Share dinner memories, win coupons!

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Share your favorite dinner memories and stories;
Win Stouffer’s Coupons!

Remember sitting around the dinner table, sharing stories, meals and laughs? Communities That Care of Lorain County, a countywide coalition working to prevent and reduce underage substance abuse, wants to hear your best family memories: the fun, the laughter, even the bittersweet memories. We’ll be awarding coupons for Stouffer’s Easy Express Skillets Meals and Stouffer’s Family Size Meals to the best of the best.

First off, celebrate. The coalition is reminding you to sit down to dinner on Monday, Sept. 27, and celebrate Family Day: A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. Remember: the more often you have dinner with your kids, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.

At the dinner table you can check in with everyone on how they’re doing. It’s a great place to get conversations started. You can use the time to share family meals and memories and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Just your time – which we know is precious, but what better way to spend it than with your family?

Stouffer’s is a co-sponsor of the national Family Day campaign and the Solon-based company has generously donated coupons for our story contest. So get ready to share:

Entries should be made in the following categories:
• Best Family Day Memory
• Best Family Dinner/Meal
• Most Creative Way to Get Your Family Together

Keep the stories short (no more than 250 words), so we can reprint some of the winners on our coalition’s website. (

Send entries to Catherine Gabe at or via mail: Catherine Gabe, Lorain ADAS Board, 4950 Oberlin Ave., Lorain, OH 44053. Stories must be received by Oct. 8. Please make sure you have all your contact information included, so we can reach the winners for their coupons.

Now, go forth and eat dinner together!


Elyria Schools’ cuts: No winners here

Posted by Julie Wallace

I read the proposal put forth by the Elyria Schools last week with much dismay.

Among other things, it calls for wiping out the art, music and gym teachers for those in kindergarten through third grade. The programs themselves won’t be eliminated, but rather they’ll become the responsibility of the homeroom teacher and not taught by a specialist.

Now trust me, I get the financial perils of school districts. I know that despite the many promises, the lottery didn’t save the schools. (Well, it might have had the Ohio Legislature not pulled money out of the school pot when it dropped the lottery money in, but …)  And I know that the Ohio Legislature isn’t rushing out to fix school funding despite the declarations of unconstitutionality more than once.

Schools need money. People don’t have it. It’s a vicious circle, and our kids are suffering for it.

And what bothers me the most is that it isn’t important to our state and national leaders that a district such as Elyria — where some of the students aren’t exposed to music and art at home — is being forced to carve away at those programs in a budget balancing act that probably won’t be enough, regardless.

There have been numerous studies showing that exposure to the arts can enhance a child’s learning ability. And at such a young age? To me, that’s when you capture and intrigue their imaginations of what can be.

My daughter looks forward to Wednesdays, which is art, music and gym day at Windsor School. It’s a happy, sort of carefree day — a midweek break that sends her racing from the school each day singing songs, recounting art stories and telling me about what they did in gym.

Such days give my daughter’s wonderful first-grade teacher, Mrs. Tribby, some time to regroup and fine-tune lesson plans gauged for her students’ strengths and needs, and it gives my daughter the chance to interact with new teachers, which is something my teacher-phobic daughter needs after a rough kindergarten year.

Do I think Mrs. Tribby can incorporate art, music and gym into her classroom? I’m pretty certain since she seems adept at handling everything that is thrown at her and she already knows the value of singing — her class sings every morning in a reading exercise that the kids adore.

But do I think it that those programs will be as strong as if a specialist were providing them? Of course not. Mrs. Tribby’s focus is teaching our children to read and to do math and to prepare them for second grade. That’s already a big enough hurdle given the backgrounds of some of the children.

In my own case, my daughter is lucky enough to have exposure to art and music at home. She’s made it her personal quest to visit an art museum every time we hit the road, and she even found a very modern museum in Virginia Beach to her liking, which surprised me.

But what about those kids who don’t have such opportunities?

I’m frustrated — as are many of you, since I get the calls at The Chronicle — that the funding for schools never has been fixed. But I also know that if we wait for the Ohio Legislature to fix it, the pieces and parts will be cut away that allow Elyria to offer a rich, rewarding education to our kids.

I truly believe that a city’s school system is a main force in why someone chooses where to live, and that it is up to us to figure this out if we want to keep (and enhance) Elyria’s reputation as a great place to raise a family.

–Julie Wallace


President Obama’s speech: Much ado about nothing

Posted by Julie Wallace

I don’t know whether my first-grader watched President Obama’s speech to students today.

That’s because the brouhaha that swept the nation about a president addressing students directly seemed to blow right past Elyria. I didn’t get any notice from the school, but in truth, I hope it was shown in her classroom after reviewing the positive (albeit long) message he delivered.

