Canoe Paddles

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For everyone who has a middle child...
Stuck In The Middle With You – From One Middle Child To Another March 16, 2016

“I don’t love you anymore.” These words would strike a dagger into the hearts of most parents. The child you helped bring in this world – the one who you STILL help get his shoes on EVERY TIME he leaves the house – the one you feed 2 times before you even sit down at … Read more

A fresh look at philanthropy for the overworked parent
For the Love of Humankind: A Bit of Sanity for the Overworked Parent March 14, 2016

Philanthropy – a word from Greek origin that translates to “ for the love of mankind”. Philanthropists are generous, donating time and/or money where profit is not a motive. This idea, though still at the core of philanthropy, is evolving. Everyday people use their buying power to effect change when they support organizations that ‘give … Read more

Kim Harkness
Great thoughts on the intensity of giftedness
Even the Dog is Intense: Giftedness, Intensity, and Collie Puppies March 9, 2016

Last Sunday was our 4 month old Scotch Collie puppy’s first training class. It was Tikki’s first class but I’ve been through this before with previous dogs. I manhandled Tikki past the other puppies to a clear section along the outside of the training ring. Unlike our old lab mix, there was no frantic leash pulling to reach … Read more

Supporting a New Adoptive Parent
Supporting a New Adoptive Parent March 7, 2016

You know how the saying about assuming goes…. Over time I have found the creation of family to be a precarious thing. For some, the almost fairytale scenario of marriage, giving birth to children and expanding the family ranks seems, well easy. Yet for others, the road to a larger family is much more challenging. … Read more

Tales of a New Mom
Tales of a New Mom – From the Trenches at 5 Weeks March 2, 2016

It’s been 5.5 years since I’ve done the new mom thing. Some things are coming slowly back to me, and some feel/are new. New Babies Are So Tiny (and Floppy): R was 6lbs 2oz at birth, and we’re currently working towards 8lbs. Words like peanut, nugget, itty bitty, etc. all spring to mind when I … Read more

A Crash Course in Gentle Parenting
A Crash Course in Gentle Parenting: Toddlers and Mini-Carts Don’t Mix February 29, 2016

My husband and I recently took our toddlers to a new grocery store in town. The market is known for its amazing deals on produce, impressive bulk selection, and (among the 6-and-under-crowd) for the line of shiny red pint-sized carts waiting just inside the front doors. “They are going to love this!” I said, laughing … Read more

Julianne Van't Land
Raising Bilingual Kids
Raising Our Children to Be Bilingual February 9, 2016

We never questioned whether or not we would raise our children to be bilingual while living in the United States. My husband is from Ecuador and I am from Texas. If I could help my children speak Spanish without my Texas twang (I speak Spanish with a heavy Texan accent), I would do so. When … Read more

Circle of Control: Disney with a Sensory Sensitive Child February 4, 2016

For the past 18 months I have been dreading the Christmas/ New Year’s of 2015-2016. Now I try to be a happy person so why you say was I dreading this past holiday? Control. I went with my extended family on a trip to Disney World. That sounds like the opportunity of a life time, … Read more

To Trixie With Love – An Open Letter To My Child’s First Best Friend February 2, 2016

“Your friend is your needs answered.” — Kahlil Gibran In this life, not all friends are created equal. Friends come and go, based on the time of life, your environment, based on silly phases, fun phases and not-so-fun phases. They all do serve their purpose. But, then, there are those special friends. Friends that can … Read more

Teaching our kids tolerance and respect for all people.
Holiday Notes From a Muslim Mom December 23, 2015

Muslim women are oftentimes easy to spot. We wear a scarf around our heads as an open declaration of faith. Based on cultural preference, this head-covering varies from vibrantly colored wraps to longer, flowing styles. Not all Muslim women choose to carry such an obvious banner of religious identity, but a lot do. This, fortunately and … Read more

Practical suggestions for mindful living.
Mindful Living December 10, 2015

I know I’m not the only one lying awake at night thinking of our hurting world. I hold my babies tighter not sure of their future and what it might look like. I say this with a compassionate attitude towards those that are truly suffering. I’ve been feeling empathy pains and aches for those people … Read more

What parenting an infant can teach us about social justice.
The Nights I Get Things Right December 7, 2015

My son is a toddler. Two and a half years old. I refuse to call it the ‘terrible twos’, and instead call it the “trying twos” as a reminder of what we’re all experiencing. It’s a trying time for him – to carve his place in this world, and trying for us parents – to … Read more

