people frustrated that it’s not getting cooler. I look at these folks like they’re crazy– because they are! Cold and snow and blustering winds will come at some point. It’s inevitable. Let’s enjoy these temperate days while they last, I say.

I am appreciating every one. It’s great that the kids are getting to play outside throughout Autumn. And I really love not having to bundle them up. It’s also not so sunny that we have to slather on sunblock. We’re in the sweet spot! Soon enough, I’ll have to secure winter hats to little heads who aren’t having it, spend way too much time searching for missing mittens, and zip up heavy coats just to take them off minutes later when it’s time to get into the car seat. For now, we just have to get shoes on and maybe throw on a cardigan before we head out the door. I’ll take it!

Yet it’s an important lesson for children and adults alike. Most things in this world are temporal. Seasons change, we change and our lives continue to change. All we can do is enjoy every day and appreciate it for what it is.

Family Time

October 18th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It is important to spend time together with my family. I love playing board games and puzzles at home, talking about our day at dinnertime, and taking trips together. Now that Tate is more confident riding his bike, we can finally add family bike rides to that list. With the hundred miles of bike paths throughout our town, we are definitely going to put them to great use.

Tate is working on mastering his biking skills. He feels more secure riding up and down our street. We ride all around our neighborhood going over the standard safety rules. The hills are extremely tough, but his little legs do their best to make it to the top. Jack is teaching him how to pop a wheelie, stand up, and ride with no hands. I hope we don’t have any major accidents from those lessons.

This fall, I want to take more bike rides, especially now that the weather has cooled down. It’s a fun activity we all enjoy and I want to promote an active lifestyle to the boys. I’m excited to explore new places around town, together as a family.

Getting Spooky!

October 16th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My kids are so excited that Halloween is in a few weeks. They just got their costumes. Haley is going to be “Alice in Wonderland” and Hudson is going to a minion. I just know they will be the absolute cutest and get tons of great candy.

Luckily, temperatures have been rather mild in the Northeast, so I’m hopeful that they will be comfortable Trick-or-Treating. I don’t think they will need to cover up their costumes with coats, so that’s always a good thing!

Last year, we went with friends to a street in town where they do “all out” for Halloween– detailed decorations, many homes giving out candy, etc. Because nothing can ever be easy, some of the moms are chattering about how there were things they didn’t like about the neighborhood, and that they want to try another area. I honestly don’t care! As long as my kids are having fun with their friends and get candy, I’m happy!

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the “spooky season”!

Mom to Mom

October 15th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Over the weekend, my husband and I attended a friend’s wedding. I knew the groom, but not another soul present. I met a few people my husband knew from the Navy and mutual friends of the groom. The two couples joined us at our table and the wives hit it off like we were long time friends.

One of the girls mentioned she had two boys ages three and five. She loved them dearly, but admitted their youngest was a challenge. I had to confess to her that my youngest sounded very similar to her child. She was in the throes of toddler-hood and felt like she couldn’t get a step ahead. She was seeking advice from me about how to take control of stressful situations, what disciplinary actions I took, and whether the meltdowns ever fade away. I gave her the best advice I could, regarding what worked (and didn’t work) for me, as the parent of a strong willed child. But I assured her, that I was still learning.

The next day on the long drive home, I thought about the conversation. I specifically remember hard and emotional days when I felt like the world was closing in around me. I remember my little toddler whom I couldn’t control. I didn’t think I would go a day without Tate having a crying fit over the wrong colored cup, screaming and wiggling when buckling the car seat, the picky eater, or the destruction the little guy could unfold. But, lo and behold, I feel the meltdowns are fading and there are more smiles than tears.

Tate has come a long way over the last couple of years. He is showing maturity at home and at school. He still has his moments, and times of OCD, but his emotions are manageable for both him and me. Tomorrow he could swing back to his old ways, but I know he has it in him to control his feelings, and do/say the right thing.

How old are you?

October 15th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Ever since Hudson turned three, he has become obsessed with how old people are. And since he’s three, he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with asking anybody and everybody he sees their age. I don’t know if teaching him adages like “you never ask a lady her age!” will really penetrate right now, so I just let it go and chalk it up to adorable toddler behavior.

Although Hudson does all of this comprehensive aging research, he rarely remembers what people tell him, and so he asks them pretty much every time he sees them. However, he is very confident that he is three and his sister is six. He has heard her say a few times: “I’m six and a half”, so of course he now enjoys saying: “I’m three and a half”. I constantly remind him that he’s not. It’s very cute.

Hudson’s habit is a cute reminder that age is just a number. It certainly doesn’t matter to him how old you are, as long as you are willing to be nice and play with him. What a great concept.


October 6th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate signed up for the “Lil’ Dribblers,” his school’s second grade basketball skills team. The club develops hand/eye coordination, patterning skills, and teamwork. Students learn choreographed group dribbling skills and perform for a variety of audiences, such as local high schools and even a nearby university.

Tate came straight home and hand delivered the club sign up sheet to me, insisting he join. Tate started practicing this week. He is excited to learn something new with his friends. If I can’t find him in the house, I can hear the bouncing basketball in our driveway. He is working on his skills, and loves to show us his progress.

I’m excited to see the second graders perform. I’m sure they will do better than I ever could. I can only image the patience required of the PE teacher who teaches about fifty second grade students how to dribble basketballs and perform skills and tricks. The noise and sight of basketballs flying around must be mind-boggling. I’m glad Tate is having fun, and happy he is learning about a new sport.