Given the state of our schools and the struggles of so many youth today, I’d gather they need all the encouragement they can get. What he was saying is what I always say to my daughter (although not nearly so eloquently), but I figure having a president deliver the message might carry more weight.

But apparently, that wasn’t the opinion of a lot of folks across the country. In one of the weirdest waves of hysteria I’ve seen in a while, I heard and read all sorts of wild rumors about why the president wanted to connect directly with our children.

Brainwashing? Socialism? Good grief, folks, can we get real?

I guess I was raised to respect the presidency, and to respect whoever holds that office — regardless of whether he’s of my political persuasion or not. I may not like who is there, but he or (hopefully someday) she is still the president.

In addition, I think it is a fundamental lesson of childhood to teach our children to respect others, particularly those with whom they doesn’t always agree. I can vouch that it isn’t an easy lesson because even as an adult, there have been too many times when I’ve regretted crossing swords with a friend over an opinion with which I disagree.

But judging by what is going on in our country nowadays, I’m not sure that is a fundamental lesson in many households anymore.

That, or there are a lot of adults out there who have forgotten how to play nice and need to be reminded by all of us mothers out there. (I’d issue some time outs , but I’m not sure there are enough corners for them all to occupy.)

So, in the immortal words of one of Disney’s all-time greatest cartoon characters , which I am sure I am not alone in quoting to children: “if you can’t say something nice…”

–Julie Wallace


The news is a scary place for parents

Posted by Julie Wallace

In the news business, we get a first hand view of some pretty terrible stuff.

Back before I was a mom, many of the stories were just that to me — my job for the day. They didn’t carry the emotional weight of being a parent and seeing something terrible happen to another family that easily could have been your own.

But after my daughter was born and I returned to work — at the Akron Beacon Journal at that time — I truly thought I was going to have be medicated because I was convinced every horrific story I read might very well happen to my cherished little one, regardless of how many times it was pointed out to me that more children grow up to be fine than not.

It took a while, but I finally managed to calm down, although Lew and I both remain ridiculously overprotective of our daughter.

But that’s for a very good reason: We love her, and we want to do whatever we can to protect her from harm. So what is that makes some people — I hesitate to call them parents because truly that title shouldn’t apply –inflict some horrific abuse on their children?

The story I’m referencing right now is about Otty Sanchez, the San Antonio mother who decapitated her 3 1/2 week old son and, if the reports are accurate, ate a portion of his brain as well as some of his toes.

Mental illness? Surely.

But isn’t there someone out there saying hey, maybe this very mentally ill woman SHOULDN’T have custody of this baby? I’m sure folks are saying it now, but shouldn’t this be a warning for the future — that there needs to be some sort of safety net established?

We have safe haven spots where parents who are unable to cope with a newborn can drop of f their babies without fear of repercussions. But what about moms who simply cannot think through that process for themselves? What help is there for them?

The story really hit home to me today when I saw a picture like I’m bettting every one of us mothers out there have — a simple snapshot of mom on a blanket with her tiny baby next to her.

Looking at that picture in the paper — of the tiny little boy, so fragile and cute — I wish there was something I could have done to help this woman. It floors me that — despite the recession — we live in a country so full of riches that it is unfathomable for a good portion of the world’s residents, yet we cannot figure out how to provide care for our most vulnerable.

That’s my rant for the day.

–Julie Wallace


Big Brothers Big Sisters day at the ballpark

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Take in a Lake Erie Crushers baseball game with the family and help the more than 450 Lorain County children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ day at the ballpark is Sunday, July 12, at All Pro Freight Stadium. The Crushers take on the River City Rascals (from O’Fallon, Mo.) at 5 p.m.

A percentage of the cost of tickets purchased through Big Brothers Big Sisters is donated to the organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters set a goal of selling 300 tickets and is halfway there.

Tickets are $9 and can be purchased online or by calling Greg Holcomb at Big Brothers Big Sisters at (440) 714-7627.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to help children reach their full potential through professionally one-on-one relationships with mentors.


Two new bloggers join us; others are welcome

Posted by Julie Wallace

Did anyone happen to notice that we’ve had some new and interesting voices on Lorain County Moms?

Welcome to Melissa Linebrink and domesticextraordinaire, two moms who’ll provide some welcome change to our regular lineup.

So keep reading, and if you are game for some interaction with other moms, start writing, too. We’d love to have more moms join us. (There’s a welcome to blogging link on the site, but it has proven a bit difficult. E-mail me at  if you want to blog and run into troubles.)

–Julie Wallace


Today show wants to hear from Elyrians

Posted by Julie Wallace

Hey readers, we need your help. Or rather, the Today show needs your help.

The show is putting together a package about communities across the country that are cutting fireworks to balance budgets.

The story organizer, Barbara Lowe (who I’ve talked to and can vouch that she’s legit) is interested in talking in families who generally attended the Elyria fireworks and now have to go elsewhere or skip them altogether.