Kim Harkness
Join the Up Parenting Creek Team!
Join the Up Parenting Creek Team! December 3, 2015

We are adding to our team! Are you a mom, dad, grandmother or grandfather who might be interested in joining our team? Keep reading for details… You might be the next Up Parenting Creek contributor if you: enjoy writing and sharing stories about parenthood, believe that all parents need support, appreciate the silly and ridiculous parenting … Read more

Maggie McMahon
Practical ideas for traveling with kids!
Road Trip: Tips for Traveling with Kids December 1, 2015

The holidays are approaching and we definitely have a road trip or two planned. Here are some tips and tricks that have worked for us (alongside those things that definitely failed). These may help as you cross state lines and try not to fall off your sanity radar. I’m sure things on the list will … Read more

Miracle of prenancy with text
The “Miracle” of Pregnancy November 30, 2015

Pregnancy may be a miracle, but it sure isn’t dignified! Warning: This post contains proper names of body parts, frank discussion of bodily functions, and details about things that happen when you’re pregnant. If this sort of thing offends you, don’t read this (or get pregnant for that matter).     At 7 months into … Read more

Star Wars Blog
10 Parenting Lessons Learned From Star Wars November 16, 2015

So, not long ago, in a galaxy all too familiar, there was a rainy day, and restless siblings at odds with each other. A decision was made to join the rebel alliance, and begin the Star Wars experience. Since then, There have been moments of great despair, a night of confusion when the kids find … Read more

How much are you willing to risk to reach your goals?
Coalition of the Willing November 5, 2015

As I sat in a professional development class last week a new idea was brought to my attention that struck a chord with me. The idea is “the coalition of the willing.” Now, on further review there are some political ideas that might accompany that phrase, but this was not at all how the presenter … Read more

What do you do when non of the traditional parenting advice works for you? Managing ADHD and non-neuro-typical kids
Raising a Neuro-Typical vs. a Non-Neuro-Typical Child November 2, 2015

I have two beautiful, loving, bright little boys. As with many families with two or more children, one of my children is more challenging than the other. However, unlike most families, my oldest son has ADHD, and the other does not. In raising them, my husband jokes that we could send our youngest child off … Read more

Finding Balance in a Media Saturated World
Finding Balance in a Media Saturated World October 29, 2015

While writing a few weeks ago, a photograph of Perez Hilton showering with his toddler came across my newsfeed. (Technically, I was taking a break from writing and scanning Facebook. Writer’s downfall.) Anyway, I struggled to move beyond the obvious questions, like, Why should I care when victims from the latest mass shooting remain in … Read more

A simple craft project to teach gratefulness and thanksgiving. The Shukr Tree
The Shukr Tree October 28, 2015

As autumn kicks into gear, we are marveling at the vibrant shades of orange, yellow, and red that adorn the trees, treating us to a magnificent display of nature’s beauty… Just kidding! We’re in Houston and that whole leaves changing colors thing doesn’t happen here. Bummer. As we more accurately reminisce about the beautiful changing … Read more

A sweet letter of encouragement to moms who just found out their child has Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome: A letter to a mama who just found out… October 26, 2015

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I hardly knew a thing about Down Syndrome before my daughter came along. I’m sure many people who receive this diagnosis for their child don’t know much about it either. When we received the news 22 weeks into my pregnancy, just days after Christmas, that our daughter had Down … Read more

Cassie Weber
What role do (non-parent) adults play when a child misbehaves?
The Role of Adults in Child (Mis) Behavior October 15, 2015

Number eleven had apparently forgotten that he was playing soccer. He more closely resembled an MMA fighter.   Recklessly and relentlessly, he swung his elbows at our players, kicked at their shins, and sent them to the earth with extended forearms. The referee, a well-meaning but inept father from the other team, blew his whistle when our … Read more

Halloween image with text
Halloween Ideas Round-Up October 14, 2015

There are so many ideas for Halloween costumes and decorating! Here is a small selection for people ranging from the “I-don’t-know-how-to-use-a-needle-and-thread” non-crafter to the Super Crafter. Costumes Face it, Star Wars is hot. With episodes VII, VIII, and IX starting release later this year (not to mention the stand alone movies), it’s going to be … Read more

What do you do on date nights?
Date Night: 99 Problems But Bedtime Ain’t One October 12, 2015

Date night – September 2015. We get this one night, this one chance for glory. Tonight, there is no bedtime. Tonight, there we will be hearing no request for an extra book, a last drink of water. Tonight, we ride. 6:00 – We feed the kids corn dogs, (thank you Trader Joe’s). The quandary begins. … Read more

Great ideas for putting the phone down and being present with your kids.
Ring the alarm: The Phone is on October 8, 2015

I’m calling it CPADD – cell phone attention deficit disorder and I’m guilty of it. Are you? I like to think I am pretty good at being present. I’m a good listener. I can shut the world out and focus on a task. I play with my son. I do yoga. I read. Books and … Read more

Kim Harkness
Such great advice for helping our kids live more simply. The Minimalist Life.
Raising Minimalist Kids October 7, 2015

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” – Keith Urban In simple terms, the minimalist ideology is concentrated in living a simplistic and wholesome life. This lifestyle sheds the layers of consumerism, superficiality, and excess that society has developed to make us feel the more we have, the more secure we are … Read more

10 Small Things That Make My Day Brighter
10 Small Things That Make My Day Brighter October 5, 2015

Life has gotten so much busier since Jack started half-day school, 5 days a week. I truly thought life would breathe a little easier once the school year began. Although I laugh every day at my naiveté, we couldn’t be happier with the decision to send him to our small, heartfelt Montessori school. He runs … Read more

Practical advice for helping friends when their child is critically ill.
Parent to Parent: Helping Families with a Critically Ill Child September 30, 2015

As we wave goodbye to September, we also wave goodbye to the “go gold” ribbon month of Childhood Cancer Awareness. Did you know that in the month of September alone, approximately 14,600 children worldwide were diagnosed with cancer? (St. Baldrick’s Foundation) That’s about 486 kids per day… and 486 families whose lives will never be … Read more

Such beautiful lessons about grace and peace in the midst of childhood cancer.
Childhood Cancer: Lessons from Our First Year September 29, 2015

Berkleigh was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma on September 15, 2014. It’s been one long year. In that time, we have done six rounds of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, 5 or 6 surgeries, countless biopsies, scans and radiation. We finished our last antibody treatment on Friday. We even had a party. Having just walked … Read more

Up Parenting Creek
How to help your kids find joy everyday.
Joy in the Journey September 28, 2015

I have long marveled at how my own two children approach life in so different a manner. One, is enthusiastic when giving gifts and eager to show the recipient the gift they picked out. This child is also the one that squealed with joy at a new dress her grandmother got her and said “I … Read more

Reading is magical. Reading transforms us. Reading transforms our kids.
The Magic of Reading with our Kids September 24, 2015

So, it’s Friday night. I’m a freshman English teacher. I’m watching The Two Towers with my eleven-year-old daughter as we grade papers from the week. I’m physically exhausted and my brain is mush. I feel as if I’ve been run over by 166 wildebeests. (I do have 166 students; however, none of them are actually … Read more

This is a great, quick primer on the Jewish High Holy Days!
High Holy Days in 1000 Words or Less September 22, 2015

It’s September. School has FINALLY started. We’re about to get back into a groove. When — wait — what’s this? Why do we have two days off one week and another day off the following? Rosh Hashanah? Yom Kippur? What kind of holidays are those, anyway? Whether you’re the unsuspecting non-Jewish parent in a school … Read more

Blowing your homeschool budget? Check out these tips.
Homeschooling a Large Family on a Small Budget September 21, 2015

One question people often ask when they learn we homeschool is, “How can you afford it? That must be really expensive! Especially when you  have so many children!” It does help that my husband is an electrical engineer with a good salary. It doesn’t help that we live in California’s Silicon Valley, which is notoriously expensive, and that we … Read more

Up Parenting Creek
Practical ideas for maintaining long distance friendships
When Good Friends Live Far Away September 17, 2015

I live on the East Coast. My closest friends live in Austin, Chicago, and St. Paul. We’re all moms of young children without the time or funds to travel easily. For a long time, we did the usual – have a 2-3 hour phone conversation every 3-6 months. These conversations were great, as these are … Read more

Ever worry about MRSA? Check out this family's journey with MRSA.
MRSA: It’s Not Just in Hospitals Now September 16, 2015

It started as a bump on my youngest son’s back not far from his belt line. “What’s that?” my husband asked, always the more vigilant of the two of us. I looked at the innocuous looking bump, and replied, “I don’t know, a spider bite maybe. Don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s nothing.” The … Read more

Our first steps into homeschooling
Homeschool: Into The Great Wide Open September 15, 2015