Interested in sharing your opinion with Ms. Lowe? Email her at

Here’s the catch: You need to write ASAP. She’s putting this story together in the next couple days, and she really wants to hear some Elyria voices. So write her, and her write her quickly!

–Julie Wallace


Summer college for kids to begin

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Summer College For Kids and Teens courses at Lorain County Community College begin in July and offer a wide variety of programs that exercise the brain and body.
Some of the courses include: Jump Start Reading, Gearing Up for Math, Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Watercolor for Kids, Art Camp, Fitness Workout, Tennis, Golf, Fun with Arts and Crafts, Diggin’ Dinosaurs, Science Concoctions, Digital Photography, Movie Magic, Computer Gaming and Web Design.  Courses are held at the LCCC campus in Elyria and at LCCC’s centers in Wellington and Brunswick.
For a complete list of summer courses, location and fees, visit or call the College For Kids and Teens office at 440-366-4093.


Schedule overload: Mommy needs to get a grip

Posted by Julie Wallace

Yesterday, I had to call and pull my daughter out of her first set of swimming lessons.

The problem was simply overload: This week, had she attended them, she’d have been doing cheerleading camp, swimming, soccer, and T-ball.

May I remind you all that she’s 6?

Ask anyone who knows me, and scatterbrain probably will be among the adjectives used to describe me. I can focus on work and do well, but then the schedule for the rest of my life falls apart. Switch focuses, and the other side suffers. (Go back a few posts — I am the person who forgot to pick up my daughter at kindergarten, and the same person who drove away from a gas pump with the hose still attached to my car!)

Given that work pays the bills, my focus rightly so tends to stay there. And that means my life outside work is generally in total disarray.

Hence the reason my daughter had three events scheduled for the same time on the same night. (And those events happened to all be scheduled at the very same time her father and I both have softball games, too. Yikes.)

Now mind you, it wasn’t as if I didn’t have forewarning that I had signed her up for too much. My significant other told me that — in those exact words –when I proudly rattled off all the cool things I’d decided Mal should do this summer to pass the time.

And those didn’t even include all the neat things I wanted her to do, but simply couldn’t afford — there are gazillion wonderful camps out there that I’m sure she’d love if only I didn’t have to mortgage the house to enroll her.

And even if Lew’s forewarning weren’t enough, Mal’s probably should have been. It’s got to be a problem if your 6-year-old has started to begin each day with the question: “So what is on schedule for me today?”

Don’t laugh … she really does.

The good news is that Elyria Parks and Recreation Department was kind about letting me unenroll her for this first week. By the time the second session roles around, she should be done with T-ball and cheerleading camp.

Of course, then basketball camp starts, and then that kiddie class at LCCC and … Oh crap, I did it again, didn’t I? Well, I’ll deal with that later.

In the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.

–Julie Wallace


A great way to celebrate a great Dad

Posted by Lorain County Moms

There’s no better way to spend Father’s Day weekend than an afternoon in the park with dear old Dad…so join in the fun at the Celebration of Fatherhood on Saturday, June 20, 2009, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lakeview Park in Lorain (part of the Lorain County Metro Parks on West Erie Avenue near Route 58).  Sponsored by the Healthy Fathering Collaborative of Lorain County (HFCoLC), it is a free event opened to all Lorain County dads and their children.  There is no registration required.

The Celebration of Fatherhood event provides a safe, supportive environment to help fathers engage with their children and connect with other dads, especially those who may be divorced, separated or never married.

The afternoon will feature a host of activities including face painting, volleyball, kayaking, kite flying and swimming at the beach.  A sand castle building contest, sack and two-legged races, and a balloon toss will foster teamwork between dads and their children.

Families will also enjoy participating in bicycle safety demonstrations and swimming safety sessions sponsored by the Lorain County Metro Park.  The Lorain County Library mascot will also be in attendance at the Celebration of Fatherhood.

As part of the event, the HFCoLC will provide a free lunch of traditional picnic fare, while the Lorain County Health Department will be supplying healthy snacks and be performing blood pressure screenings.  In addition, door prizes and drawings will be held every hour.

The HFCoLC is composed of 13 like-minded agencies with the purpose of building and strengthening the relationships between fathers and their children, as well as assisting fathers in their parenting role.  These agencies are:
·        Cornerstone Among Women
·        FCII of Ohio
·        Just Like Us Enrichment Center
·        LCADA
·&nb sp;       Life Skills of Ohio
·        Lorain County Community Action Agency
·        Lorain County Health Department
·        Lorain County Metro Parks
·        Lorain County Urban League
·        Open Arms Christian Community
·        Out of Zion Ministries
·        The Nord=2 0Center
·        The Rock Church

All HFCoLC agencies will have information tables at the Celebration of Fatherhood event detailing the resources available in Lorain County.