What is the ideal learning environment for your kids? Is it the best public school tax dollars can buy? Is it a private school that keeps you broke but your kids engaged? What about a puddle of mud, 4 sticks, and no worries of how dirty you child will get? If you’re a parent, then chances … Read more

Back to School: Homeschool Style
Homeschooling: The First Day Back September 2, 2015

It’s the first day of our new homeschooling year. The books arrived two months ago. My son [TB] begged to open them and dig in. I’ve held off as long as I could until today. This evening, he’s half-way through the history text and well into high school geometry. To be honest, he got a … Read more

It's back to school. What happens when your kids are not excited to return?
Another First Day of School August 31, 2015

The memories are still clear in my mind. Fondly, I can see my boys racing through empty school hallways, hear their footfalls on the squeaky clean floor as yet uncluttered by the year to come. Their gleaming eyes dart from side to side in search of the familiar faces of friends not seen since the … Read more

Racism in the Mirror
Racism in the Mirror August 27, 2015

I am brave enough to write this but not brave enough to use my real name. Lately there has been so much discussion about race, racism, white privilege, and I see a lot of anger and discomfort by whites in identifying with any kind of privilege or racism – systematic, personal, other. I completely understand. … Read more

Up Parenting Creek
The voice of a child calls us back to what matters most.
Life Lesson Learned Through Kids: Miscarriage August 26, 2015

Almost 5 months after my miscarriage, my children continue to discuss the subject of the baby brother that passed away. Their discussion usually emerges when there’s chatter about who the oldest is (and therefore, the boss) and who the youngest is (and therefore, nobody’s boss) and each time, without fail, they’ll include Danyal at the … Read more

Have a kid who struggles at drop-off times? Check out these ideas for help.
School Drop-offs: Easy Peasy or Dreaded Disaster? August 24, 2015

Transitions are hard for us. For the past year or two, my now nearly six year old son had a hard time separating from me.  It didn’t matter if I was dropping him off with a friend or even leaving him with his dad while I went for an evening out.  There was nearly always … Read more

Insufficient Glandular Tissue - When Breastfeeding Doesn't Go As Planned
When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Go As Planned August 21, 2015

This is the first of I don’t know how many posts to tell my breastfeeding story. I don’t know if it’s that long or if it is going to take me that long to get it all out and emotionally relive it all again. When my first was born, I had no idea of the … Read more

The Procrastinator's Guide to the End of the Summer
The Procrastinator’s Guide to the End of Summer August 19, 2015

When school ended and summer stretched out endlessly before me, I had a vision of how my family would wind down our summer. Two weeks before we started school, we would strictly adhere to my boys’ 8 o’clock bedtime. A week before starting classes, we would resume our 6 a.m. wake-up schedule. I even considered … Read more

Music lyrics have power. How do you talk with your kids about music lyrics?
It’s More Like “Girl Crash!” August 17, 2015

Yesterday my daughters, ages 6 and 11, and I were driving down the road on our way to a doctor’s appointment about 50 miles away. I flipped through radio stations on the way, stopping when something met our fancy. At one point I landed on a station and heard an unfamiliar melody sung by a … Read more

Thinking about when to let your kids start using social media?
A Conversation About Social Media August 13, 2015

“Your mom and I have heard you pleas, but our position remains unchanged. NO SOCIAL MEDIA.” All your friends are on facebook, instagram, or snapchat, you claim, but we are not swayed. “How about JP, EH and BL? we remind you. They are not connected to social media.   Nor are GD, HC, or UD. We … Read more

How do your kids feel about going back to school?
Reluctant or Rejoicing: A New School Year Begins August 12, 2015

As the new school year approaches, there are a myriad of feeling swirling about for both parents and kids. Many kids are thrilled to back to school shop, break out the new backpack and head off for a grand new adventure in their new grade. On the flip side, some students are anxious about their … Read more

Back-To-School Crafting Roundup title
Back-to-School Crafting Roundup August 10, 2015

Back-to-School: whether it makes you want to shout, “Hooray!” or plug your ears in denial (sorry, teachers!) the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. If you love to craft or want to make a little something special to celebrate the season, here are some ideas to inspire your Back-to-School Crafting: Book … Read more

Stress = insomnia = racing thoughts.
Trauma, Insomnia, and Making The World A Better Place August 6, 2015

TRAUMA In the last month, my family moved to a new home. I remember how hard it was to move to a new city where we didn’t know anyone 10 years ago, and how hard it was to move to our previous house 6 years ago. It didn’t deter us from wanting to move again, … Read more

How do I know it is time to wean?
On Breastfeeding, Bonding and Weaning August 5, 2015

I’m eating cold chicken fried rice from a takeout container in the light of the fridge; door left open with me staring into the shelves like some culinary masterpiece will present itself. It’s almost midnight and I’ve just been lying on the grass outside with a dear old friend who is visiting from Israel. I … Read more

Kim Harkness
This is a great bucket list for before you turn 30
My Bucket List: 30 Before 30 August 3, 2015

This list was before two kids. This list was before I had real deal responsibilities, like making and cleaning up after 3 squares a day and making sure my oldest doesn’t torture my youngest, or something equally as fun. This was a list of my dreams and many of them easily obtainable. It was written in … Read more

The blessing of family: reflections from a family reunion
Blest Be The (Family) Ties That Bind July 27, 2015

Our family went on a recent trip with members of our extended family so it became a mini-family reunion. Family Blessings: I watched as cousins helped each other, argued with each other and played with each other. I saw my mom and her cousin giggle like school girls during a card game. My children were … Read more

Summer Shabbat Traditions
Friday Night Sand: Our Summer Shabbat Tradition July 23, 2015

Friday night traditions: pizza and movies; coveted approval to stay up past bedtime; going out – maybe even with a sitter watching the kids. We all have them. They help us unwind from the week, placing a marker that separates our work from the play that awaits us in the weekend. Our family holds Friday … Read more

Coming to Terms with ADHD
Coming to Terms with ADHD July 22, 2015

Okay. I’ll admit it. Prior to having children, I didn’t really believe in ADHD. I thought that ADHD was either grossly over-diagnosed or that it was simply children’s reactions to being placed in unnatural environments with unrealistic and developmentally inappropriate expectations. After all, many schools limit recess time to 20 minutes a day. Under the pressure … Read more

If you love someone with depression, read this.
A Letter to My Daughter: On Depression and Growing Up July 20, 2015

I wrote this after my daughter faced a second bout of depression. It broke my heart when she was first diagnosed, yet gave me a sense of power to call it by name. She identified her foe at an earlier age than I had. Determined to help her not become depression, I wrote my thoughts … Read more

Beautiful lessons on teaching your kids without saying a word
Family Vacations: The Best Lessons Are Never Spoken July 16, 2015

Frequently the most important lessons we can teach our children are best done without words.   Nonverbal teaching helps to avoid the parent-is-talking filter that seems to reside within the inner ear of all children. Travelling with children is a first-class way of imparting the messages so often blocked by our kids’ internal editors. Our family … Read more

Struggling with family rules for media and social media? Check out these ideas!
Parenting Perspectives: Family Media Rules July 15, 2015

This month in our Parenting Perspectives series, we are tackling family media rules. Hopefully, you’ll find a variety of perspectives. Everyone has wisdom to share with other parents and each family’s situation is different, so please join in the conversation in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Screen Time When our kids were younger, we were … Read more

Maggie McMahon
Practical tips for talking about gender roles with your kids
Getting Social: A Gender Neutral Dialogue July 13, 2015

In the world we live, there is a constant sliding scale that is our social evolvement. In social evolution, not all of us are at the same place, there are many factors, background, exposure, education just being a few. This is an exciting time to be a parent, as many social issues are coming to … Read more

Bored? Check out these ridiculous ways to pass the time!
Summer Smorgas-Bored July 9, 2015

Already bored this summer? Have you run out of energy or ideas with what to do with yourself or your family in between summer camps, summer school or family trips? Introducing the summer smorgas-bored! A top 10 list of completely random things to do when you don’t want to learn a musical instrument, go to … Read more

Check out these awesome craft ideas for kids of all ages!
Summer Crafting Ideas for All Ages July 8, 2015

If there’s something about Summer, the break from the usual routine, the longer days, that makes you feel like experimenting, trying something creative – this is the post for you. Whether you’re looking for new crafting ideas to try with kids or wanting to try something new yourself, there are SO many options out there. … Read more

Teaching our kids to be kind takes constant work
Cultivating Kindness with Dirt July 6, 2015

It was a sunny day, warm but not hot – the perfect day for gardening. My two-year old son had a variety of things to keep him occupied – diggers and tractors, a rubber ball on stand-by for when the trucks lost their appeal. I dug the trowel into the earth and began loosening the … Read more

Kim Harkness